Are you preparing to bring home a new kitten? You’re in for years of love, affection and mischief. During the first month, you’re going to have a lot to get used to, especially if this is going to be your first cat. Here’s what you should prioritize when you have a new kitten:
The First Night
When you first bring your kitten home, you only need to worry about three things: food, sleeping arrangements, and litter.
What to Feed Your New Kitten
It’s best to continue feeding your kitten the same food they were eating in their previous home or at the shelter. You might be provided with a sample of their food. If you’ll be changing foods, switch gradually over the first week, if possible, to prevent digestive upset.
Kitten formulas are fortified with extra fat and protein to support your kitten’s growth. Aim for three feedings per day until your kitten is 6 months old. If you feed a dry kibble, you can leave some food in their bowl so they can graze throughout the day.
Where Your New Kitten Should Sleep
Your kitten should have a quiet place to sleep where they’ll have access to their litter box, water, and food. Make sure other pets will not disturb your kitten. A bathroom could be a good place for your kitten for the first few weeks because it’s easy to clear away any electronic cords, breakable glass, and other hazards.
Allowing your kitten to sleep in your bed right away is not ideal, but you may not be able to resist. Take care not to squish your kitten, and make sure they still have access to their necessities.
Your Kitten’s Litter Box
Cats are naturally drawn to relieve themselves in loose soil because they cover up their wastes to avoid attracting predators and other cats. If your kitten does not use their litter box, you may have to introduce them to it by placing them inside after meals, or change the substrate if your litter differs from what they used in their previous home.
Your Kitten’s Next Few Weeks
As your kitten settles in, you can start to slowly work on tasks that might be stressful to them. Tolerating handling, becoming acquainted to other pets, and going to the vet can all be stressful to your cat, so it’s important to work on them gradually.
Your Kitten’s First Vet Visit
If you obtained your kitten from a rescue or shelter, they may be able to wait for a veterinarian visit until their next round of vaccines. But if your kitten has not been to the vet recently, you should aim to go within the first 48 hours for an initial check-up, deworming, and vaccines.
Getting Kitten Acquainted with Other Pets
If you let your kitten meet your other pets within moments of arriving home for the first time, you’ll set them up for disaster. Kittens can get along with older cats, dogs, ferrets, and just about any kind of animal, but they need to be introduced slowly. If your kitten has a traumatic first impression upon meeting your other pets, it’ll be much harder for them to warm up to each other in the long run.
Keep your kitten in a bathroom or behind a pet gate. Your other pets will be able to smell your kitten from afar, and may seem very interested. You can gauge their reaction at this point, as well as your kitten’s reaction to your other pets. If they seem calm and interested in one another, you can set up very brief, controlled meetings. Unless you’re totally sure that your animals are ready to interact, provide a barrier like a carrier, crate, pet gate, or leash.
Handling Your Kitten
You should start handling your kitten to prepare them for examinations and grooming from a young age. Keep handling brief and positive; you can use treats to reward your kitten for allowing you to quickly lift their lip to see their teeth, or for allowing you to touch their paws.
Discouraging Naughty Behavior
Teaching your cat to behave will take more than 30 days, but you’ll want to start training the moment you first feel those sharp teeth and claws when your kitten gets too playful. Hitting, spray bottles, and loud noises do not discourage bad behavior, these punishments only scare your cat for a moment, but they won’t realize that bad behavior leads to negative consequences.
Provide your cat with plenty of toys and enrichment to redirect them when they’re getting too aggressive in their play, or when they get bored and destructive. Prevent bad behaviors from happening by ceasing play when your kitten gets too rough, and keep tempting items out of reach.
Meeting Your Pet Sitter
For a few months, you might never want to go anywhere at all; why would you when you have an adorable kitten at home? But you will eventually need to go out of town for business, go on vacation, or otherwise leave for a few days.
Schedule a Meet & Greet within your first month of owning your kitten so your pet sitter will be your kitten’s lifelong friend. Your cat will be much happier when left home alone if they get daily visits from someone they know. Ready Pet Go sitters are always available for cats in Frederick, Maryland – and we love meeting new kittens!