How should I handle my kitten's first few weeks at home?

Posted on: September 09, 2013

Bringing Your New Kitten Home

Sleeping and playing are the major behaviors you’ll see in your kitten’s first few weeks at home. To help her become socialized, it’s also important to introduce her to other adults. Allow for a period of adjustment and observe her carefully. Teach friends the proper way to pick her up and hold her. Always treat her with gentleness when correcting her. To become a well-adjusted cat, she needs your personal attention and lots of love.

Sleeping

Your new kitten will sleep up to 16 hours a day, so it’s important to create a comfy spot for her slumber. Designate a corner of your house as the “kitten corner” — a place for her to unwind. The spot should be warm, quiet, and away from high-traffic areas of your home. The area should include her bed, a scratching post for stretching when she wakes up and her favorite toys.

But remember, cats can be very particular creatures. Don’t be disappointed if your kitten doesn’t take to the spot straight away. Be patient. She’ll come around eventually.

Your Kitten’s Schedule

You should also know that cats are nocturnal animals. Don’t be surprised to hear your kitten scampering around at night. You can alter this behavior somewhat by playing with her in the early evening to use up some excess energy. Feeding her supper early helps too. If she still wakes you up at night, resist the urge to feed her or play with her, as this will only reward and reinforce such behavior.

Playing

Your kitten is curious, frisky, and full of life. Sometimes it may be hard to tell whether she’s being playful or aggressive. She may pounce and stalk unsuspecting toys or scraps of paper. Don’t worry, she’s just exercising her natural predatory instincts in a harmless — and often amusing — manner.  Just be sure to provide her with appropriate toys so she can act out these instincts on objects, and never on you. Give her wads of paper, ping-pong balls, or kitten fishing toys to enhance playtime. Avoid toys that can be shredded, shattered, or swallowed.

Finally, try not to offer up your hands, fingers, feet, or clothing as playthings. This may encourage aggressive behavior. When you’re playing together, stick to safe kitten toys and you’re sure to have fun.

Introducing Your Kitten to Children

Meeting a brand new kitten is extra exciting for children. Introduce your kitten to children, especially younger ones, gradually and for short periods of time. Frequent handling and gentle playing are important, but children must understand that your kitten is a sensitive, living creature.

Teach them how to pick her up and hold her. Slip one hand under her chest, holding the front legs gently but firmly with your fingers. At the same time, cup the other hand under your kitten’s hindquarters. Never pick her up by the scruff of the neck or by her legs. Children must learn not to pull the kitten’s tail or ears, squeeze or poke her, make loud or threatening noises or move toward her too rapidly.

Helping Others Play With Your Kitten

A good way for everyone to play with a kitten is to get down on the floor at her level. This will make her feel more secure. Remind children that even a small child can look like a giant to a kitten. And a gentle kitten may resort to scratching or biting to protect herself if she’s frightened.

We hope these tips help you adjust to your life at home with your new kitten.

  1. What’s the best way to train my new kitten?
  2. Next Article

Feed, train and socialize your new kitten. We’ll help you with expert advice.