Bringing her home
Remember what it feels like to move into a new home with new people? Well it’s a bit like that for your new kitten. Luckily, there’s plenty you can do to lessen the stress and make the process go more smoothly and enjoyably for both of you.
Decide which room is going to be your kitten’s ‘home base’ for the first few days and make sure it has a door or some other way of shielding her from the hustle and bustle of daily life (including children and other pets).
Place her litter tray, preferably with sandy, clumping-type litter (our favourite's Catsan®), unless she’s already shown a preference for another type, in a corner opposite the door. Don’t forget the tray liners and a scoop.
Have shallow bowls for her food and fresh water ready, as far away from the litter tray as possible. You may want to put plastic mats under her dish and litter tray to make cleaning easier.
Buy her a bed or make one yourself. A cardboard box with an entrance cut in one side and lined with a blanket will be fine.
Place the bed somewhere away from the litter tray, but keep in mind that she may prefer to choose where her bed goes.
Buy a cat carrier for her first journey home and for later trips to the vet, non-toxic toys to help her play and learn, a brush and comb for grooming and (for your furniture’s sake) a scratching post.
Finally, make sure you remove any dangerous items like poisonous plants and cleaning agents prior to her arrival.
Keep the house as quiet as possible when you bring your kitten home and don't be surprised if she seems a bit timid at first. First show her where her bed and food and water bowls are. She'll soon be overcome by curiosity (something for which cats are famous!), so allow her to discover where everything else is on her own.
She'll let you know when she’s ready to inspect the rest of the house. Leave a door slightly ajar for her to come and go from her ‘home-base’ so she can explore as and when she wants.
She’s a fast learner, so help her to feel at home by establishing a routine from the start. For your sake, her first lesson should probably be the litter tray. She'll already have been toilet trained by her mother, but might not recognise her new tray. Place her in the tray first thing in the morning, last thing at night and after meals and she'll soon be comfortable with it. There'll probably be some mishaps as she learns, but whatever you do, don't scold her - she'll get there in the end.
If you have other pets, try to keep them away for the first few hours. Then introduce her gradually, giving her space to approach or withdraw as she wishes. And make sure you pay your older pets plenty of attention so they don’t become jealous. Feeding them first at mealtimes is a good trick.
Finally, remember not to let your kitten outside until she has been vaccinated. Even after her jabs, it’s best to keep her at home for the first two or three weeks.
If you already have a cat in the house, there's a simple trick that'll make the first meeting with your new kitten as painless as possible.
All you need to do is rub your new kitten with an old piece of your clothing, one that holds your smell. That way, your new kitten will already have something familiar about her and will be accepted more easily.
Since your new kitten is still young, there shouldn’t be any major problems. The pecking order will immediately be determined by the difference in ages. In most cases, the kitten will follow the lead of the older cat, who'll protect the new and vulnerable arrival.
It’s slightly more tricky if an older kitten is being introduced to a younger one, since its more developed self-confidence can lead to minor fights. In this case, start by making much more fuss of the younger kitten and then let the two of them settle. While they get used to each other, make sure that they have separate food and water bowls, and their own sleeping places and litter trays.
They'll soon be completely content in each other’s company.