Bringing your new kitten home is a wonderful day – full of fun, laughter, purrs and cuddles!

For your kitten, it’s also a big upheaval – she will be missing Mum and brothers and sisters, and will have to get used to a whole new house, lifestyle, pets and people. So if she’s quiet and shy at the start don’t worry too much – here’s a few tips to help her settle in…

A safe journey

Choose the date you pick up your new cat carefully. The ideal time is a quiet weekend when there are not too many people around. For the journey, a cat box is essential – travelling with your kitten loose in the car can be dangerous. Choose a cat box that will accommodate your cat when it is fully grown, and bear in mind that cats often find boxes that are dark inside more reassuring. Kit out your cat box with a blanket and bedding for comfort, and include some paper towels to mop up any accidents that might happen during the trip.

Setting up home

When your cat arrives make sure your house is quiet, calm and safe. Remove any possible hazards and ensure everything you need – feeding bowls, accessories, bedding and so on – are in place. Not sure what you need? View our full list of kitten essentials. Decide in advance where your kitten will eat and sleep – she needs peace and quiet for both, especially in the early days. An out of the way corner is ideal. If the atmosphere is noisy or disturbed, your kitten could grow into a nervous and fearful adult. The best approach is to move gently without shouting, and to avoid passing the kitten round for everyone to cuddle. Gain your kitten’s trust by keeping her safe. Your home could be dangerous for a young kitten, so check for hazards before your kitten arrives.

Potential hazards:

  • Plastic bags and foam
  • Electric hotplates
  • Balconies
  • Irons
  • Electric wires and sockets
  • Pesticides and weed killers
  • Medicines
  • Small items such as elastic bands and drawing pins
  • Washing machines and tumble dryers
  • Dustbins and toilets (always keep the lid on and the toilet seat down)
  • Some plants can be harmful for cats, avoid Holly, Mistletoe, Wisteria, Rhododendron, Ivy and Sweet pea

Introducing your kitten to other pets

Introducing a kitten is a little more tricky when you already have pets in the home. Introductions to other pets should be made under supervision and over a gradual period. Mishandled introductions may leave your current pet feeling frustrated or jealous, which could result in your pet leaving home temporarily.

Dogs
A well socialised dog will easily accept a young kitten. Older dogs may be less tolerant, but a small scratch from your kitten will soon make them less aggressive and integration will generally take place quickly and without major problems.
Other cats
An adult cat does not really appreciate the arrival of a kitten in her territory, and she will show her displeasure in the form of threatening behaviour. Total acceptance may take several months. During the introduction process, do not allow any aggression. Do it on neutral territory during play or meal times. Repeat the operation until both cats no longer mind the others presence and begin to share. A hierarchical relationship will then be established between the two cats – one that you should respect.

When introducing a new kitten, it’s best to maintain your old pet’s privileges for the first few days. Give them plenty of reassurance on their own personal territory. Keep the kitten in a small area to start with, so that she gradually learns her way around and doesn’t hide under furniture.