Bringing a New Cat Home? Here’s What You Need to Know
Bringing home a new kitten is an exciting event. However, there are a few responsibilities for which you need to prepare as an owner. Read over the information below to learn what you need to know about bringing a kitten into your home. With the right knowledge and a little bit of patience, you’ll be a happy family in no time at all.
Buy the right items
Like babies, kittens come with a lot of stuff! Before you bring your new kitten home, you need to be sure that you have everything you need on hand:
Here’s an overview of what you should buy at the pet store:
- Litter box and litter
- Food and water dishes
- Cat food that’s made for kittens and cat treats
- Collar and ID tags
- Cat brush and flea comb
- Pet-safe toothbrush and toothpaste
- Cat carrier
- Cat bed
- Cat toys (Beware of anything with small parts that a kitten could accidentally choke on.)
Create a safe space in your home
When bringing a new kitten home, one of the first things you should do to help the new addition to the family feel safe and secure is to create a safe place in your house. This spot will be where the kitten has a chance to adjust to being in your home.
Though it likely won’t be where they stay forever, you should set up your cat’s litter box and food and water bowls in the kitten’s safe room. That way, your new kitten will have everything it needs to feel safe and secure until she feels ready to go out and explore new areas of the house.
It almost goes without saying, but any other family pets should be kept out of this area for the time being. Small children should also only be allowed in while under adult supervision. Your kitten needs a calm and quiet place to be able to acclimate to its new surroundings.
Feeding your new kitten
Your new kitten is likely still in the process of growing, which means that it will need to be given a lot of nutrients. To start, you’ll want to be sure to feed your cat proper food that is specifically formulated for growing kittens, meaning that it has extra protein. You’ll also want to be sure to feed the kitten fairly often.
As far as how often you should feed your cat. it depends on her age:
- 0-6 Months: Between birth and six months of age, kittens need plenty of calories because they grow like weeds! It’s recommended that you feed your new kitten three to four times a day. Alternatively, you may also choose to “free feed” her, which involves leaving plenty of food in the bowl for the kitten to snack on at its leisure.
- Six to nine months: By this point in time, your kitten has reached her adolescence. Since growth is slowing down at this point, it’s wise to slowly transition your kitten into consuming fewer calories. By the end of this stage, you should only be feeding her twice a day.
- Nine to twelve months: By the time she is a year old, your kitten will be fully grown! In this period, it’s a good idea to start transitioning her to adult cat food. It’s also important to keep an eye on her weight at this point to ensure she’s not being overfed.
Completing litter box training
Luckily, litter box training a kitten will likely be a fairly easy task. After all, cats instinctively bury their waste. If your kitten is confused at what to do your best bet is to place her in the litter box and simulate the digging process with her.
When she is not doing her business, gently take her paw and dig at the litter in repetitive motions. After a few times doing this, she should get the idea and begin to bury her waste on her own.
Introducing your kitten to the house
Lastly, once your kitten starts to give you signals that she is ready to explore the rest of the house (i.e. meowing loudly and pawing at the door), you should begin the process of introducing her to different rooms.
It’s best if you take this process one room at a time. However, before introducing her to any new areas, you’ll want to be sure to kitten-proof them ahead of time. Make sure to pick up any small items that have made their way to the floor and to tie up any loose strings (like the pulls on blinds), so that she doesn’t accidentally get caught up in them.
When you’re ready to bring the kitten into the room, set her down and allow her to explore the new space at her own pace. Her instincts may tell her to run and hide at first, but before long, she’ll be back out and ready to play.