How to Make your Home Kitten Friendly
Just like having a new baby or young child in the house, taking care of a new kitten in a previously cat free home necessitates making some changes to ensure your kitten’s safety. It’s a good idea to begin with a comprehensive tidy of your house, focusing on areas that people can’t get to (but kittens easily can), such as underneath a desk or behind a sofa where things could have fallen. Check there are no loose wires lying on the floor, and cover holes that your kitten could make their way in to. Like toddlers, kittens explore the world by putting things into their mouths. Make sure there is nothing lying around which your kitten could choke on - nor wool or string for it to swallow.
If you are fond of plants then make sure none of your houseplants are poisonous to cats, and only allow your kitten into your garden gradually under close supervision once its full vaccination course is complete and your vet says it is safe to do so. Make sure your garden is fenced off properly so your kitten cannot escape. Only cat safe plants should be grown, as they may be chewed on.
Kittenhood is the best time to interact frequently with your cat to help build a close bond and positive relationship. Use toys such as play mice to keep your cat’s attention. Dangling toys are a popular choice. Play is like pretend hunting, so actively encourage your pet to try new toys. Kittenhood is also the time to introduce your cat to lots of different experiences and people to prepare it for adult life. The first 3 months of its life are a vital time for socialisation so make sure she gets to meet lots of different people and experiences car journeys and various noises such as washing machines, TV and computer noises during this formative period.
If you own a house cat it’s a great idea to buy a scratching post. This will both help with claw maintenance and teach your cat to scratch in one spot avoiding shredding precious furniture and curtains! Reward your kitten with praise and food treats when it uses a scratching post to reinforce good behaviour, but if it begins to scratch furniture give a firm “no” to indicate wrongdoing.
New Kitten Behaviour
Bringing a new kitten home is a big change for the animal, and it’s best to gradually let it get used to the new surroundings. Initially, place your new kitten in one room with food, water, bedding and a litter tray. Once cleared by your vet, gradually introduce your kitten to the rest of the house and allow it to explore room by room at its own pace.
It’s very important to introduce good daily habits from a young age, as this is the time kittens are easiest to train. Gradually introduce your cat to regular grooming, toothbrushing and nail clipping so it becomes comfortable and accustomed to them.
Feed your kitten in an area away from the litter tray, and your own eating space. Make sure fresh water is available at all times.
Never hit, shake or yell at your kitten. Instead, if your cat is being disruptive, use a water spray or make a sharp noise such as clapping your hands. Reinforce good behaviour with praise and food treats.
With the right start in life, your new kitten will grow up to be a contented and settled adult cat and a central part of your family.