Authored by: Dr. Lindsey, DVM
It’s so exciting to bring a new kitten home but it can be overwhelming for this new family member. Today I will be talking about introducing a new kitten but some of these suggestions can also be applied to introducing a new cat too. It’s not unusual for a little kitten to be scared to come into a new home. They may have just left their mother and siblings and everything that was familiar to them behind. If possible, bring something (ex. a blanket, towel, or toy) from their old environment with them so they have something that smells familiar in their new home. Also, if possible, interact with them in their old environment prior to bringing them home so they can get used to you on their turf.
When the kitten arrives in their new home, put them in a small, quiet room. Let them come out of their carrier at their own pace to explore the room. Put food, water, and a litter box in the room as well. If possible, initially give them the same food and litter box material as they had in their previous environment. Give the kitten lots of time to become well acquainted with the first room before letting them gradually explore another room. Slowly, let the kitten become familiar with the whole house. When the kitten is first left home alone, it may be best to not give them the whole run of the house and instead have them in one room or one part of the house with their food, water, and a litter box. Make sure that area is kitten proofed.
When introducing a new kitten to an existing cat or dog, most kittens adjust easily and just want to play. It’s usually the existing pet that may feel their territory is being invaded and may be more aggressive. That’s another reason why it’s important to have the kitten initially in their own room so the established pet doesn’t feel like their space is being invaded. This may be the case for some time while the new kitten and existing pet get to know each other. Give the existing pet extra attention so they don’t feel left out with all the attention that the new kitten is getting.
Enjoy your new kitten!
Dr. Lindsey graduated from Colorado State University in 2009 and works in general practice, shelter medicine, and more recently as a civilian contractor veterinarian for the Army. She is also certified in acupuncture and resides in Palm Springs, CA.