Bringing home a new kitten is the first step in becoming a cat owner— and it is also one of the great joys of life. Let your kitten explore your home at his own speed. There’s a lot more to introducing a kitten to your home than feeding it and changing its litter tray. You also need to make a fuss of it, to cuddle it, and to play with it and to ensure, generally, that it is always healthy Kittens grow up fast, so make sure you savour this moment.
If your kitten comes from a breeder, make sure that you get a diet sheet from the breeder when you collect your kitten and stick to the same food for the first few days at least. When your kitten is settled in you can gradually change the diet to the type you prefer.
Don’t let your kitten out until it has completed its vaccination programme — usually at around 13 or 14 weeks. Talk to your vet about this.
If your cat develops slightly soft stools in the first few days, this may be due to the change of environment while it is settling down. But if it develops diarrhoea, or if it vomits, contact your vet without delay.
Bringing home a new kitten is one of the greatest delights that pet ownership has to offer. But, it’s not always plain sailing. Your kitten is bound to make the occasional mess, it will probably scratch the furniture, and it may be a while before you work out a harmonious eating pattern. But, whether this is your first kitten or just a new addition to a cat household, it will be fun. Of that you can be sure.
Things stand a much better chance of going smoothly if you are prepared for your new arrival right from the start. Even the tiniest kitten has a number of basic requirements, such as a carrying basket, a litter box and litter, feeding bowls and food, a suitable bed, grooming implements and toys.
If this is your first cat you will have to go out and equip yourselfin advance of its arrival, so that you can cater to its every need from the word go. A secure means of transport (a cat carrier or larger cage, for example) will be vital, whether you are bringing the kitten home by car or other transport, or walking.
Once you are home, the first thing you need to do is to make your new kitten feel welcome, and the best way of doing this is to make a fuss of it, offer it food, put it on its litter tray and show it its bed. Check with its previous owner (the breeder or other supplier) what type of food it is used to eating, and continue with the same diet initially to avoid too many sudden changes — a change of diet may upset its stomach, as well as its feelings!
Practicalities such as toilet training and training it to use a scratching post can wait.
If you already have cats in your household, take a few simple precautions. The current tenants will have marked out their territory, and may not take kindly to the new arrival, who will soon be exploring your home. Keep the new kitten in a separate room for a few days, and then introduce them gradually to one another. They will soon come to tolerate each other and to live quite happily alongside one another, if not to form a firm friendship.