New kitten at home

There's a crucial adjustment period to manage for a new kitten. We've got some great advice on introducing your kitten to their new home...

Kittens are incredibly resilient but they still need a bit of an adjustment period as they move from living with mum and littermates to being your new BFF (best feline friend). Give them some time to get settled before you let all the neighbourhood kids visit or let them have the run of the house!

Their space

Set your kitten up in a single room where they can explore safely and get to know you for a week or so. It should be large enough that there’s plenty of separation between their litter box and their food and water dishes with room for a scratching post and an area where they can play with toys. A bedroom, office or large bathroom are all good possibilities. As they get more comfortable, you can gradually let them explore the rest of the house, always with the option of retreating to their safe room if things seem overwhelming.

Keep them entertained!

Kittens have two settings: play and sleep. Their need for play peaks when they are about 12 weeks old – right about when your kitten should come home with you. Make sure your kitten has lots of different kinds of toys to fulfill their love of activity - puzzle toys that will dispense treats or dry food, stuffed toys, balls or wind-up toys that they can chase.

Toys give kittens an outlet for the biting behaviour that is common at this age. Any time your kitten tries to use their teeth or claws on you, screech loudly, walk away, then give them a toy they can attack instead. Praise this good behaviour. They’ll get the picture.

Teach 'em early

This is also the time that your kitten should learn about new things that they’ll likely encounter throughout their life: dogs, children, visits to the vet, riding in the car, wearing a harness, walking on the leash, nail trims and grooming sessions or having their teeth brushed. Anything you want your kitten to accept should be introduced and practiced frequently well before they are four months old. Go slow, make it fun, and give them lots of praise, petting and food rewards when they’re encountering the new and potentially scary thing.

Keep it clean!

Last but not least, set up your kitten’s litter box so that it’s attractive to use. Offer a choice between several types of litter so they can select their favourite, give them a choice between an open and a covered litter box, and make sure the box is easy to get to and to get into - especially if your kitten is teeny. Keep the box super-clean both in terms of scooping it and washing it regularly.

Finally, don’t forget to take plenty of photos. Trust us – you’ll want those later!