Updated: Jul 21, 2020
A new home with new sights, new sounds, and new smells can be a scary place for a young kitten, but there are things you can do to make the transition easier. Your new kitten left behind a loving mother, playful siblings, and a familiar environment, so he needs a little special care when being introduced to his new surroundings and new family.
We will provide you a baby blanket so you can travel home with the comforting scent of his/her his mother and siblings to bring to the new home. Familiar smells warm the heart and steady the nerves of an uncertain kitten.
The ride home should be as pleasant as possible. Place the scented towel in a cat carrier and gently place your kitten inside. Cats prefer cozy spots so they usually like being in a carrier. By encouraging your kitten to ride within the confines of a carrier, you are providing safety and security, as well as starting a good routine that you can maintain for future traveling.
Arriving Home and Setting Up for Kitty
When you arrive at home, place the kitten and carrier in a small, quiet room in the house away from traffic. Open the door of the carrier and allow the cat some time to come out willingly. Place fresh water, food, and an unenclosed litter box near the carrier. Allow the kitty to come and go at will. If he/she cowers in the back of the pet caddy and refuses to venture out after 30 minutes, gently, pick him/her up, and show the food, water bowls, and litter box area. If possible, duplicate the type of litter material used in their previous home.
All kittens will need time to investigate their new surroundings.
This can be less overwhelming for your new kitten if you initially limit the available space by keeping him in a single room/area
A kitten who is more shy may not eat much during the first 24 to 48 hours and may experience temporary diarrhea from stress. If your cat has not eaten in 48 hours, try some extra tasty treats like cooked (unseasoned) chicken. If this is not successful, reach out to us or your veterinarian for advice.
Bonding with Your New Kitten In the beginning, interact frequently for short periods based on your kitten’s receptiveness. Visiting can mean interacting directly with the new cat in the form of play or petting, or quietly reading a book or chatting on the telephone in the same space as your new companion. Keep in mind that a nervous kitty may benefit from slower movements and speaking softly followed by giving the cat some time alone.
Transitioning Beyond the Safe Room
If kitten seems very receptive or it’s been at least a day or two, gradually introduce him to rest of house! Be sure to begin this process when you are home to supervise. An option may be to close most of the doors so the cat begins its orientation in stages. Too many new spaces at once can be stressful and frightening. If your cat is still shy, avoid rooms with too many potential hiding spots!
Ready to Explore
Remember, integration into the rest of the house is dependent on the personality of your new cat (as well as your existing pets). Sometimes the integration process only takes a few days; however, sometimes it can take a few weeks. Shy cats in particular may need a longer integration period.
After interacting with your kitten on your turf, your scent will replace the smells associated with his old home and you will become his source of security. He will find comfort in having you around, but sometimes you can’t always be with him so your kitty must learn to stay at home alone. While kitty is still very small, set up a safe and secure area where you can leave your kitten when you are not around to supervise.
This location should be large enough to accommodate a food bowl, water bowl, litter box, toys, and a resting area. Remember that cats prefer to have their food and water separated from the litter box, so designate a separate feeding area, litter box area, and resting/play area. Make sure the area is cat-proofed by removing things that may cause injury (sharp objects, string, electrical cords, rubber bands or other items that could be swallowed) and inspect the areas for nooks and crannies where a kitten might hide or get stuck. Cats are natural explorers and independent by nature, so most investigate and adjust to their safe haven readily.