It’s kitten season! Some of us have already experienced the joy of adopting a little kitten for the first time. This is an exciting and fun time ­– but there are also some key steps you can take to help your new kitten adjust to their new environment and life with you. Here are 5 tips for those of us who might be adopting a kitten for the first time during the current kitten season.

1) Kitten-proof your home

Some common household items can be a danger to your kitten if they were to chew, swallow or get tangled up in them. So before bringing your new kitten home, make your home as safe as possible for them. Try to remove, hide/lock away or secure items like:

  • electrical cords
  • cleaning materials and other chemicals
  • plants that are toxic to cats
  • medications or vitamins
  • long curtain cords
  • yarn or string
  • hair ties or elastic bands
  • small items such as office, beauty, craft or sewing supplies.

Also, to avoid temptations or danger:

  • minimise the equipment and food on your kitchen counters
  • use covered rubbish bins
  • keep your toilet lids down
  • check your windows and fly screens are secure.

2) Set up your kitten in a safe room

To help your kitten settle in quickly and well, set them up in a room for a few days where you can close the door. Place their food and water bowls, litter box, bed, scratching post and toys in the room.

This contained space will help them feel safer as they settle in and adjust to the sounds and smells of your home, before they explore the other rooms.

It will also help them remember when their litter box is and minimise any accidents.

3) Slowly introduce your kitten to other pets

If you have another cat or dog or other pet, introduce your new kitten to them slowly. This introduction period may last one to 2 weeks. This will help your pets see the other with interest, instead of suspicion or fear. Don’t simply leave the animals together without taking some steps first.

Jackson Galaxy has some great tips for introducing cats, and the RSPCA has tips for introducing your new cat to your dog.

If you have other pets – rabbits, guinea pigs or another animal – a quick search online will bring up tips for introducing your new kitten to them.

4) Buy good quality kitten food

After about 6 weeks of age, kittens no longer need their mother’s milk in their diet. They then rely on food for the nutrients they need to grow and support their immune system.

To help your kitten do this, buy food that:

  • is specifically for kittens
  • lists meat as the first ingredient, such as chicken, beef, turkey or other type of good-quality meat
  • is of the best quality you can afford as it is more likely to have the fats, vitamins and minerals your kitten needs.

It’s recommended to feed your kitten wet food initially while their teeth and stomachs develop. You can then introduce good-quality dry kitten food as they grow.

5) Visit the vet in the first week

Make an appointment for your new kitten to visit a vet within the first week they’re home with you. The vet will check them for any health issues and give the necessary vaccinations. You’ll then need to visit the vet regularly in the first year to continue your kitten’s vaccination schedule.

You vet will talk with you about any other treatments or procedures (for example, desexing) your kitten may need. And you can ask the vet any questions about how to care or feed your kitten, or deal with any unexpected behaviours or issues that may arise.

Extra tip – Enjoy your new kitten!

Enjoy the company of the newest little member of your family. Bond with them by playing with them, and giving them as many pets and cuddles as they allow! As you provide them with love and safety, they will bring you joy and laughter. By doing all the tips we recommend, you’ll be setting yourselves up for a long and happy life together.