Kitten Care and Training
Getting a new kitten is an exciting event. It can also often be overwhelming and stressful for both you and your kitten. Here are some tips to help everyone adjust, including your kitten.
Before you bring your kitten home, it’s important to create an environment that is comfortable and encourages the kitten to socialize.
In order to keep your home safe for your new kitten, make certain your kitten is protected from possible household accidents by covering electrical wires, blocking unused outlets and limiting access to balconies and decks. Be sure that any pesticides, household cleaners and other poisonous substances are out of reach.
Finally, make sure to ask your veterinarian about what kinds of plants may be poisonous to your kitten, and remove any that may be present in your home. For additional information about which plants are poisonous to your pet, visit the ASPCA website.
It’s important to take your new kitten for an initial checkup with a veterinarian shortly after you bring your kitten home. We recommend carefully selecting a veterinarian and making an appointment for your kitten in advance of bringing her home.
Here are some tips for selecting a veterinarian:
- Meet the veterinarian to ensure you feel comfortable with them and their staff.
- Choose a vet that is close to your home. This is not only an issue of convenience, but it will allow you to get there quickly in case of emergency.
- Ensure that the veterinarian you select has office hours that coincide with your typical day-to-day schedule.
If you are interested in finding a veterinarian near you, visit our Veterinarian Locator.
A few basic supplies can make a big difference when it comes to helping your new kitten adjust to your home:
- Small food and water bowls – glass or ceramic are recommended
- Sleeping area – your kitten will choose its own place to sleep, but it’s important to provide your kitten with bedding in a designated area where your kitten will feel safe
- Litterbox/cat litter
- Collar with an identification tag
- Kitten toys
- A cat tree and scratching post – this provides appropriate places for your kitten to scratch and climb
If you are interested in finding a pet specialty retail store new you, visit our Retailer Locator.
Introducing your kitten to a new environment can be stressful not only to your kitten, but to children and other pets in the household as well. Doing it properly is a very important stage in the successful acclimation of your kitten to her new home.
Isolate your kitten and allow gradual familiarization with your home. Follow these tips if you have other pets in your household:
- Introduce your kitten to other pets gradually and in a neutral environment. Initially you can try using a pet carrier, or allow them to acknowledge each other through the crack under a closed door.
- Do not allow any aggression from other pets.
- Remember that total acceptance may take several months, and not to get discouraged if there are a few bumps along the way.
Though adult cats typically have no problem getting away from children if need be, kittens are more vulnerable. Children in your home should be taught to handle your new kitten with care. Make sure they understand your new kitten needs lots of sleep and not to wake her just to cuddle or play. It’s best not to allow very young children to play with your kitten when you are not present. Your supervision will ensure the safety of your children and your kitten.
The essentials of your kitten’s education take place during the period from birth to the age of six months. In fact, most behaviors are acquired by the age of three months.
Kittens typically learn in two different ways – by imitating their mothers’ actions and by experimenting on their own. When caring for your kitten, remember you can facilitate your kitten’s learning process by keeping in mind several things:
- Keep your kitten’s food separate and far away from the litter box, and make sure both are easily accessible.
- Show your kitten the litter box, and place your kitten in it after meals and after waking up. You will most likely only need to repeat this exercise a few times, but it’s likely that your kitten will learn how to use her litter box very quickly.
- Being close to you is important to your kitten, so keep the bed in an area of your home where you spend a lot of time.
Download our Kitten Guide to learn about the essentials for giving your kitten a good start in life, including information on care, nutrition, training and overall health.