How to Introduce a Kitten into Your Home
You fell in love with a kitten at your local pet adoption center, and you’ve decided to take them home. This can be an exciting time for both of you, but it’s also a transition and a period of adjustment. You’ll need to know some necessary information about your new family member, as well as what will make them comfortable in your home.
What You’ll Need
Before you bring your new pet home, make sure you have everything ready. This will help make the transition less stressful. If you have everything you need beforehand, all that will be left to do is to bond.
Some items you’ll need:
- A cat carrier
- Food and water bowls
- Litter box
- Cat bed
- Scratching post
- Grooming tools
At home, place your new kitten in a small, quiet area, ideally with a door you can close. Make sure you have food dishes, a litter box, and scratching post nearby.
Keep electrical cords out of reach. Check for rubber bands, paper clips, thread, yarn, and other small items that could be chewed or swallowed.
Let the kitten come out of the pet carrier on their own — don’t tip it or force them to come out. Cats are naturally curious, so they’ll eventually come out and explore. If your kitten is shy, you may want to leave the room and check back later. If you’re going to stay in the room, sit quietly. When the kitten does start to poke its nose out of the carrier, talk in a soft and reassuring tone of voice. Pet them gently but don’t pick them up. Leave the door to the carrier open, so they have a place to go back into and feel safe if they become overwhelmed.
After your kitten has had some time to become adjusted to their new surroundings, you can expand the territory a portion at a time. Slowly allow the kitten access to each of the rooms in your home, so they can keep track of where they are.
Be sure the areas of your home are kitten proof! Since all kittens are natural explorers, they’ll use their claws to access any place they want to go.
If you have children, bring them into the room one at a time to be introduced. Have them sit quietly and show them how to gently pet your kitten. Tell them not to chase or annoy the kitten when eating or using the litter box. If you don’t have any other pets, you can let your new kitten explore the rest of the house over the next few days.
Introducing to Other Pets
Most kittens will want to check out their new companions. Some kittens, however, can be fearful and defensive around the other pets in your home. So, any introduction to other pets needs to be carefully supervised so neither gets hurt.
If you’re introducing to a dog, watch for any anxiety. Reward your dog with treats and ask them to sit and be calm when your kitten is present. The kitten also needs to learn how to avoid any confrontations by hiding or climbing. If the introduction is supervised, any confrontations can be quickly handled.
If you’re introducing to a cat, keep the kitten in her area. If you allow them together while playing or eating, it should help with initial anxiety. Use a create or leash and harness on one or both of the cats when first introducing them to each other. Most adult cats have a high tolerance level towards kittens, but if you notice aggression, introducing gradually is the best solution. Most of the time, cats and kittens will work out their issues on their own without any injuries.
When deciding to bring home a kitten, there are a lot of things to consider! By having everything ready, your house kitten-proofed and toys available, then all you’ll need to do is to enjoy their companionship.