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Bringing Home a New Kitten

Updated on August 7, 2012

You've picked out your cute cuddly kitten and now it is time for the big trip home. Though kittens are less work than dogs, there are some crucial first steps you must take to ensure that her transition is as smooth as possible. If you are adopting a semi-feral or unsocialized cat, you will need extra patience so she can acclimate.

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Pick a room in the house that is "hers"

Prior to bringing home your kitten, pick out a room that will be designated as her safe room. There are a few things the room should have:

  • It should be away from the hustle and bustle of the home but a place where she will get regular human interaction.
  • There should be no difficult hiding places. This includes behind appliances, under beds, or under heavy pieces of furniture that are not easily moved. Think like a cat. You would be shocked at the places their little bodies can hide.

In most cases, a bathroom is a great location. There usually aren't a lot of hiding spots and you and the family will be going in and out regularly enough that she will get used to hearing, seeing, and smelling your scent. If a bathroom doesn't work, you can use a bedroom (that doesn't have a bed) or a den. Don't think you can jerry rig a way for your kitten to stay out from under the bed. She'll find a way!

Make it comfortable

Since you are not giving her any hiding spots, you do want to provide her with a bed, a cat post, or cardboard box that she can use to feel like she is "hiding" when she is stressed or nervous. Place a small litter pan in the room, plus water, food, and toys.

If she is upset at night, try wrapping up your shirt in her bed so she sleeps with your scent. A radio with classical music or soft speaking might help to soothe her fears. If this is her first time without her mother, she is bound to be upset.

When you first arrive home, place her carrier in the safe room. Open the door and let her come out on her own time. Just make sure that the carrier is facing directly in front of the litter pan. She needs to know where it is immediately.

Checklist of Kitten Materials

Item
Description
Kitten Food
Purina One, Iams
Litter Box
Consider an enclosed litter box
Litter scooper
Get two: one small and one large
Water dish
Consider the one that keeps the water fresh
Food dish
Ceramic or stainless steel work best
Cat carrier
This is a must for transporting in the car
Cat bed
Something soft that she can sleep on
Toys
Feathers, balls, little catnip filled mice
Scratching post
If you do not have one, your kitten will use your furniture!
collar with a bell
To keep track of her!
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Keep her there for several days

If your kitten is shy or nervous, she will need ample time to get used to her space before attempting to explore the whole house. If you have other animals in the house, it is absolutely crucial that you keep her separated from your other animals.

When you or your family members want to interact with her, go into that room and give her a chance to approach you. Play with her using a feather wand or small mouse. If your kitten is curious and unafraid of humans, this will be an easy task. If she is shy and afraid, you will have to approach slowly and take your time.

Introduce the other animals slowly

After a week or so of complete separation, you can open the door a crack and offer a treat to your resident cat and your kitten at the same time. Try playing with both and if things seem stressful or tense, you can separate them again and try 24 hours later. If you have more than one resident cat, introduce the alpha cat first. He will set the tone that all the other cats will follow.

When introducing a dog to a new kitten, make sure your dog is crated or on a leash. Even if your dog isn't prone to aggression, he might simply not know his own strength.

Where did you get your kitten?

See results

Schedule a vet appointment for the first week

You will want your local vet to look over your new kitten and check for parasites or the presence of Feline Leukemia (many shelters will do these tests for you, but it depends on the age of the kitten). You will also have to vaccinate her, and schedule an appointment for spaying or neutering.

Most shelters require you to spay your animal by six months. In fact, many places will spay your cat before you even bring her home! There are various arguments about the advantages and disadvantages of spaying a young kitten, so talk to your vet about your options.

Dealing with an "ultra" shy kittten

There is a fine balance with a kitten. You want to force opportunities for interaction and holding since this is the thing that will convince her you are not the enemy. Offering treats and canned food can help when a kitten is very unsure.

On the other hand, it is important that you don't over stress a new kitten. Kittens who are over-stimulated can develop respiratory infections due to stress. Make sure she has ample time to rest and recover after an intense session of petting and holding. Give her opportunities to see you in the room- talking, interacting with each other, and carrying on with regular life- this way she'll begin to realize that you don't represent stress.

Source

About the author

Julie DeNeen is a freelance writer and mother of three. She is currently the proud owner of two cats, a dog, and a kitten as well. She has adopted all of her animals from rescue shelters.

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    • Dani Katarina profile image

      Dani Katarina 4 years ago from California

      Thanks for sharing such great info! I have never been a cat owner, but I have been considering adopting a little kitten in the near future!!

    • shruti sheshadri profile image

      shruti sheshadri 4 years ago from Bangalore, India

      haha, such a cute hub! I love kittens, so cuddly they are!

      Great writing, useful tips! voted up :)

    • profile image

      bravewarrior 4 years ago

      I've had cats all my life and I disagree on segregating a new addition from the existing feline members. I've introduced rescues and pedigrees to my existing feline family and I've found the best way to do so is to let the newcomer out of the carrier and explore on their own. The other cats will sniff and surmise. If you pay special attention to the newbie, the existing cats will become defensive and jealous.

      Show your new kitten or cat where the litter box is immediately (it's their instinct to want to use the box), then let them roam and hide if necessary. Mother Nature will take it's course.

      Trust me, I've done this many times when one of two has died and I've had to stop the remaining cat's mourning by introducing a new companion.

      Let Nature take it's course. Animals are a whole lot more aware, open and forgiving than we humans!

    • rcrumple profile image

      Rich 4 years ago from Kentucky

      Julie -

      You really didn't believe I was going to visit, did you? lol Btw, I sincerely appreciate your follow.

      This is another great hub filled with valuable information. I can see where the gradual adjustment would be much less stressful to all involved. And, I have been using a wand (with a mouse attached) to get them both involved with each other. Gabriella is still hissing just a little when Faletame gets too close, but it is dwindling in intensity and frequency quickly. The "demon" is leaving.

      When first I read one of your selections a week or two ago, I recognized a person that was very professional and no nonsense. You continue to demonstrate that here and in every selection. Great Job! Up & Useful & Interesting

    • bac2basics profile image

      Anne 4 years ago from Spain

      Hi Julie. I just read a comment you made to another hubber who wrote about his " Devil cat" I could see you had a good advice to give , so have just read this hub of yours and also your profile. I liked both. Voted you up etc and am just going to follow now. Introducing animals has to be done slowly and like you say , if you don´t follow the rules you are in for problems and so are the animals.

    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

      I didn't realize a stressed kitten can develop respiratory infections. These are great tips for making a new kitten comfortable in the home. Thanks so much! Voted up!

    • DeborahNeyens profile image

      Deborah Neyens 4 years ago from Iowa

      As a person who's brought home a number of kittens in my life (I currently have 3 cats now!) I can say this advice is spot on. Good job. Voted up and useful.

    • b. Malin profile image

      b. Malin 4 years ago

      My older Son just got a New Kitty, having lost their beloved "Boo" to illness. The new Kitty is named "Nugget". Your advice is right on the money Julie. I shall Bookmark it to pass along.

    • dinkan53 profile image

      dinkan53 4 years ago from India

      Interesting. Throughout my life, we never brought a cat home. I have lot of friends who are cat lovers, having cats. Sharing this hub with them. Thanks, voted up and interesting.

    • Julie DeNeen profile image
      Author

      Blurter of Indiscretions 4 years ago from Clinton CT

      @habee- that ought to be interesting! We introduced kitty to dog today. Dog was fine, kitty FLIPPED! Oh well, try again tomorrow!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 4 years ago from Georgia

      I was hoping to find a hub about your new furkid. She's adorable! Very helpful info here. We pick up our new adopted dog next week. I need to write a hub about introducing a new dog into a home with two Great Danes. lol

    • Phelcky profile image

      Lilly 4 years ago from Denmark

      This is a very helpful hub.. Bringing home new "babies" can be hard, it's so important to give them the best welcome as possible. This hub will definitely help new cat owners and their kittens :)

    • profile image

      KDuBarry03 4 years ago

      Great advice for the new Kitty owner! I cannot adopt one since I am allergic to cats, but I just shared it for all my friends who are thinking about owning one :)

      Great information! Voted up and shared!

    • Julie DeNeen profile image
      Author

      Blurter of Indiscretions 4 years ago from Clinton CT

      @billybuc- this was my "LAST" one according to Andrew. Now we have more animals than kids!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Your daughter looks just like you; the kitten, on the other hand, doesn't look like either of you. :)

      Great suggestions and very helpful hub....but I'm not letting Bev see this hub because we do not need another animal in this house!

    • aivzdog profile image

      aivzdog 4 years ago

      When my first cat met the new kitten she was mad. Mad at the kitten and mad at me. She slowly got use to the kittens scent. They arent best friends but they get along fine and sometimes lick each other.

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 4 years ago from America

      Our cat has safe areas in the house. The bathroom, basement and our bedroom. He worries about everything. We got him when he was 8 weeks old and he has always been this way. I'm also his safe place. He likes my husband but only feels safe with me. Interesting hub voted up.

    • josh3418 profile image

      Joshua Zerbini 4 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Julie,

      Awesome informative hub! When I was growing up, we had to cats. This is some great advice looking back now, LOL

      I do have one question here, since I can't resist being funny, :)

      You kept referring the cat as a she, will the tips still work if it is a he? LOL Awesome job here Julie!

    • Lucky Cats profile image

      Kathy 4 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California

      Hi Julie! You've shared such great information about bringing home a new kitten...this is really wonderful! I agree with everything you've listed here; there is no better information out there...good for you!!!!! thank you for shareing this and , maybe, just maybe...you've just encouraged someone else to adopt or take in a stray kitten or adult cat. Up Useful Interesting, Awesome and GREAT!!!!

      Cute pictures of kittens and is that you as a little girl?

    • CarlySullens profile image

      CarlySullens 4 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

      Julie, that kitten is so adorable!!!!! I can't wait to meet, him um her? Good advice. This type of hub is useful when you need it. Because when you have a new little being to take care of, you want to read up on everything to make sure you are dong OK. Definitely coming back to read this hub when we get Yoda the second.

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

      Julie, I never did have a cat as a pet, but this is so very detailed and great information for the first time owner of a brand new kitten. Some of what you said reminded of a baby in general and I guess human or cat, a baby is still a baby I suppose. So I can see a few similarities there so to speak. Again great article and have voted and shared too.

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 4 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      This is good advice for the new kitty owner. A couple of years ago, my Mom decided to add the company of a new cat. The poor thing spent almost a whole day behind her hot water heater in her utility room! She is OK now, but the poor kitty was so shy in the beginning! Thanks for sharing a great hub on a great subject!

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