Advice for New Kitten Owners

Advice for New Kitten Owners

Getting a new kitten, whether it’s your first, second (or tenth!) is an exciting experience. It can also be very daunting knowing that you are responsible for the care and well being of an animal that is going to be with you for many years to come. By starting on the right foot you and your kitten will be set up for a very happy and enjoyable life together. Our guide below will point you in the right direction, and you can contact us at any time if you need some additional help or advice regarding your new best friend.

Create a calm initial environment
When taking your kitten home try not to have the television or radio on; too much noise may initially startle your kitten. Do not put the kitten into a large room; this may overwhelm it. Avoid having any windows or doors open. Allow your kitten to exit the travel box in his/her own time, use soft reassuring tones and allow them to go back into the travel box if he/she desires. This is a safe place to your kitten and will reassure him/her.

Introduce your kitten to its new home
Introduce your kitten to the room where he/she will sleep first. He/she must have access to toys, litter trays, clean drinking water, food and a clean dry bed area; in summer months out of direct sunlight, and in winter months away from draughts.

By introducing your kitten to this area first you are providing a sense of continuity, as they will spend a proportion of his/her time here daily. During the first few days of having your kitten, try not to overwhelm them by having lots of visitors. Once your kitten has settled into his/her new home and gained some confidence you can encourage people to come and visit for socialisation.

Educate your guests
When visitors enter your home, please allow your kitten to approach them. Most importantly, don’t chase your kitten around the home in order to let people hold him/her. Once they are settled, encourage various people to stroke and interact with them.

Be consistent with rules
Start as you mean to go on. Do not allow your kitten to perform any behaviour that you do not wish him/her to perform when he/she is an adult cat, for example; scratching furniture, biting, scratching, climbing on furniture and curtains.

Start litter training from day one
Provide your kitten with an easily accessible and frequently cleaned litter tray (multiple trays in multi-cat households). Your kitten is most likely to use the tray: after waking, after feeding, during or after playing. If your kitten passes motion not in the litter tray; do not shout at your kitten, do not rub its nose in the motion, do not use strong scented cleaning products as this may encourage your kitten to scent mark.

Create a safe environment
When leaving your home, ensure that your kitten cannot hurt itself e.g. from: exposed wires, hot cooking pots, edible items. Try not to leave for a great period of time at first. Build up the time you are away from your kitten gradually.

Introduce your kitten to the garden
First, ensure that your kitten is fully vaccinated. Carry your kitten around the garden, allowing him/her to see the area. Ensure that there are no holes or areas in which your kitten could hide and potentially become stuck such as: drain pipes, open manholes, gaps in brickwork. After allowing your kitten to get used to your garden, sit in the garden with your kitten and allow him/her to walk around. Some people prefer to put the kitten on a harness and lead while doing this. Try not to jump up and shout if your kitten is approaching an area you feel is dangerous or do not want him/her to go to . Instead calmly approach your kitten calling his/her name softly. Pick up your kitten and place him/her in a more appropriate area of the garden.

Ask for help
Finally enjoy your time with your kitten, try to remain as calm as possible, as this will help your new addition adjust to family life much more quickly. Please do not hesitate to contact the surgery with any questions or queries whether they be medical or behavioural.

Further Advice