Having a new pet in the house is a fun, exciting time for any family. Kittens are soft little bundles of energy which will bring a massive amount of joy into your home.
Giving your kitten the best start in life is vital to ensuring that he is healthy, happy and bonding well with all members of the family (four-legged or otherwise!)
So, whether this is your first kitten or you’re a seasoned cat owner, here are the things you should be doing in the first 30 days with your new kitten.
The Journey Home
For a kitten, the journey from their old home to your house can be confusing. Kittens won’t have much experience of the world so they may become stressed by the new experience.
The best way to ensure that your kitten has as stress-free a journey as possible is by preparing your cat carrier in advance. Fill it with soft, warm blankets and a couple of toys so that it is a comfortable, appealing place for your kitten to be. You could also consider hiding a few treats in the carrier for your kitten to find, to distract him.
If you are taking your kitten home by car, it is a good idea to have someone else drive while you sit in the back seat with the kitten in his carrier. This will help him bond with you, and you will be able to provide him with reassurance and treats if he becomes distressed.
Letting Him Explore His New Home
When you arrive at home with your kitten, you should have an area set aside for him. This can be a spare room, or you could use a kitten enclosure to designate his set space. You should have a bed, toys and litter tray set up in this area.
For the first few days, his kitten enclosure or spare room should be the place where he spends all of his time. This will allow him to acclimate to his new surroundings gradually, as too much change all at once can be stressful for a kitten.
Once he is happy and comfortable in his own space, you can then introduce him to other areas of the house.
Adjusting To The Carrier
Getting your kitten used to their carrier is incredibly important during the first 30 days. If your kitten was stressed by the experience when you were bringing him home, then you might be tempted to put the carrier away out of sight to soothe him. This is an understandable instinct, but it is better to show your kitten that the carrier is nothing to fear.
Leave the carrier in your kitten’s space so that he can explore it as he wishes. You could make a game of throwing treats to different parts of his area, including the carrier so that he associates the carrier with treats and games.
Making sure your kitten likes his carrier will benefit him throughout his life. Vet appointments are already stressful enough for any pet without adding to the distress with a carrier he is afraid of.
Kitten proofing your home is a must. This should be done before your kitten arrives ideally, though the extent to which you will have to kitten proof may not be evident until you get your kitten home. Some kittens are avid climbers, keen to explore all areas and chew things they shouldn’t. You should ensure that your kitten will not be able to reach anywhere that will be dangerous to him.
Ensure that all wires are out of reach from your kitten, particularly if he enjoys scratching or chewing things that he shouldn’t.
Introducing Him To Other Pets
Introducing your pets to a new kitten should be approached with caution. Having your kitten separate for the first few days is a great way to get your pets used to each other’s scents.
When you are ready to introduce your kitten to your other pets, make sure to take it slowly. Always be around to supervise your pets’ interactions so that you are on hand if needed. You could hold the new kitten for your other pets to sniff and investigate for the first meeting. Holding your kitten will also help to reassure him when meeting a bigger animal.
Feeding Your Kitten
It would be best if you decided on what to feed your kitten before you bring him home. The first 30 days are essential for setting a routine with your kitten, so you should try to avoid switching between different food types and feeding routines unless absolutely necessary.
A great way to help your kitten get the best start is by feeding him raw cat food. Natural raw cat food from Bella & Duke is an excellent way to ensure that your kitten gets all the minerals and nutrients he needs while giving him a varied diet.
First Appointment At The Vet
As with getting your kitten used to a carrier, you should try to ensure that his first experience with at the vet is as positive as it can be. Using treats is one good way to help your kitten associate the vet with positive experiences.
When in the waiting room you should avoid sitting near any boisterous dogs, and where possible find a quiet calm spot away from the bustle of the other people and pets.
Your initial appointment will be an all-round health check, along with any vaccinations that your kitten may need. This first appointment with the vet is essential for ensuring that your kitten is in the best health, and any potential issues are dealt with promptly.
Learning To Use The Litter Tray
You should keep your kitten’s litter tray in one place so that he can get used to it. This should be placed away from where he eats and sleeps – like humans, cats don’t enjoy being too close to their toilets during their leisure time!
Using rewards to re-enforce good toilet behaviour can be a great way to ensure that he learns to use the litter tray quickly. You should never get angry or yell at your kitten if he has an accident, as this will end up doing more harm than good.
The most important part of your first 30 days with your kitten is bonding. It would be best if you spent time playing with him, stroking him and training him. Getting a new kitten is a joyful experience, so make sure you make the most of these fun kitten months and set aside time each day to play with him.
Bonding with your kitten early will make it easier to help him through vet appointments and other potentially stressful situations. It will also ensure that he develops a calm and friendly temperament by socialising with you and other pets and family members.
Grooming can be another great way to bond with your kitten, and get him used to a grooming routine. Using a pet brush to brush your kitten will help to ensure a healthy, silky coat while being a great way to soothe and calm your kitten in their early days as part of your family.