How to adjust a kitten to a new home is a question that does not arise often, but it is nevertheless quite important.
And it starts with that exciting moment when a kitten is about to arrive in a new home.
We’re sure you’re already counting down the days until you’re ready to take a pet into your family. And it doesn’t matter if it’s a small kitten, an adult cat, or a cat.
No doubt you have questions flashing before your eyes, “What’s the first thing to buy,” “What kind of food to choose?”, “How to care for?”, “How long does it take to adjust a kitten?” and much more.
Surely you have already been interested in this topic and “dug through” a decent amount of resources. We will try to provide as much information as possible in one article, necessary for making the right decisions.
Before such an important step, it is advisable to make some “preparations” to make it easier and faster for your pet to get used to its new home.
In this article, we will talk about exactly how to adjust a kitten or cat to a new home.
So what should you do when you take a kitten home?
IN THIS ARTICLE:
- How to Prepare Your Home for a Cat?
- The Kitten’s Adjustment in the First Days
- How to Teach a Kitten to Use the Litter Box?
- Kitten’s Sleep and Rest in the New Home
- Playing With the Kitten
- Claw Sharpening is Considered Normal Behavior
- What to Do With a Kitten’s Biting Habit?
- How to Bathe and Trim a Kitten’s Claws
- Where to Start Feeding a Kitten?
- Medical Treatment and Prevention
How to Prepare Your Home for a Cat? Is it Safe?
Before you allow your new pet to run around the house, you need to think about its “maximum protection“. First and foremost, this is as much about the safety of the pet as it is about the security of your belongings.
Here’s a quick checklist to get you started.
Think of a Safe Place to Put Your Pet
It could be, for example, a bathroom, guest room, or just any private place – the first week can be pretty tough.
It is advisable to think about the litter box right away and place it in one corner and the food, water, and bedding in another.
Allow the kitten to settle in at his own pace – you don’t have to introduce him to all the other “residents” right away.
It is especially important to keep your pet in such a safe place for at least 10 days if you have other pets. And yes, in case you choose the restroom, don’t forget to close the toilet lid!)
If you get a kitten on Christmas Eve, you should also take care of the safety of the Christmas tree.
Don’t Forget About Toxic Plants for Kitty
We should be aware of plants that can be dangerous to our pets. Here are some of the most common poisonous houseplants.
Such as belladonna, daffodils, mistletoe, daisies, ivy, cyclamen, geraniums, and tulips. By the way, you can find an extensive list on the ASPCA website.
Make Sure to Have Safe Windows and Balconies
If you live in an apartment building and not on the first floor, be sure to consider the fact of height. There have been quite a few known cases of falls from heights that can result in serious injury or death.
Be sure to secure your home against cats falling from heights. There are a number of options that allow you to safely ventilate the room and not worry about the health of your pet:
You are free to choose the appropriate solution depending on your needs and budget.
Keep Allergies in Mind
Not forgetting about potential cat allergies is preferable – a good HEPA air purifier may be the solution. Other important things to remember are to vacuum your home more often.
Of course, it is possible to return to normal conditions when everyone adapts, both owners and pets.
If the possibility of allergies exists, limiting the animal’s access to such premises is necessary.
And of course, if you do suffer from allergies, then pay attention to cat breeds for allergy sufferers.
Cats are Very Fond of Exploring
As experience shows, they can cope with almost any barrier and get to the most undiscovered places in the house.
The right thing to do here is to remove all fragile and “badly worthwhile” things that can be broken, eaten, or played with.
Oops! I remember our figure with the image of cats – paws separately, the head by itself too. Thanks to super glue, it was fixed.
Have Some Toys Ready for the Kitten
Cats love to chase and hunt for toys.
If possible, avoid toys with small parts that can break or be swallowed. Such carelessness will definitely cause problems with the cat’s digestive tract if swallowed.
Our advice is to choose those toys that are specifically designed for animals.
And finally, you should come up with a name for your pet.
Kittens’ First Days in the New Home
Obviously, for the first few days, your kitten may be very uncertain.
Be patient and take your time. A frightened or insecure animal may hide from you. Try to create the most comfortable conditions possible, and believe us, in time it will come out and please you.
Under no circumstances should you force the kitten to come out of its hiding place by pulling it by its paws or other body parts. It will be enough to entice him with food or some toy.
The Kitten’s Adjustment in the First Days
It is known that a pet in the first few days may exhibit behavior that is not quite natural.
And here, if the problem doesn’t go away, you should seek help from a veterinarian:
- the kitten does not eat;
- there is an upset stomach, vomiting, diarrhea;
- hides all the time (make sure he has safe and free access to food, water, and toilets);
- does not use the litter box (of course, it is not necessary to run straight to the vet, but you need to make sure that the kitten is not disturbed).
What you can do to help your kitten adjust faster (checklist)
- Again, be calm and patient.
- Keep the kitten in one small room (such as a bathroom) to give him time to adjust.
- Give your pet access to other parts of the house gradually, so he’ll feel more confident.
- Keep your kitten indoors only. Do not leave it unattended near open windows – a frightened animal can easily escape and run away.
- Provide your pet with fresh water and food.
- Separate the kitten from other pets initially.
- If you are taking your pet home at busy times, such as birthdays or holidays, be especially careful. You need to give him a quiet place away from noisy activities.
- Cats can get bored, so give them more toys, daily socializing, and other activities. Let the cat adjust to your home. For example, if you have a window sill overlooking the yard, open the curtains or blinds so your cat can see the world around him.
How to Teach a Kitten to Use the Litter Box?
It is well known that “toileting” quite often becomes an unexpected problem for our pets – and for us, accordingly. Let’s understand some of the nuances.
Tip from Murmeo. Ask previous owners to put some “waste” material from the pet’s litter box. Whether it’s sand, silica gel, or wood filler, the main thing is to make sure it’s “soaked”.
You should then add it to your new litter box. The kitten will smell it and go to the new place faster.
Let’s start with the general rule of thumb – have one litter box per cat plus an extra litter box for insurance (at least in the beginning).
Here are some tips to help train your kitten to the litter box.
- Place the litter box in a convenient place for the kitten.
- Keep cat litter boxes away from “high-traffic” areas and feeding areas. You need to make sure that the kitten can access the litter box without feeling threatened or endangered.
- Clean the litter box daily or every other day at first.
- When you first bring the kitten home, you should put him in the litter box right away. The basic concept is to make sure that the kitten knows and understands the location of the litter box.
- You may have to experiment with different types of litter until you find the right one for your pet. By the way, we use silica gel litter – seems to be no problem.
- If the kitten “misses” the litter box at first, wipe the urine with a tissue and place it in the litter box. Your kitty will surely smell it and know where to go to “pee”.
- Of course, if the kitten went the wrong way, the place should be washed with some liquid with a persistent and repulsive smell. We managed with a vinegar solution.
- Definitely don’t yell loudly or poke your kitten’s nose in “that” spot – clearly, that kind of parenting won’t help.
What if a Kitten Ignores the Litter Box
It is necessary to try to understand the problem in more depth. It is known that it can be an issue related to some disease of urination or the need for territorial marking (as they say the cat “marks” his place).
Ultimately, you need to make sure that the kitten does not have an illness or injury that is causing this behavior – then you can sleep peacefully. Otherwise, as soon as you notice a problem, it is advisable to see a veterinarian.
Don’t forget that a problem or illness can also be caused by the stress of moving to a new environment.
Other Possible Reasons for Cats Ignoring the Litter Box (The Complete List)
- Your kitten may not know where the litter box is located. If your house or apartment is quite large and has several levels, it is advisable to place several litter boxes in different places.
- The pet does not like the brand or type of litter. Try several variations at the same time in different litter trays. Then observe which one is “popular” and then switch to the chosen variant.
- The litter box is dirty. You need to clean it at least once a day. It should be emptied completely and washed with a mild, odorless detergent.
- The toilet tray may have been washed with strong-smelling products. It is recommended to rinse it well under running water.
- The kitten is not happy with the location of the litter box. Try to find another, more secluded place for him.
- The litter box may be occupied by another animal. Some cats do not want to share the litter box, especially at first. It is very easy to solve the issue in this case – it is enough for each pet to have its own litter box.
- A kitten may be afraid of certain personalities, such as a specific person or another pet.
- The pet may be reacting to stressful events or changes in the family or home.
- There are also cases when animals urinate in one litter box but go to the toilet in the other litter box. Try, at first, to have the appropriate number of toiletries.
Please be patient and consistent during litter box training. It may take a few weeks for the animal to settle down and get used to the new environment. And by the way, NEVER punish them for mistakes – be loyal and friendly to our lesser friends.
Kitten’s Sleep and Rest in the New Home
You probably know that cats can sleep most of the time of the day. So the right place for them to sleep can be extremely important.
It’s definitely true that all felines love a place somewhere on top.
Our cats! Quite often we can see the picture of our cats sitting somewhere on top of the shelves and watching the environment..
Especially popular places if they can hide and sleep.
If you are able to purchase and place a cat shelf somewhere high up – trust us, the kitty will appreciate it.
Next in popularity may be other cozy places like a closet, couch, bag, and other things. Of course, it is desirable to arrange a specially designated place for sleeping.
By the way, about “Where do cats like to sleep?” you can learn more in our another article.”
Of course, you can let the cat sleep on the furniture or your lap – it adds peace of mind to both you and your pet.
Also, keep in mind that you and your pet may not sleep at the same time.
It is important to know that cats are crepuscular animals. And their increased activity at night or in the morning/evening hours is not a behavioral problem, but a normal instinctive action.
To correct the behavior a little bit and accustom the kitten to sleep at night there is a very simple way – “play with him” before going to bed.
Tip from Murmeo. We often play active games with our pets just before we go to sleep. This way, they run around, expend energy and go to bed at the same time as us. Otherwise, sometimes it happens that we just go to bed – and they just climbed out of their dens.
Playing With the Kitten
Be sure to buy or make some toys yourself. Games are associated with the process of hunting, so cats usually play with great pleasure.
Mice, rustling balls, rubber balls, and teasers on a stick are great as first toys.
The only limitation is to avoid low-quality items with small parts that can be swallowed.
When playing, avoid rough handling so that the kitten gets used to playing without the use of claws and teeth.
And this is our favorite basket with toys.
As we mentioned earlier, avoid thread, hair, small ribbons, and other small things. Kittens may swallow such toys, which in turn may require surgery to remove the object.
If you work all day, be sure to plan to spend extra time with the cat in the evenings.
Believe me, evening games, and just petting your pet helps them stay happy. And you’re sure to hear them purring in return!
Some games with a kitten may include imitation hunting: ambushing, stalking, and attacking. From the aside, it looks very funny and amusing.
But keep in mind that the target of their playful claws and teeth can be anything that moves (including you).
Our recommendation is not to let an animal attack you and play with your teeth and claws. If the kitten gets playful, try to move his attention to another object of attack.
You should also remember that cats are very fond of climbing and jumping. Did you know that a cat can jump two or three times its body length?
If there is an opportunity, your pet will not miss the opportunity to get to the highest place. Be vigilant, such places must be absolutely safe for your pet.
For example, in our kitchen, we had to put a box on the cupboard. Because very long and unsafe jumps across half the kitchen were observed.
The last straw was when our young cat did not jump and hung on the cupboard – that was still a full house.
Be Prepared – Claw Sharpening is Considered Normal Behavior
It should be noted that claw sharpening is a normal behavior in cats. The main point here is to teach them to do it only in the right places.
The main reason for scratching may be the need to remove the scales on the claws. Also, to mark their territory and to feel at home.
If you give your pet a suitable place to scratch, it will surely keep your couch, chair, and other things safe.
This is how our cats fight…
Each animal is unique in its own way, so it may have its own preference for things that can be scratched. You can try:
- a plain cardboard box;
- a vertical scratching post with sisal rope;
- a floor scratching post;
- multi-functional complexes.
By the way, try putting the scratching post near your favorite bed – cats like to stretch after sleeping. It is also recommended to keep the scratching post in places where your animals spend most of their time.
Clearly, a scratching post that is in a hard-to-reach location will probably not be used for its intended purpose.
Let’s move on to the educational aspect. If you catch a cat scratching the furniture or carpet, just say “no” and put the animal in the required place.
You can use catnip as an extra lure. You can also try a laser pointer – just point it at the scratching post.
And don’t forget to support your pet’s successes with any praise or goodies.
If you need to protect a particular object from scratches, use any smooth stuff.
These can be, for example, plastic protectors or silk cloth. You can also use foil or double-sided tape.
What to Do With a Kitten’s Biting Habit
We think it is worth separately mentioning such habits as biting and scratching.
By no means encourage even playful biting of any of your body parts. Also, it is not necessary to use your hand as a toy.
If the kitten entered into excitement and began to bite hard, then simply stop playing.
There is another peculiarity common to cats. It is that each animal has its own body parts that “must not be touched”.
You have to understand such places and try to avoid them during games, procedures, and other things.
Our cats. As an example, one of our cats clearly does not like to be touched on her paws. She will certainly tolerate it, but at any moment she can make a warning “bite”..
How to Bathe and Trim a Kitten’s Claws
Of course, all cats know how to keep themselves clean on their own. Most of these animals are afraid of the bathtub and the water in it.
If your kitten gets too dirty, the best thing to do is to use special cleaning wipes or dry shampoo.
Although most cats stay relatively clean throughout their lives, there are times when they can get very dirty. This is exactly where you will need a bath.
Scrubbing and clawing are the basic things that will be needed in grooming your pet. Also, be prepared for increased shedding in the spring and early summer – there can be quite a bit of hair and undercoat.
To get rid of hair on the carpet we can use a special attachment on the vacuum cleaner – turbo brush. It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty tolerable if you need to clean a decent area.
Long-haired cats definitely need regular hair brushing at all times of the year. This will help to avoid hair sticking.
By the way, cats have quite sensitive skin, so be sure to use only a special comb or brush. You should not use stiff brushes that are designed for dogs.
Did you know that if you have several cats, they can take care of each other? Of course, it won’t happen every day – but still, we’ve seen it happen more than once.
This is called “allogrooming,” i.e. cleaning the fur of one individual by another individual.
Actually, allogrooming, grooming, and other grooming behaviors are normal. However, you should think about it if the cat is experiencing unhealthy or excessive grooming, up to and including hair loss, red skin, or rashes.
In such cases, it is recommended to see a veterinarian.
How to Clip a Kitten’s Claws – Our Experience
It should be a rule of thumb that clipping your cat’s claws every few weeks is a vital part of maintaining your pet’s hygiene.
Regular claw trimming for cats not only protects the health of owners but also prolongs the life of our sofas and chairs.
It will only take a little patience to first learn and then sharpen your claw-cutting skills.
Believe me, this is not the most complicated procedure that sometimes needs to be done. Of course, you can trust the professionals and visit a special grooming salon where they will do all the necessary things.
But we are not looking for easy paths, so we do this procedure ourselves. And thus, it is advisable to start clipping claws from an early age to accustom the kitten to this procedure.
Let’s try to briefly describe how it happens here.
Some time ago we used to cut claws with ordinary small manicure scissors. The important thing was that they were as sharp as possible – it was better to cut the claw off in one go.
A while later we discovered the special claw cutters by Trixie. And we were pleasantly surprised with this device for 2 reasons:
- maximum safety for the pet
- the procedure takes no more than 1-2 minutes.
In short, we advise you to buy something more or less professional, not necessarily the most expensive.
Here’s what these claw cutters look like.
In what position to cut the claws of a kitten?
It is definitely a difficult and tedious process to trim the claws yourself. In addition, you may accidentally hurt your pet. So it is recommended to do it together.
Ask your assistant to take the animal in your arms – in any position in principle. For example, we take one of our cats in a stretching pose under her belly. The other cat, on the other hand, we just sit him in our arms.
How to cut a cat’s claws
Take the paw and fix it slightly in your hand. Next, use your thumb to gently press on the joint just above the claw – when it extends, quickly but carefully cut off its sharp tip.
You should not try to cut too close to the pink part of the claw, where the blood vessels and nerve endings pass.
In our experience, it’s better to cut less than to damage a blood vessel and cause pain for the animal. Believe us, this place, like the pink part of the human nail, is very sensitive.
If you happen to cut a claw pretty badly and it bleeds. Then we usually use a cotton swab with peroxide to blot it up a bit.
Peroxide, in general, is odorless, and therefore cats are fine with it.
After that, leave the animal alone, but after a while (about 15 minutes) check that the blood has stopped.
Tip from Murmeo. You don’t have to cut all the claws at once. We have had cases where the animal is not in the mood. In such circumstances, we cut the front paws first. An hour later we cut the hind legs...
By the way, did you know that cats have 18 claws?
Do you need cats declawing?
Keep in mind that claw removal is a serious surgical procedure with significant risks for the short-term and long-term development of all sorts of side effects.
We definitely do NOT support removing your cat’s claws, as there are many humane and other alternative ways to deal with the scratching issue.
Don’t forget that a cat’s claws are as much a necessary part of the body as a mustache, tail, or fingers.
Kitten’s Teeth Cleaning
Yes, we are not mistaken – exactly, brushing.
This procedure will at least eliminate bad breath in cats. And at most, it will prevent the occurrence of oral diseases such as stomatitis or periodontitis
Brushing your cat’s teeth periodically is one effective way to prevent tartar buildup.
You should use toothpaste made especially for cats. You can buy such toothpaste in pet stores or at your veterinarian’s office.
Cleaning should be done at least several times a week. And yes, it can be a challenge, especially during the training phase.
But stick to your plan and most cats will learn to tolerate and accept brushing as part of their routine.
Where to Start Feeding a Kitten
In case you take the pet from a cattery, foster home, or another place, you should ask what he was fed. It is advisable to continue the same feeding for a certain period of time – until the pet adapts to its new home.
Also, it should be mentioned that the transfer to another food should be done gradually:
- days 1 and 2: 75% regular feed and 25% new feed;
- days 3 and 4: 50% regular feed and 50% new feed;
- days 5 and 6: 25% regular feed and 75% new feed;
- from day 7: new food only.
If you take your pet from the street, it is up to you. It is entirely up to your vision, desire, and possibilities to use natural food, dry food, or wet food.
The only thing we would recommend is not to buy the cheapest food and not to abuse food from the table. And for a list of not allowed foods, you can read our article.
Consequently, place bowls of food and water in a safe, quiet place so that the cat can eat in peace. Also, the feeding place should be far away from the litter box.
And remember to keep your pet’s bowl clean.
Always try to feed your pet 2-4 times a day (depending on age) on a schedule. So, kittens 8-12 weeks old need four meals a day, kittens 3-6 months old need three meals a day, and kittens over 6 months old need two meals a day.
Remember that unlimited feeding of dry food can lead to obesity. Of course, you can have food readily available, but it is still better to start with a controlled diet.
Do not forget to wash your plate at least once a day. By the way, it is preferable not to use plastic products of the worst quality. Ceramic or metal would be fine.
Be sure to prepare a container of water or better several. This is especially true when feeding dry food.
Warning! If the animal does not get the right amount of water, it will lead to diseases (like urolithiasis) and irreparable tragic consequences.
Also, follow the recommendations for the amount of food on the package. Monitor the cat’s weight and adjust food portions accordingly. If you can’t feel your pet’s ribs, it could be a sign of being overweight.
Medical Treatment and Prevention
If you get a pet from a family, kennel, or shelter.
Of course, it is great if the animal already has a veterinary certificate with all the medical marks. But, unfortunately, we do not live in an ideal world.
If there is no vet passport, try to find out as much as possible what and when the animal was done.
By getting as much information as possible, you will be able to understand what vaccinations and procedures should be done in the short term.
If you get a kitten from the outside.
The first thing to do is to go to the veterinarian to have your pet examined for diseases. If all is well, the necessary vaccinations can be given.
A list of recommended procedures may generally look as follows:
- complex vaccination (against viral rhinotracheitis, feline calicivirus);
- the rabies vaccine;
- deworming procedure.
Don’t forget to vaccinate cats every year thereafter as well. The main reason is that vaccines provide immunity for no more than 12 months.
Tip from Murmeo. To remember when your vaccinations were given, make sure you put your medicine stub on your Vet Passport. If you don’t have a passport, get a notebook and stick it there. This way you won’t forget which medicine was used and when.
You should know that in any unclear situation, we recommend contacting a veterinarian. Our advice is to get yourself a regular “family doctor” and try to resolve issues with him.
We hope that our article will help you at least a little bit to make the right steps in such a difficult matter.
Whether you’re a first-time cat owner or an experienced pet parent, “The Ultimate Guide to Bringing Home Your New Kitten” is a must-read for anyone looking to provide the best possible care for their new feline companion
Now it’s your responsibility to help your pet adjust to its new lifestyle as quickly as possible. The only thing you need from you is a little affection, kindness, and love for your pet.
After all, now you have another member of the family!
In addition, earlier we wrote about how to introduce the cat to the family – perhaps you will be interested. ❤️❤️❤️
Frequently Asked Questions
Murmeo reference to the article: https://murmeo.com/en/the-ultimate-guide-to-bringing-home-your-new-kitten/