Kitten season is here which means that there will be many new kittens moving into their forever homes. To help pet parents care for these precious little lives, we’ve put together a few tips on how to help kittens settle in so that you can build a lifelong and successful relationship with your new furry friend.
Slow introductions are the safest way for your kitten to be introduced into your world. With this in mind, we recommend setting up a sanctuary room where your kitten can gradually adjust to their new surroundings – and it’ll be their safe place if they feel frightened.
The sanctuary room should have all your kitten’s essentials – their bed, food and water bowls, litterbox, and a few age-appropriate toys.
This room will be used to help build trust between you and your new kittens so make sure you choose a big enough space that doesn’t have any potential hazards like a fireplace, easily accessible electrical sockets or cords, poisonous plants, breakable items, or small items that your kitten can chew on – kittens are very curious!
Nutrition for young and growing kittens is essential to their overall health and well-being. Kittens expend loads of energy and require the nutrients and calories in foods that are specifically formulated for these youngsters.
Kittens are all about play, play, and more play so they need appropriate outlets for their boundless energy. Play is important for kittens as it increases their physical coordination, social skills, and learning opportunities.
Playtime includes interactive play activities between you and kitten and independent playtime. Devote 10 to 15 minutes to play sessions with your kitten 2 to 3 times daily to help them release energy, practice appropriate play behaviour and strengthen your human-animal bond.
Although it may seem cute to allow your kitten to play with your clothing, jewellery, or your feet, keep in mind that allowing this behaviour is showing your kitten that you are a toy, which will not be as cute when they’re adult cats with bigger paws and claws. Instead, show them how to play politely by using a wand-feather toy – this will show you kitten that you are not a toy.
For independent play, kittens enjoy tunnels, puzzle feeders, and soft toys that they can use for chase, pounce, bite, and kick.
When kittens need to go, they go. They don’t have time to search for their litterbox so it’s best to place their litterbox close by and where it is easily accessible for them. We recommend purchasing a large litterbox with a low-sided entry point. To help encourage your kitten to continually use the litterbox, it should be cleaned at least once a day.
Scratching is a normal, natural, and important behaviour for kittens. Kittens scratch for a variety of reasons, such as sharpening their claws, getting rid of frustration, exercising their front limbs, and responding to their natural instinct. Place the scratching post in a spot that your kitten visits regularly, or where you spend most of your time at home. If your kitten starts to eye your furniture, redirect them to their scratching post.
It is important to expose your kitten to various people and pets at a young age to ensure a positive reaction and habituation to these things as they grow up. Pay attention to your kitten’s reaction to strangers and other pets, if your kitten remains playful and inquisitive, encourage, and reinforce the kitten for their actions and repeat the exposure regularly with a variety of other similar situations.
If your kitten is fearful, withdrawn, or shy, a gradual introduction using treats and playing each time may improve the relationship and interaction.
A lack of ongoing consistent social interactions with kids or other animals may make it difficult to introduce your cat to these things later in life.
To help your kitten get comfortable with handling, let them smell your finger first then gently caress their cheek and under their chin, and gently stroke their tummy, tail, back, paws, and legs. Gradually engage in this handling technique while providing your kitten with a reward, such as their favourite treat, to encourage their calm participation.
When holding your kitten, use both of your hands so that you provide them with a sense of security.
Taking care of kittens and guiding them while they grow into adults is a rewarding experience. Although it may be challenging at times, remember that your kittens look to you for guidance, support, love, and care.
Cherish every moment you spend bonding with your kitten – weather that is during playtime, when you feed them, when they snuggle with you on the couch, and even when they watch you as you clean their litterbox.
The bond you’re about to build with your new kitten will be extremely precious and truly like no othe
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