24 Apr Adopting a New Kitten? Here’s Everything You Need to Know
Adopting a new kitten can be an exciting and scary time, especially if this is your first kitten. The importance of litter boxes, bedding, and appropriate toys might be lost on a new cat owner and can be forgotten in the excitement of taking them home. We have compiled a complete guide of what to get and why you need it – so you don’t have to worry. Here is everything you need to know before bringing your kitten home:
Where Are You Getting Your Pet?
With all the choices in breeds these days, there are also a wide variety of places you can get a kitten. Shelters, local breeders, cat shows, or even in the street if your area has a large feral cat population, there are many different places to go looking for a cat. While the number one place to find a healthy cat at any age is an animal shelter, you can choose to work with a reputable breeder in your area for your new family friend. With animal shelters offering kittens who have all their initial veterinary care completed and are behaviorally tested to fit in with your family, this may be your healthiest option for your new forever friend. If you do choose to go with a breeder, be sure to investigate them carefully to ensure you are getting your new cat from a healthy environment and a breeder who cares about their cats.
Shelters also offer a unique option for hopeful pet owners who would like to ‘try before you buy’: animal shelters are always in search of foster homes for cats. A foster home is a family who has the space and love for a pet to provide them that extra care before they find their forever homes. Cats are notorious for being stressed in the crowded environments of shelters, so often don’t let their real personalities show until they are able to relax in a secure environment. Foster homes provide that special care to cats of any age for varying amounts of time and say goodbye when a family adopts them. If you are interested in getting to know a cat before you make them part of your family, sign up to foster with your local animal shelter. Here in Auburn, Al Lee County Humane Society and the Macon County Humane Society have excellent foster programs. Not only can you help out your local cat population, when you find that special cat who clicks with your family, you can adopt them.
How to Ready Your House:
Getting a new kitten is a lot like bringing in a roommate; you need to make space, prepare your other housemates and buy new equipment so you all are comfortable. Try to reserve a specific room or area in your house that can serve as a landing base for your new cat or kitten. A large space can be overwhelming and scary, so your cat will be comforted by being introduced to a small area to start with. This is also an excellent way to slowly introduce your new cat to other furry friends: resident dogs or other cats can sniff under the door to get used to the new addition, making later integration easier. You can open them up to other areas of your home after an adjustment period so they can explore but still have their safe base to return to.
Just like babies, kittens and cats love to explore and sometimes destroy. Be sure to remove breakable items from shelves, secure easily destroyed items, and keep electronic wires out of reach.
Some Assembly Required:
It is always easier to bring a new addition home with a fully supplied house waiting instead of running to the store. That’s why we’ve created an easy printable shopping checklist for you as you head to the store. It also has a helpful vet checklist for your initial exam. Here’s a quick run-down of why we recommended some specific items on the list:
Cats love scratching things. They also don’t discriminate. You can lessen your chances of your new cat choosing to scratch your leather couch by offering different and multiple things they are supposed to scratch. Cat trees, sisal rope posts and cardboard scratching boards are all useful to keep around the house for easy access. If you find your cat scratching something they shouldn’t be, quickly remove them and place them on the correct scratching surface. With repetition, your cat will learn that some places make better scratching posts than others.
Getting the right litterbox will set you on a path of few accidents in the house. Cats are natural litter users, so they will instinctively seek out their litter box. Getting a box that is too small for them, is in a too busy space, hard to get to space, or having too few boxes in a multi cat household might cause your cat to seek out the carpet the next time they have to pee. It is also helpful to keep an extra litter box in a separate room to keep an area always available.
What to Do Once They’re Home:
Now that the shopping and home preparation is complete, you get to move on to the extra fun part: bringing your kitty home! This is the best time for cat and owner, as you get to watch them explore their new space and they get a new source for food and playtime. This initial homecoming is an important time for establishing trust and normal behaviors with your new pet. Being consistent in your treatment, respecting their space, and gentle in how you treat your new cat will establish trust over time to create a lasting bond. Set aside time to spend with them alone, either playing, cuddling or just being in the same room, to help get used to each other.
Maybe once you bring your cat home you will find out your cat really loves laying in sinks, or will attack your feet when you leave the bathroom, or they really love the smell of chocolate. Cats are sometimes strange, but that’s part of their appeal. Cats are independent, goofy, playful and sometimes loners – all cats have distinct personalities which will reveal themselves to you in time. Unless your cat’s strange personal quirks cause themselves, your house, or you harm, try to be understanding of your new roommate’s habits. If they are causing harm, seek out the help of a professional trainer for the best way to alter these behaviors.
Most importantly, now that they are home it is time to socialize them. Exposure to new sights, smells, people, pets and situations now will make for a calmer companion later. Take them outside on a harness to experience the outside world, bring over new friends for them to play with, encourage your other pets (if you have them) to play with your new cat. It is during this early time your cat learns to accept new experiences, so what you get them used to is what won’t shock them. Spend plenty of time with them and they will be the happy and cool cat you’ve always wanted. If you plan to travel soon, keeping them at home while they are still adjusting would be a better choice than boarding. You’ll want to find a professional pet sitting service in your area to care for your new kitty in your home while you are away!
That is our exhaustive list of everything to think of before and after bringing kitty home. Since the most exciting part of your new partnership shouldn’t be spent in research, we hope you found this list answers every question you had. If you’re still left with questions, about behaviors, equipment or training your new furry friend, please ask us on our Facebook Page
Are you ready to book a professional pet sitter or dog walker? Schedule your FREE consultation to get a Pet Nanny Expert today!