Just Bought A New Kitten? How To Settle The Kitten Into The Home. Kitten Litter Trays, Food, Water And Toys

Give Your Kitten Time To Settle!

Just arrived home with a new kitten? Then your kitten has possibly just had its very first experience of a completely alien world. It is still a baby, in human terms, and has just left its mum and probably its brothers and sisters. Not surprisingly it may be unsure, unsettled and a little worried about what is going on.

Now it needs help, from you, to settle safely and comfortably into its new home.

Place your kitten in a quiet room, preferably the one that you and your pet will use most and that you find most comfortable and convenient. It should not be too hot or too cold. Your kitten could stay in this room for up to a week so choose the 'Settling Room' carefully. It should be a quiet haven for your kitten and completely free from the usual hustle and bustle of everyday life. If this is impractical advise all family members to be calm and quiet upon entering the room and exclude other pets initially.

It can take up to two weeks for a kitten to settle and it is not unusual for a kitten to pine in the first few days.

Use this time to allow the kitten to become accustomed to their new limited environment, to cuddle, play and begin to build a bond with you.

What should be in the settling room?

Be sure to have water, food, a litter tray and an allocated bed space ready before opening the carrying box. Show them to the kitten straight away. Consider where to place these items first…if a kitten gets used to using a litter tray in one area, with time, it will associate that space with a litter tray whether it is there or not!

Litter Tray
Keep the litter tray within eye shot of the kittens allocated bed space (not right next to it). Do not put food or water bowls near the litter tray either because the kitten may refuse to eat food it considers contaminated (even by smell). Keep the litter tray scrupulously clean as cats are fussy creatures and will not use a dirty litter tray. Make sure that the litter tray is big enough for the kitten to stand up and turn around - but not so large that the kitten cannot get in and out easily! Your litter tray should grow in size as your kitten does. If you intend to use a covered tray you may consider taping the door fully open for the first few weeks. Use a good quality lightweight cat litter and change the tray daily. Please do not use garden soil because it may harbour unwanted bacteria, viruses & diseases. In the first weeks, it may help to train if you use the same litter the kitten has become accustomed to and encourage the kitten to use the tray, by placing it on there, after every meal, upon waking or whenever it looks like it needs to go! Use hot water and detergents to clean the tray and avoid any substances hazardous to cats. Kittens may not use a tray that smells too strongly of detergents so rinse it thoroughly.

Food and Water
Young kittens (8-12 weeks) need to be fed five times daily. Lessen the feeding times as the kitten grows but give larger portions. At 3-6 months the kitten will require three meals. Use only good quality complete kitten foods, whether in tinned or dry formats. Tinned food can go off quickly so ensure that each portion is fresh. If feeding a good quality complete dried kitten food they can have unlimited access. Do not give your kitten milk because it can cause stomach upsets. Fresh drinking water should be available at all times. Clean and change water and food bowls daily. It is important to establish what foods your kitten has been used to and feed the same foods! Sudden changes of diet can cause stomach upsets, diarrhea or even organ failure. Any changes of diet must be slow. The kitten would need to be weaned onto a new diet over many days by slowly adding the new food into the kittens existing diet.

Time spent playing with your kittens is fun; rewarding and bond building….and kittens love to play!

Several short sessions, in one day, are better than one long one. Play for a small amount of time and often. Vary the toys you use every few days. Try to avoid any games that could teach your kitten to attack, bite or scratch human hands. After all, a kitten bite may not be too painful but an adult cat bite could cause serious injury. Use toys to play with your kitten - not your fingers! It is you who can teach your kitten what is acceptable behavior through play.

Toys do not have to be expensive. A nice clean cardboard box makes a lovely play area for a kitten; feathers are fun, as are cotton reels and paper bags. A scratching post is a great idea and the kitten will soon get used to using one (It does not necessarily have to be part of a large activity center). Catnip toys are good as they are scented with the herb Nepeta Cataria which many cats are attracted to. Just avoid toys with small parts that may be ingested or items that the kitten could get tangled or caught in. Put away any toys that the kitten could get tangled in at the end of every play session.

When Should Your Kitten Be Allowed Into Other Areas Of The House?
Once the kitten is completely settled you could open the door of the settling room allow them to investigate other areas of the house. Again, don't rush this. In the first instance it may be wise just to let the kitten explore the nearest rooms only - and introduce them to the whole house over time. Accompany the kitten at all times and choose quiet times when there are no noises or anything that may frighten them.
Author: KittenList

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