Building a relationship with your new kitten
It’s always exciting to bring home a kitten. Learn how to build a relationship with your new friend with our simple tips.
Bringing a new kitten home is understandably exciting. You have waited and waited to have this little fur ball in your house, and now the moment is finally here. But while you cannot imagine your home without this new pet, your house is still a new experience for your kitten. So are you and your family members, who are all strangers to her.
It is likely that, up until now, she has known no one but her mother, her siblings and her previous carer. Guiding her through this transformation from her old home to yours will be important-she is likely to be disoriented and confused. But do not worry! There are a few simple plans you can put in place to introduce your new cat to your life. In no time, she will be unable to imagine herself anywhere else.
It is important to keep the age of your kitten in mind when considering how best to introduce her to your world. Most kittens are adopted at around 8 weeks old, although this can range from between 7 weeks to 10 weeks. By this point, your kitten should already have picked up the basics of socialisation. She should have played with her siblings to learn what it means to live in a group and she should be familiar with humans. Kitten are still shy, so do not force any interaction on her. Above all, she should be comfortable and feel secure.
Introduce her to your house
Cats are territorial animals, so this step is important. Make sure you prepare a room in the house for her: one with her bed, litter box and toys. When you introduce your kitten into the house, take her carrier straight to this room. Let her out gently there and give her time to familiarise with her surroundings. Place the carrier in the corner of the room-that way, she can explore it again if she so chooses. It will get her more used to the idea of it.
Once your kitten seems happy with her space and has established it as hers, try introducing her to other parts of the house. This may happen faster for some kittens than others. If she is uncomfortable, she may cower and her muscles will tense. Do not rush her. In time, she will be curious to explore the whole place.
At this stage, kitten-proofing becomes important. Cats love vertical spaces and enjoy climbing onto tables, chairs and cabinets. Make sure there is nothing on the top of cabinets that can be knocked off. Consider getting her a scratching pole. If you don't, it will be your furniture she sharpens her claws on! The best option is a vertical tower. These toys have different levels that allow a cat to scratch, climb and rest-it can keep them entertained for hours.
Remember that your kitten is small and can squeeze into spaces you may not have thought of. Always check your laundry carefully before putting it into the washing machine and the dryer. Kittens can also get trapped behind large appliances or in gaps in the wall, so make sure you address these issues before taking her exploring.
It is important for your kitten to be introduced to new people, as she must get used to humans (especially your family). That being said, these interactions should be gentle, slow and follow any physical cues the kitten is giving. Introduce your cat to one family member at a time and let them play with her for a while. If she seems averse to having people near her, then back away and come back when she is in a better mood. Let her get used to the idea of people and never crowd her. Preferably, your new kitten should have one-on-one time with each member of your family, so that she can mark them with her scent.
Play with your kitten! This is an excellent way to bond with your new cat and is an easy step-we know you've been dreaming of doing so before she even stepped into your house. Fishing rod toys are an option for kittens that seem scared of human company. These toys have a ball or feather attached to string at the end of a rod; this can be dangled in front of the kitten. Your kitten will try and catch the feather or ball while you stay at a distance, on the other side of the rod. Laser pointers are another a big hit. Shine the little red dot on the floor and watch your kitten go crazy trying to catch it.
Teaching appropriate behaviour at this stage is important. Your kitten has boundless energy and some of that may come out in trying to bite or scratch you. She must learn that this is not acceptable. If this is not taught now, it can be hard to control when she grows older. One way to teach this is to show her the effects of her behaviour. When your kitten bites you, stop playing. This will show her that the bite was not appreciated.
Show her sensitive care
Take care of your cat's health. Buy her the right kind of food, make sure her water bowl is always filled, pick special treats for her, play with her so that she is getting the exercise she needs, and take her to the vet. This last point should be done around a week after you've brought her home.
Treat your kitten as the treasure she is and she will reward you with the love only a cat can show. It will be a bond that lasts for life.