Thinking about adopting a kitten? We consulted VOKRA, Vancouver Orphan Kitten Rescue Association, for the advice they give to their new adopters. Here’s what you need to do when you bring home your new kitten:
Put your new kitten in the bathroom for the first 48 hours. The smaller the space, the more confident the kitty. When cats are stressed from being relocated they will want to be in a tiny space—it’s the kindest thing you can do for them. It builds their confidence and curiosity. Hang out with them in there so you can socialize them and bond. Your goal is to help make your new family member feel comfortable and safe as quickly as possible.
Allow kitty access to the rest of the house only once he has met all four criteria: is eating all his food, is being proactively social, has peed at least twice in the litter box, and has pooped at least twice in the litter box. After these criteria have been met, you can then gradually introduce your kitten to the rest of your home.
Kitten-proof your home. Things to watch out for: Plants. Research all plants in your home and dispose of any that may be poisonous, including bouquets of flowers that can be highly toxic. (Lilies, chrysanthemum, amaryllis, and more are all toxic to cats.) Cords that dangle and swing are big temptations to kittens. Try to tape or hook them away. String, elastic, hair elastics, thread, needles, tacks, buttons, bells, tinsel, coins, and small children’s toys are all happily ingested by kittens as they play. Toilet Bowls and buckets should be kept closed as kittens can easily drown if they jump in. Windows. Be sure that all windows have screens or are locked open with a very small gap.
Playtime! Playing with your kitten is not only super-fun, it’s quality bonding time. A toy that really works and lasts is the Cat Dancer. This is bouncy nirvana for a kitten. A wand with a strip of fleece or felt also works well and lasts a very long time. Turn to page 32 for how to make your own wand toy! Also remember some of the most successful toys are free! Cats and kittens love toilet paper rolls, scrunched paper balls, and paper bags (not plastic).
Cat Scratch Fever. Cardboard scratchers are low-cost and cats love them (though they can be messy). Of course be sure to have a good scratch post, preferably something your kitten can climb up high on. Modern Cat loves Armarkat’s classic cat trees (from $63) that provide both climbing platforms and scratching areas to delight your cat, as well as Pet Tree Houses’ cat trees (from $129). Handcrafted from real trees and embellished with silk foliage to provide a life-like audible and visual experience, they encourage your cat to scratch on the gnarled branches and bark.
Have a ball with your new kitten!