Tips for Bringing Home a New Kitten
If you've considered bringing home a feline friend, you might have questions
on how to integrate a new pet into your life and introduce proper grooming
Here, Dr. Ari Zabell, director of client advocate support for Banfield
Pet Hospital in Portland, Ore., offers seven tips to keep your kitten
happy and well cared for in its new home.
1. Bring on the Brush -- "Proper hygiene
is an important part of a cat's overall health," Zabell
said. In some cases, a young kitten might need help learning
how to clean and take care of itself. "The best thing
a pet owner can do to help teach their kitten proper hygiene
is to introduce them to the brush and begin grooming at an
early age. Regular grooming also helps to prevent matting
in long-haired cats and reduces hairballs."
2. Don't Hide the Litterbox -- "The
best place for your kitten's litter box is one that's easily
accessible, where the kitten can feel comfortable," Zabell
said. Hiding the box out of sight could prevent the cat from
being able to find it when they need it. "Cats with
litter box challenges typically learn their bad behaviors
by living in a home that doesn't provide them with enough
access to a clean box. In homes with multiple cats, it's
suggested that each cat have access to their own."
3. Make Time for Play Time -- Kittens have
a seemingly boundless amount of energy, Zabell said. "Kittens
are also naturally active at dawn and dusk and may choose
to play throughout the night, keeping their owners awake." To
discourage a kitten from playing in the middle of the night,
Zabell suggests providing plenty of exercise to wear them
out before bedtime.
4. Provide a Place to Perch -- "A kitten
will look to perch on high surfaces as it explores its new
surroundings," Zabell said. "Provide a scratching
post, cat tree or window perch to help discourage them from
choosing a less favorable perch, such as the furniture."
Man Uses a Kitten to Pop the Question
5. Tune in to Kitty's Body Language -- "A well-socialized
cat is one that gets along well in new situations and with different
types of people and pets," Zabell said. "When introducing a
kitten to new experiences, be aware of the kitten's body language. A
comfortable cat will have a relaxed body and may purr, with ears and
tail up. As a new experience is introduced, reward positive behavior
with a favorite treat, toy or petting."
6. Oversee Pet Interactions -- "Pets
should be introduced slowly and carefully, allowing both
pets to meet each other under the pet owner's supervision," Zabell
said. Using leashes and the assistance of others can help
ensure the pet owner's control of the situation. "While
they are figuring out their relationship, each pet should
also have their private time apart from the other. Consult
your veterinarian if you have additional concerns about introducing
a new pet into the home."
7. Introduce a Carrier Early On -- "It
is essential to introduce a kitten to its carrier at a young
age so that it becomes acclimated and comfortable with being
in the carrier," Zabell said. "Confining a cat
in a carrier provides safety in transportation, including
important trips to the veterinarian for regular check-ups.".