You have decided to give a little cat a home? Then you are in for some exciting weeks ahead. Depending on temperament and socialisation, possibly depending on the breed and gender, the little cat will conquer its home in its own way. Read here how to prepare your home for the kitten’s arrival and what to look out for.
The kitten is moving in: When is the best time?
Ideally, get your kitten from a shelter or birth home where it has been with its mother and siblings long enough to undergo proper socialisation. A kitten should not be separated from its mother before it is twelve weeks old. Researchers at the University of Helsinki even found that young cats show fewer behavioural problems and develop a particularly self-confident and friendly nature if they live with their mother and siblings for the first thirteen weeks. A little patience can pay off so that the cat develops into a housemate with a strong character. However, separation from the mother and siblings is never easy for a kitten.
Take scent samples of the cat family before you take the kitten home. Rub a cloth on their cheeks to do this. In the first days in the new home, the familiar scent will give the little kitten comfort. It is of course ideal if you can take in two mini tigers at the same time and one sibling comes with you to the new home. Conversely, it is advantageous if the kitten already knows your scent before the move. If possible, leave the breeder or owner of the mother cat an item of clothing, such as a worn T-shirt, for the kitten to examine. A pheromone diffuser in the kitten’s room also has a stress-relieving effect on a young animal.
How can I train my kitten?
Every move is exciting. Even kittens can be overwhelmed by too many new impressions at once. If possible, prepare a room that the kitten has all to itself at first. This room should not be a corridor. It is ideal if you can secure the room with a puppy fence, for example, so that the kitten can observe everything from its position without having to leave their new room. The kitten room should not offer too many hiding places, but should contain everything the kitten needs: the litter tray, a basket, food and water bowls and a scratching post.
Specialist shops offer smaller size versions for kittens, from which even a clumsy kitten cannot fall down. When you arrive home with your new housemate, put the carrier down and open the door. But leave it to the kitten itself to leave the transport box and do not lift or pull it out. Only if the little cat does not make any effort to leave the transport box after several hours, you can try to lure it out with a toy or a special treat. As hard as it may be – keep a low profile in the first few hours and give the kitten time to get its bearings and absorb all the new smells and sounds. A kitten will soon explore the room on its own and seek contact with people or other pets.
How long does it take for a kitten to settle in?
It is important to let the kitten take the initiative. It must first learn to assess the unfamiliar surroundings and the unfamiliar people. It will probably soon want to find out what is on the other side of the door. As soon as the kitten is confident in the room, you can gradually show it the other rooms. If the kitten is already willing to be touched, carry it into another room – it may even follow you. Let it explore the new room and then bring it back to its room. Don’t be disappointed if your kitten is the cautious type and takes a little longer to accept the new environment or make contact with you.
Resist the temptation to pick up and hold the kitten against its will, but wait for the moment when it comes towards you itself. In the beginning, try to surround the kitten with as many familiar things as possible: a blanket brought from their old home, the familiar food and the same brand of cat litter. If you want to make changes to the food and litter, do so gradually – as soon as the kitten has gained confidence in their new home, the adjustment will be easier.
If a new pet has joined your family you need to be perfectly equipped from the start to ensure they can settle in to their new life easily.
Maxi Zoo are on hand with our new pet starter kits for every kind of pet. You can find out more information about them here. Our store staff are available to give customised advice so you choose the perfect product for your new arrival, and you can get 10% off* your starter kit when you visit your local Maxi Zoo store, find yours here.