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Properly Welcoming Your New Kitten

You fell in love at first sight. This new tiny, fluffy, purring, snuggly little ball of cuteness is all yours (or more accurately, you are now hers). Perhaps you found your new fur baby through a shelter, rescue, Craigslist, or a reputable purebred breeder. Now it’s time to welcome that tiny little feline home.

Many people are unaware of just how important slow, proper introduction into a new household is for both a new kitten and her new family. A new home is incredibly stressful to a kitten… she has just been separated from her mother, her siblings, and the only people, sounds, and smells she’s ever known. This can lead to several issues that can become rather challenging to a new owner. Here are some helpful tips to help your new kitten make the transition into your home:

Be Prepared

As with any new pet, you will need to be fully prepared with all the necessities to care for a kitten. Food, bowls, cat bed, litter box, litter, scratch post, toys…the list can be quite extensive. Even if you start with just the basics, be sure to have everything on hand and ready to go.

Wellness Check

The first and foremost thing you should do when bringing home a new kitten is schedule a wellness visit with your veterinarian. Many vets offer a free first visit for a new pet, so this checkup will help give you peace of mind that your kitten is healthy. Discuss vaccine schedules, spaying or neutering, diet, pet insurance, and any concerns you may have. It’s important to establish a good relationship with a veterinarian, as your kitten will need many visits throughout her life.

Bengal kitten at the vet
© Photodeti | Dreamstime.comVeterinarian hand examining a bengal kitten.

Prepare A Safe Room

I cannot stress enough just how important this is. Select a room in your home (bathroom, spare bedroom, the kitchen, wherever you choose) and set up the litter box, a soft bed, food and water bowls, toys, etc. Your kitten will be spending quite a bit of time in her Safe Room. For the first couple of weeks time, this should be where your kitten will sleep, eat, and is left when you leave the house. You can of course play with and spend time with her in her Safe Room. This is a great way for the two of you to bond. If you have no other pets, you can slowly start bringing her into other rooms of the house while under your supervision.

SEE ALSO: Welcoming Your New Bengal Kitten Home

Introduction To Other Pets

If your new kitten will be joining other furry family members, slow, proper introduction is CRUCIAL. Other pets may not be too happy about the new addition. One recommended method of introduction is a scent swap. Take a blanket your new kitten has snuggled with and let your other pets smell it. Give the new kitten a blanket your other pets use so she can smell it. Be aware that a scent swap may result in some unhappy reactions from each party. Let everyone get to know each other through the crack under the door of the kitten’s Safe Room. When its time for everyone to meet face to face, be prepared for some hissing, spitting and growling. As everyone gets used to each other, these behaviors will come to an end.

Bengal kitten and chihuahua
© Cynoclub | Dreamstime.comBengal cat and chihuahua

Feeding

Initially, its ideal to keep feeding your new kitten the same brand of kitten food it is accustom to. Be sure to discuss the brand of food your kitten has been fed with whomever you got her through. This will help keep diarrhea issues at bay, and will encourage your kitten to eat. If you plan on changing to a different diet, please do so slowly. Mix small amounts into her current food, gradually increasing the new food.

Litter Box Training

Most kittens will have had some litter box exposure. However, because they are so tiny, accidents may (and probably will) happen. Your home will feel huge to your new kitten, and she may get lost looking for her litter box, so you will want to keep an eye on her when she is outside her Safe Room. Be sure to also use the same litter she is already used to, as a sudden change in litter could lead to inappropriate toilet issues. As with new food, if you plan on changing litters do so slowly over time. Add a little new litter to your kitten’s litter box each time you scoop until you can make the switch entirely.

Bengal Kitten Lil Miss Suri
© Shayla Tucker | Lil Miss Suri – Bengal kitten

Bringing home a new kitten can be such a joy. It can also be very stressful for everyone. With careful planning and integration, your new fur baby will make for a wonderful life long friend and family member! Enjoy that new kitten… they grow up SO fast!

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