Have you just adopted a kitten? Congratulations! Your life is about to get a lot more fun. The very first day spent with your new little companion is an exciting time. It’s okay to stress a bit, but don’t worry: you will get there! These tips will help you welcome and care for your kitten so you can get the best possible start together.
Prepare the corner dedicated to your kitten
The secret to a smooth first day is to be well prepared in advance. First, set up a welcome room that will serve as a landmark for your kitten for the first few days. Bathrooms and laundry rooms are great for kittens because they are often quite small and their floors are easy to clean.
Here is a brief list explaining how to set up the space dedicated to your kitten:
• Remove or tape the electric cables
• Place houseplants out of reach (remembering that kittens can climb)
• Remove or store breakable objects
• Make sure windows and doors close and lock completely
• Butcher discovers them pants and openings
• Install the litter in one corner and the food and water bowls in another part of the room
Then fill out the kitten accessories room. A soft pillow and a scraper will be welcome. Choose two or three interactive toys to teach him to play. And add some toys with it so he can play on his own, like plush balls, crumpled paper, and a cat mouse so he can have fun when you’re not in the room.
Welcoming a kitten home
The very first step in those first 24 hours together is to bring your kitten home! Before you go to pick him up, prepare a comfortable transport case for him. If your kitten comes from a shelter, we may be able to lend or rent one, the best is to find out beforehand. Investing in a transport crate is a good idea anyway, as you will surely need it on other occasions. You can bring a soft blanket and some treats to put in the crate for the optimal comfort of your kitten.
In the car, place the transport box in a safe place, either on the floor behind the passenger seat or on the back seat, secured with a seat belt. Just make sure it is securely in place, and do not open it during the drive.
Once at home, put the transport crate in the kitten’s room. Open the door and give your kitten plenty of time to go out on its own. It’s okay if he’s nervous: after all, everything is new to him, and he’s just had a pretty stressful drive! Sit patiently nearby, speak soothingly, and don’t rush things. You have a whole life to live together
Your kitten’s first hours at home
Your kitten may be hiding when you open its shipping crate. This is completely normal behavior. Give him time to explore the area at his own pace. Maybe he’ll walk around the room immediately, or maybe it will take a few hours for him to venture outside the crate.
Plan to keep your kitten in their specially appointed room for at least the first 24 hours, and for up to two weeks. This is a great way for him to gradually get used to the smells and sounds of his new home. This is especially important if you already have other pets in your home. Wait at least 24 hours before introducing your kitten to other animals. At the end of this period, you can let your animals sniff their respective litter boxes to familiarize them with each other’s smells, and gradually make the introductions.
First visit to the litter
The good news is that kittens tend to be potty trained very quickly. But you’re going to have to show her where to go the first few times. Start right away: as soon as your kitten comes out of its transport crate, gently place it on its litter box. If he defecates right away, great! You can congratulate him and give him a treat. If not, consider redirecting him to his litter box every half hour or so.
Once your kitten is clean, don’t clean the litter box right away. Conversely, let her first “offerings” (stool and pee) serve as a benchmark. Your kitten has a strong sense of smell and a natural instinct for good hygiene – he just needs to learn where to go. After this first day, you can clean the litter box once or twice a day.
If your kitten is defecating outside of the litter box, don’t scold him: he won’t understand why, and it may associate the moment he needs with a negative experience. Instead, just redirect him to his litter box. Cats like to be clean, so there’s a good chance your kitten will pick up on it quickly.
Playing time and managing the rest of the day
It is of course tempting to want to cuddle your new kitten all day! However, it’s best to let him get to know you gradually. After all, you are a gigantic new creature in his life, and he is barely discovering his new home.
At first, just spend time near him. When his body language shows he’s comfortable and curious, you can give him a hug. Alternate caressing and playing time and give him time to explore on his own.
If you have young children, teach them to stay calm around the kitten and only pet or hug it when they are seated. Children over the age of four can hug a kitten while seated. Younger children will need to be taught to stroke them gently and across the grain. Again, let your kitten take the first step and watch for signs of stress.
The first night
I know it: you want your kitten to sleep with you. The truth is, kittens are energy balls and they don’t always fully understand the concept of a ‘night’s sleep’. If the place where your kitten sleeps in your bedroom, chances are you end up with a kitten cuddled up against you all night.
But don’t feel guilty about leaving him in his room to go to sleep in your bedroom. I promise you will be fine until the morning. Just leave it with a soft pillow and blanket, turn off the light and close the door. If you want, you can set your alarm to go and see how it is in the middle of the night.
In the morning, join your kitten in his room. It might have done some mess that you need to clean up. Give him a bowl of fresh water and food, clean the litter box, and hang out with him.
Congratulations! You spent your first day with your kitten. You are on the right track to continue to take care of it wonderfully and to enjoy this new life that begins with your new little companion.