Introducing your New Kitten to their Fur-ever Home

Congratulations on your new kitten!

Upon bringing your new kitten home, you'll probably be wondering how to introduce them to their new environment while keeping everyone safe and happy along the way.

Below, we will review the basics of getting your new kitten used to their fur-ever home.

Keeping your New Kitten Safe

First and foremost, you want to keep your precious kitten safe. And although you don't want to worry yourself too much over this, you should be aware that kittens' curious nature can get them into some precarious situations. Because of this, a bit of kitten-proofing will go a long way in keeping your kitten from harm.

Keep toxic cleaning products and other toxic household items out of reach, and keep knick-knacks out of reach for your kitten, period. Pull your bathroom shower curtain up and out of the kitten's way. Ensure your vents and windows are securely fastened to avoid your kitten making their great escape. Reclining chairs have also been found to be dangerous to kittens, as they can go inside and get accidentally stuck or injured if an unknowing person doesn't realize the kitten is in there.

In short, the best way to approach your living space is to view it through the eyes of a mischievous kitten and remove anything that will be tempting or dangerous.

Introducing your New Kitten to your Other Cat

Most kittens receive a hostile reception from other household pets, especially other cats who may be solitary and/or territorial. The other cat usually sees no need for a new kitten in the household, and these feelings are often reinforced if the cat perceives favoritism.

Begin by arranging for each cat to have his or her own living space, whether a closed-off area or a separate room. Over the course of a few days or weeks, allow your cats a little supervised time together. You may wish to keep them separated by a partially closed door to begin with, which allows them to get used to each other through smell first. It's very possible that they will start interacting with each other through the crack in the door.

How to Prevent your Cat from feeling Jealous of your New Kitten

Although it is natural to want to spend time holding and cuddling your new kitten, be aware that your resident cat may quickly feel that they are being neglected. You may find that the transition will be smoother if your existing cat is given more attention than usual. Fighting may occur occasionally, but the introduction period will usually last only a couple of weeks.

Your resident cat shouldn’t feel that it is necessary to compete for food or attention. Give your new kitten their own food and bowl, and do not allow your kitten to eat from your other cat’s bowl. A similar strategy with litter boxes is also recommended; make sure to place the litter box for each cat in a separate area.

Also, give consideration to the cats' personalities. If one is energetic and the other prefers to be alone, this could cause contention between them. However, if they are compatible felines, your existing cat will soon learn to tolerate the kitten. And perhaps, with time, bonding will even occur between them. They will likely play together, groom each other, and sleep near each other. This is more likely to occur if the competition is minimized or if the existing cat has been lonely for companionship.

Ensuring that your New Kitten is Comfortable in their New Home

First things first, you'll want to set up the crate they’ll be staying in and make sure it’s off of the floor – cats feel safer if they’re higher up where they can see their surroundings.

After you set up their crate, give them an initial two-day adjustment period before trying to socialize them too much – the change of scenery can be stressful!

When you start to spend time with them, begin by moving slowly and speaking softly, and try to keep loud TV or music down. After they’ve been with you for a few days, try leaving a TV or radio on so they can get used to people voices and sounds. If there aren’t other pets around, you can leave their crate in a busy part of your home, like the living room, so they can begin to see and hear other areas of the home.

Like anyone, kittens react positively to positive experiences and negatively to negative experiences. Reward your kitten when they do well, and avoid scolding. Be patient! Spitting, hissing, and hiding are all expressions of fear, not signs of aggression.

When to Vaccinate your New Kitten

We have the ability to prevent many feline illnesses — including fatal diseases — through the use of vaccines. In order to be effective, these vaccines must be given as a series of injections.

Vaccines are given starting around 8 weeks of age, and repeated every 2-3 until they are about 16 weeks old. However, this schedule may vary depending on several factors, which your veterinarian will discuss with you to help you decide on a vaccine schedule for your new kitten.

There are many more questions new kitten owners often ask, especially if they're dealing with possible intestinal parasites, ear mites, or behavioral issues. You may also be wondering when to spay or neuter, what the best food is to feed your kitten, and what to do about fleas and heartworms.

We always recommend scheduling an appointment for your new kitten to meet with a veterinarian to ensure that they are in good health, and to answer any questions that you may have about your new furry best friend!

Need to schedule an appointment for your new kitten?

Call us or request an appointment online.

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