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When bringing a new kitten home it may take them a little bit of time to settle in.
While this can be overwhelming for your new pet (and its owners) it’s important that your new kitten feels safe, supported, and looked after in their new space.
Have you considered which necessary supplies you’ll need for your home? Or whether you have enough space to let your kitten explore? Maybe a scratching post for when they’re bored?
No matter how prepared you are we’ve got a list of things to help your new kitten settle in.
Your cat wants a bed that’s comfortable, safe, and warm. There are many different cat beds to choose from ranging from an igloo-style cat bed to a cat basket.
The size of your cat’s bed will depend on whether your cat likes to stretch out or curl up into a ball.
If your cat likes to stretch out you’ll want to look for a bed that’s as long as its body (minus the tail) and is 46-50 cm in length. And if they prefer to curl up then a bolster or cave bed that’s at least 38 cm is a great option!
If you have a larger breed there are also larger enclosed beds that offer the security that some cats may need with the ability to stretch out when needed.
While you may choose where your cat will sleep at first, they may develop a sense of independence and decide to sleep elsewhere.
Cat carrier and crates
You’ll need a carrier not only for your kitten’s first trip home but also for other trips to places like the vet. There are two main options: Cat carriers and cat crates.
Cat carriers are a lighter option for pet transport and are ideal for smaller cats. They are also made from lighter fabrics, are much smaller and easier to move around from day today.
Cat crates on the other hand are larger, tougher crates that can be used instead and are much easier to clean if your cat has an accident whilst travelling. A cat crate is also a much safer option for when your pet is travelling and often is approved for airline use.
Food bowls & water fountains
For a kitten you’ll want to choose a bowl (ideally ceramic) that’s both shallow and wide to support maximum amounts of comfort and limit any irritation.
Some cats can be very sensitive to the feeling of the dish around their whiskers or plastic rubbing against their chin!
Cats should also have separate water and food bowls, mainly to avoid food and water getting mixed. And if you have a larger breed of cat, then you may want to choose an elevated bowl to support their comfort and size.
To keep your feline friend hydrated, water fountains are a great way for cats to receive an indoor source of fresh circulating water. It will also encourage your cat to drink more water too!
Water fountains also create calm moving water within the cat bowl. Typically cats will prefer moving over still water and this is often the reason why your kitten may want to put their paws in a still bowl of water, under taps, or in the toilet.
Cat enrichment toys
Toys are not only used to keep cats settled but are also greats ways to stimulate your cat mentally and physically. Enrichment toys aim to satisfy your cat’s instincts and encourage physical, psychological, and emotional well-being.
Some great cat enrichment toys include:
- Laser toys
- Scratching posts
- Cat chaser toys
This is a great way to prevent kittens from scratching furniture. You can also take other preventative measures like putting sticky tape on sofas legs, using special cat scratch spray, or using vinyl guards to protect your furniture.
There are both indoor and outdoor scratching posts and trees to help your kitten adjust to their new home. Your cat may need a softer scratching post to help them relax or a more durable scratching post to sharpen their claws on.
This spray is specifically known to comfort and calm cats when they are feeling stressed or unsettled. FELIWAY Spray can be used while travelling, especially, in the car on your kitten’s first trip home. It can also be sprayed in areas of your home that have been marked with urine or scratching.
There is also a plug-in diffuser that’s designed to spread the calming pheromone throughout a room. This can also be quite useful for stressed cats in areas where they feel most secure.
It’s recommended that you keep your kitten’s litter tray in a corner of a room opposite the door. Make sure that you also have tray liners and a scoop so that you can regularly clean out the tray for your cat.
Generally, there should be one litter tray per one kitten or cat in each household.
Pet insurance can provide peace of mind financially by reimbursing a percentage of eligible vet expenses for illnesses and accidental injuries, such as heart disease or bite wounds.
Other useful accessories
- Leads and harnesses
- Grooming products (brush and shampoos)
- A breakaway collar with a name tag and bell
Taking your kitten to the vet
It’s important that alongside all the necessities like food, scratching posts, and litter trays, you also book your kitten’s first vet veterinary visit!
The first visit is important because it allows your vet to assess your kitten’s overall health.
Before you visit the vet you may want to contact them regarding what you’ll need to bring on your first visit. This may include:
- Information or paperwork provided by breeder or shelter (including microchipping paperwork)
- Information about your pet’s health (including their vaccination and parasite prevention status)
- Notes of any concern
- Cat carrier
Typically the veterinary staff will perform a physical evaluation, weigh your cat, and may need a blood test to check for certain diseases.
The first kitten vaccination is usually given between the ages of six and eight weeks. Vaccine boosters can then be administered every four weeks until your kitten is 16 weeks old. Your cat may also need a set of FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus) vaccinations if your cat goes outdoors.
Parasites like fleas, ticks, and worms can be more dangerous when kittens are young. This is why parasite prevention is so important!
Fleas can be treated with flea-prevention medication, liquid, or tablet all year round; paralysis tick prevention can come in a topical liquid formula, a spray or collar and intestinal worm prevention are available in tablet form or a back of the neck formulation.
You may also want to talk to your vet about your kitten’s diet. If a dietary change is required then this must be done gradually due to their gastrointestinal tract being more sensitive.
Helping your kitten settle in
When you first bring your kitten home you’ll want to keep the house quiet and show them where their room is. Don’t be surprised if they’re a bit timid at first and want to explore their new home by themselves.
A secure and comfortable room is ideal for your kitten’s first night in the home. Ensure that the room is quiet and equipped with a door or another way to protect your kitten from other pets or children.
After their first night, you’ll want to get your kitten used to have their paws, ears, mouth, nails, and tail touched during play. This should be something that you start doing with them early on. This will also ensure that vet visits and grooming will be easier over time.
While helping your kitten to settle into your home can be overwhelming it’s the positive relationship that’s formed between you and your kitten that will help to overcome any challenges you might face when they’re settling in.
Where should a kitten sleep on the first night?
A secure and comfortable room is ideal for your kitten to sleep in on their first night. Make sure that your kitten has access to their litter tray and water overnight.
How long does it take for a kitten to get used to a new home?
This settling-in period may take hours, while for other kittens it may take days or weeks. This process can take up to 4-6 weeks (for very timid cats especially).
Do kittens get lonely at night?
Some cats may cry at night because they’re lonely, bored, or anxious. Make sure to spend time with your kitten in the evenings to ensure that they feel loved and attended to.
Is it okay to let a kitten roam the house?
Kittens are natural explorers so letting them roam around the house (even at night) is necessary for their wellness and development. Be patient as it may take your kitten weeks or potentially months to adapt to their new surroundings.
 Whiskas, 2017, Bringing a kitten home