Introducing a New Kitten To Your Family
You got a new kitten?! That is wonderful!
Hopefully, you have done all the research needed before adopting and all you are waiting on now is to take the cute little kitten home and introducing it to the family. Let’s talk about how to introduce a new kitten to a home.
That hard part is over right?! Eh… not really! You are in a slight limbo where you have picked out your new family member and are just waiting to take them home. So what’s next you may be asking?! What could you have possibly forgotten?!
Well, silly goose! You need to make sure you are prepared for when your new love comes home!
What you do want to happen is for you be sitting here twiddling your thumbs and then the kitten comes home, and you are in a complete panic!
You can take some steps ahead of time, so you can focus on bonding with your kitten coming home instead of feeling dazed.
Thankfully, I am here to help! Below are my seven helpful tips for you to do before introducing your new kitten to their home:
1. Make a Cat Shopping list
Next, as I have mentioned before, you want to make sure you have everything you need for when your kitty arrives. The last thing you want is to bring the little guy (or girl) home, and then have to rush to the store to get litter, a litter box, and cat food.
Not only will that provide a lot of unnecessary stress on you, but animals are also known to sense the emotions of their humans. If you are stressed out and frazzled, the new kitten will be stressed out and frazzled. If you have everything on your list, then you can create a calm and relaxed environment for your pet on your first night.
I don’t want to overwhelm you with items you need right here but I have two things for you! First, you can download my New Kitten Checklist and get a printable checklist of everything you need for a kitten. If you want more detail as to what items I recommend and why for a new kitten, I have an entire post for the supplies you ACTUALLY need for a new kitten.
Introducing a New Kitten to Their New Cat Products
And chances are, even if you get everything on your list, you will learn something that your cat likes more than others.
You can get two different treats for your kitten only to find out they only eat one of the two. Wouldn’t you rather be in a situation where you just need to run out and grab one or two things rather than EVERYTHING and learn what your cat likes and dislikes?
When it comes to treats, I love the temptations! You can get different flavors to see what your kitten likes and maybe isn’t so keen on.
I remember when I first got Wobbles, we loaded up with catnip toys. Why? Because phoebe LOVES them. Guess what?! She does not like those toys…She loves the chaser toys instead.
At the very basics after the litter and litter box, you want to remember food bowl, water bowl, and food. And what so many people seem to forget is, a water bowl and a food bowl. You can have all the cat food in the world, but unless you have a place to put, you still won’t bringing a new kitten home fully prepared.
Lucky for you, when it comes to food bowls, my favorite cat bowls are these. They’re cute AND functional!
You really want to make sure you have the essentials for a new cat not only to make your life easier, but set you both us for success. Uh, and more time to snuggle and bond with them! RIGHT?!
2. Find a vet BEFORE you get your cat!
This one is often something that is overlooked by new pet owners.
Well because under most circumstances, the new kitten has already been checked out by the vet at the shelter you are adopting from. What usually happens is the owners wait until around the time of check-ups, panics and looks for a vet. Or worse, they wait until their cat is sick and find any open vet that will take them.
Take it from me, you do not want to do that! Finding the right vet is crucial to making sure you cat is taken care of and ready to go.
Wouldn’t you want to start out with one of those amazing vets rather than frantically searching after a negative experience?! I know I would, but that’s just me.
3. Pet-proof your place
Unlike the vet, this is something you all ABSOLUTELY should do before your pet comes. That is pet-proofing your place.
Similar to baby-proofing, you need to prepare your house before your kitten gets there.
You want to make sure there are no holes for the kitten to get stuck in or lose wires they could hurt themselves on. In addition, you want to make sure there are no holes or cracks that your animal could escape outside without you knowing!
Pet proofing your place helps not only keep your animal safe but help put your mind at ease when your new kitten comes. Eventually, you will have to leave your cat at home and if you have your place, or at least a few rooms in your home, kitty-proofed then you will feel more comfortable throughout the day!
You can read the complete guide to pet proofing your home in this most recent blog post!
4. Finding Your Safe Place For Your New Kitten
Similar to pet-proofing your house, you also want to create a single space for your new kitten to feel safe. Many new kittens will hide under the bed. They are not hiding because you did something wrong.
A small kitten in a big new home is pretty scary! Especially considered they also have to adjust to new strangers and possibly new strange animals. When we got Wobbles, that little kitten hid under our dresser, under the bed, she even got INTO the bed at one point.
Giving her some space to get used to the sounds and her surroundings.
You want to help them feel as comfortable in possible so creating a room that is theirs alone.
This will make their new environment small and less intimidated, to begin with. They can get used to you, and possibly the other animals before needing to venture into the “great big world of their new home”. You can use a spare bedroom, a bathroom, any space that is still comfortable for them where they will be safely excluded to adjust to their new home.
If your new kitten is still hiding under the bed, one thing that you can do is just sit there with them. Let them know that you are there but you won’t force them to do anything they don’t want. Forcing will only cause fear.
We used to sit and lay with Wobbles under the bed for HOURS (probably not but it felt like it). and she would crawl over to us and let us pet her. And then she would venture out from under the bed, and then she would venture out to the hallway and now…she is currently knocked out at the fireplace beside me.
How to Introduce a New Kitten to the Safe Room
When it comes to introducing a kitten to a safe room, you want to make sure your cat has everything they need without having to leave that room.
As they get more comfortable, you can start opening the door and working to move them into a bigger part of the house until they are comfortable to venture wherever, whenever. I know a lot of people will put a baby gate in between the door to the room so the kittens and cats can start to smell each other and get acclimated before ventures to the rest of the house. If you don’t have a baby gate, I wouldn’t stress about getting one unless it is part of your pet proofing plan as well.
Oh my goodness! I cannot stress this one enough! Get some sleep! Catch though zzzs.
Why you may ask?
It’s just a kitten?!? Kittens are easy. Well yes, cats are easy, eventually.
They take time to get settled.
However, the first few nights will most likely be that of little sleep. You cat will either wander around at night, come to you, or possible meow.
If you have an experience like my most recent kitten, there will definitely be sleepless nights.
For the first week after she was adopted, we spend countless nights getting only a few hours of sleep. Why? Well the first night, she kept me up most of the night meowing.
My New Kitten Sleep Story
She was previously a foster kitten so I like to believe she was looking for all her friends the first night.
She was meowing and walking around a lot of the night. The only time she would stop meowing was when I would come out and sit with her.
And while that was an excellent time for her and I to bond…geesh, was I tired. And when she would stop meowing, she then used night time to explore and play with toys she had not seen before. Mostly toys that had bells in them might I add.
She also did not understand that I was trying to sleep so she would jump on the bed, attack my feet, smell my face, and try and wake the other sleeping cat as much as possible.
After a few months she has calmed down and understood the difference between daytime and nighttime, but one thing I wish I would have taken into consideration before adding another cat was to cherish my sleep.
Additionally, it would have been helpful to mentally prepare myself that I was not going to be getting a full nights sleep for a little while.
Introducing a New Kitten to Sleep
Now, this is not to say that all cats will keep you up all night. Each cat is different and will have different behavior upon adoption.
If you are one of the lucky ones who’s cat cuddles up with you and sleeps the whole night…well then lucky you and curses!
(Kidding of course!!!!!)
I was completely spoiled by my first cat. She slept in bed with me between my legs since that day I brought her home.
Hence why I was not as prepared to lose sleep over a cat. My biggest recommendation is prepared for a wild cat, and be pleasantly surprised when the cat is easier than expected.
Actually, that is a pretty good way to approach all aspects of a new kitten…hold onto that idea! It will help you through each and every stage.
6. Research Introducing your Other Pets
This is one is big and unfortunately too big to put in just one post.
But I will still touch on the topic. If you are bringing your kitten into a home with other animals, you need to prepare a way to introduce your new kitten with your current pets.
Some pets are very welcoming of new-comers while others require some time.
There are times where your current pet could feel territorial and jealous of the new kitty stealing focus.
Introducing a New Kitten to Other Pets
Before you bring your new kitten home, you want to begin the research process of how to introduce your new family members. There are many different techniques for how to go about the introduction process and each one is unique to your experience.
Sometimes all it takes is a day or time to get used to each other, other times it requires weeks of supervised visits to wear down the excitement of new pets.
It is important to research, try and keep an open mind to all ideas. This process will vary depending on if you have an older cat, a senior cat, or another kitten. It will also change depending on each of the cat’s personalities. Sometimes a cat’s personality will make them take longer to warm up to a new kitten.
With Wobbles, when we adopted our most recent kitten, it took her significantly longer to warm up to them then Phoebe did.
Different personalities means different introduction timings.
The calmer you stay throughout the process, the easier it will be for them to be acclimated to the new living situation. Animals feed off your energy and the more relaxed of an environment you create, the better.
Last but certainly not least is to be patient throughout the whole process. When you begin to feel frustrated, remember that great things take time.
In most cases, the location you are adopting your pet from takes some time to get things in order. You should be thankful that the process is not rushed. If not, who knows what horrible potential owners could have taken your pet.
I know you are excited about taking your new buddy home, but being patient through the process will help for a calmer, more prepared first night with your new love. In addition, by practicing patience now, it will make it much easier to be patient when your pet is getting situated to the new environment.
Like I mentioned earlier, their first night could be easy or very difficult. Having practiced the art of patience early on will allow you to be more patience in the trying times.
When your cat is meowing at 3 am or trying to jump on the curtains, remember how excited you were to get your kitten. Remember how patient you had to be right now and hope that helps calm your anger during the trying first few weeks.
Hopefully, now you have all the tips you need to help you prepare for bringing your new family member home.
And it is important to remember that while not all of these may be applicable, you would rather be over prepared rather than under-prepared.
I truly think if you are reading this, you are helping set up your home for a new loved one!
So sit back, relax…and wait no don’t sit back and relax! Get to work on your preparations! And enjoy the process of bringing a new kitten into your home. Be patience with your resident cat and the new kitten. Adult cats sometimes take longer to warm up to new animals than others.
As long as they aren’t hurting anyone, time will be your best bet.
It may seem overwhelming at times, but if you are well researched, it can be a very fun process! Enjoy this fun journey with your new kitty!
Still don’t feel ready? Get my Complete Guide to a New Kitten where we walk you through the adoption process, bringing a kitten home, and everything up to your first 30 days with your kitten!
Pet Parents! Find these tips helpful in bringing home a new kitten?! Think of something better?! Tell me about it below!!!!