Welcoming a newcomer: kitten

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If possible, make arrangements with the person from whom you are getting the kitten as to the time you will pick it up and ask that the kitten has not been fed prior to pick up time.

This arrangement will help avoid the kitten becoming car sick on its way to its new home. Give your newcomer its first meal after it has settled into its new environment so it can learn to depend on you.

Bringing a kitten home at the beginning of the weekend, or even better, a week-long vacation, is recommended. This allows time to introduce a kitten to its new home and family members.

Care should be taken in easing a kitten into its new home. Bring your kitten home in a carrier of some kind. Upon arriving in its new home, place the kitten in a small, quiet area with food and a litter pan. (If a kitten is very tiny, a small litter pan with lowered sides may be necessary at first).

After confining a kitten in a quiet place for the first few days, it should slowly be allowed access to other rooms in the house.

To socialise your kitten to humans, introduce it to many people. This will help lessen its fear of strangers when it is an adult cat.

Stalking and pouncing on imaginary prey are play behaviours that aid kittens in their neural and muscular development. Providing appropriate toys for these activities enhances a kitten’s play. These toys include wads of paper, ping pong balls and kitten fishing toys. Toys that are too heavy for a kitten to move, or so small that they may be ingested should be avoided. When playing with your kitten, avoid using hands, fingers, feet or clothing. This kind of play encourages attack games on people which may result in aggressive behaviour.

Choose a name for your kitten as soon as possible and start using it. Repeat your kitten’s name often and always call it by name when you feed it. All family members should be consistent in using only the kitten’s chosen name.

Shopping List:

For a smoother homecoming, have these essentials on hand before your kitten comes home:

  • a carrier for transporting your kitten
  • brush and comb (ask the pet shop to recommend the appropriate grooming aids for a long or short haired cat)
  • litter box, litter material and a scoop to remove droppings
  • food and water bowls that are heavy, nontippable and easy to clean bed
  • toys designed for kittens
  • a scratching post to enable the kitten to stretch and exercise
  • information about litter box training and other basics of cat care
  • a high-quality nutritionally complete and balanced food formulated to meet the needs of growing kittens such as Purina‚Ķ

To see more from Purina, visit www.purina.com.au to browse their tips and range of products.

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