Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Bringing a New Kitten Home

I recently wrote a blog about bringing a new cat home that was focused on adult rescue cats so now I have penned some advice on bringing a kitten home…enjoy

Before you collect your cat
Kittens (and adult cats) rely heavily on scent so, if you can, take an item of clothing or a blanket to leave with him, for a couple of days before you bring him home.  You can then bring this back, with him, in the cat carrier and it can be placed in a suitable area for him.

The Journey
Travelling can be extremely stressful so bring along the items of clothing/blanket that you left with  him and pop it inside the carrier so there is a familiar scent.  It can also be helpful to spray the inside of the carrier, about 10 minutes before putting him inside, with Feliway.  Then, once he is inside pop a light blanket over the carrier so he feels secure.  Try to choose a time to travel outside of rush hour to keep the journey as short as possible

Getting the home ready
The most important thing to remember is that you need to be patient.  Coming into a new environment can be scary even for energetic and confident kittens and the way in which you handle this homecoming can determine how well he will settle into his new life.  It is important to provide a safe and secure area where he can be alone.  It can help to have one quiet room set aside for him to call it’s own until it becomes more confident.  Try to include;

·        An area for food, and a separate area for water
·        At least one litter tray as far away from food as possible
·        Somewhere to hide
·        Access to a high spot where the cat can safety view it’s surroundings
·        A suitable place to sleep and, if possible, a variety of choices
·        A scratching post
·        A few cats toys

Arriving Home
Unlike with adult cats, it is best not to leave a kitten alone until he becomes comfortable and settled.  Provide him with a lovely cosy bed at ground level.  If you don’t have a cat bed, a cardboard box will work just as well.  Once he has had a good sniff and look around show him where his bed, food, water and litter tray are.  You can attract his attention to these items by tapping on them a few times.  If he is used to being with his mum or siblings, you may find a cuddly toy and a radio on low volume are a good way to make him feel at ease.

Meeting the Family
Kittens are very delicate and need an enormous amount of sleep so make sure that he is handled very carefully and that he is given plenty of time to sleep and rest.  In some cases, it is best to provide an area or room that is out of bounds to young children as the lure of a kitten to play with can be very hard to resist.

Once the he is comfortable in his space, and comfortable with you, you can open up the door and allow him to wander the house.  It can be useful to wipe his cats cheeks with a soft cloth and then rub that cloth around the house as this will spread his scent around.  Make sure you keep the door to his room open so that he has a safe place to run to if he gets scared.  Most importantly, make sure all the external doors and windows are shut for at least 4 weeks as you need him to really settle in before he goes outside.
Once he has become comfortable and fully adjusted and he has had his vaccinations, microchip and neutering, you can allow him to explore the outside world.  With kittens, you should not leave them outside unsupervised until they have grown in confidence.

Hopefully this has provided some useful information but feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

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