Before the Day
So, there is always one rule here Plan and Prepare. Don’t rush this stage as you are introducing a living creature into your household and life and it will be a major change for both of you. Taking your time with the initial stages will make things much less stressful for the kitten and you.
Firstly, do equip yourselves with the basics before your bundle of joy arrives: –
- Food and water bowls
- Litter tray and litter
- Pooper scooper
- Scratch post
Unless you live around the corner you will have a car drive ahead of you. Our kittens have been in cars to the vets but these are not long journeys. So be prepared for a bit of yowling in the back. Do not drive with a kitten free in the car. They will get everywhere (shoulders, under pedals etc) and pose a danger to you. For shorter journeys (approximately 2hours) obtain a sturdy travel crate for the cat to ride in. Have a small container of water to hand. For longer journeys use a dog crate with water and a lit tray with an enclosed hidey hole such as a pet igloo. For journeys of 6hours or more stop for a while and offer the kitten some food. Do take some spare lit, disposable bags and a bag for poo. We will happily give you some food that they are used to. Having your cat in an enclosed carrier is also helpful in case they are sick, pee or poo, which some kittens will do if they are nervous.
A kitten’s sense of smell is like most of our senses rolled into one. It is a key sense to them so we can use this to make the move process much easier and more comfortable. Your crate should have been in your home for a few days and so will already smell of the environment they are going to move in to. We will also give you a toy or two that will smell of where your kitten has left. We will happily take a towel or a blanket from you for your kitten to acclimatise to however just because it is there does not mean that yours or any kitten will use it. They can be stubbornly determined as to where they will lie and sit.
To limit the number of changes your kitten will go through we will tell you before you come and collect them what their favourite food is, which litter they are used to and any types of toys they like.
Feliway is a pheromone product that was designed to support anxiety production in kittens and cats. It comes in a spray for travel and a plug-in version for the home
Do prepare your environment a few days before the kitten arrives. You can ensure that everything is in the right place.
Home Sweet Home
Kittens will be anxious. They need to get used to the area that they are coming into before they can relax. When you first get home place the crate in site of a lit tray and food. Dim the lights a little if possible and go about your usual activities for about 30 to 60minutes. Then open the crate and let them explore. This is also a good way of introducing them to other cats or kittens.
Some people believe that an entire apartment or house can be overwhelming all at once causing kittens to hide under beds or furniture, sometimes for days. We believe that the kitten has become a little used to their cage which they feel is reasonably safe. Therefore, letting them treat this as a safe place to smell new friends and start to get used to the smells and sounds of a new house is more beneficial than enclosing them in a small room away from the norm. In the end at some point you will have to stress them again
Introduce other family members slowly as they are in the cage. Have them come into the room one at a time to to talk to the kitten as walking past and engaging in normal household activities. Once the kitten has been out for a while and explored do slowly introduce family members to pet and play with the kitten. Have younger children sit down, and then show them how to gently stroke the cat’s fur and offer her a few treats. Make certain that children understand that they are not to chase the cat or bother her while she eats, sleeps, or uses the litter box. All the family need to understand that cats do not understand discipline only pain. Do not tap them on their nose like their mums used to do. Kittens very quickly pick up from your tone of voice what you mean.
When bringing your new kitten into a home with other cats, keep in mind that there are diseases and parasites that cats can transmit to each other, and some of these are fatal. Your kitten will be vaccinated and treated for worms and fleas before you pick them up. As vaccines are different from different suppliers please make sure that none of your pets are vaccinated in the four weeks before your new kitten is introduced. Also, it may help to treat existing pets for worms and fleas.
Do not get disturbed by some hissing and swiping at each other with claws not out. This will calm down soon enough. If problems do occur you can separate at this point and gradually introduce them again. However, after introducing all 29 of my kittens I have yet to see this happen. The trick is the hour or acclimatisation in the crate.
The Family Dog
Introducing a new kitten into a house with a dog can be a little different. As we do not have a dog we would suggest that you look on the internet for some case histories as we do not feel qualified to advise on this aspect.