Behaviour, Socialisation, & Training Tips for Kittens
So let’s start with the essentials. You’ll need kitten food, a carry cage, a cat bed, some toys, a few bowls, two litter trays (including kitty litter), a scratching post, a collar and name tag, a kitten harness and lead – and of course, parasite protection. Settling in can have its challenges, so here are some handy hints to help the whole family along the way:
- A carry cage will keep your kitten safe on the trip home, for vet visits, boarding and in emergencies
- Once home, place the cage down in a safe, enclosed room then open the door and allow your kitten to come out in its own time
- It’s important to make your kitten’s new home comfortable and stress-free with an accessible cosy bed, noise kept to a minimum, dogs outside and children quiet
- Play with and stroke your kitten in your lap so they feel safe and slowly introduce them to new rooms
- If you choose to let your kitten outside, begin gradually and under supervision – ask your pet health professional about the pros and cons of allowing cats outside and ask your council about cat curfews
Bringing your kitten home
We understand the first night can be a bit scary so when it’s time to go to bed, set your kitten up in a small room or enclosed area of the house with their bed and litter tray, making sure water and food isn’t close to the litter tray.
Remember, it’s been a big day for both of you so cries for attention are normal, even for the first few nights:
The carry cage can be a comforting place over the next few days if your kitten is frightened or sleepy – put it near their bed so they can go in and feel secure at any time
- A cardboard box on its side with warm blankets can provide the same shelter and comfort
- Use the same litter your kitten is used to but have a spare tray ready with different litter so they have a choice
- Leave some food out – preferably the same type that they’ve been eating and only change foods gradually to avoid tummy upsets
- The use of cat pheromones can help some kittens feel calm and adjust to new surroundings faster – ask your pet health professional for more advice
The importance of house training
Your new kitten will be inquisitive and looking for any opportunity to play – during play they may even work out how to use their claws. With patience, training and understanding your kitten will learn the house rules in no time.
It’s important to litter train from the start. Place the tray in a quiet spot, put your kitten in their tray after they’ve woken or eaten and praise them when they use the tray.
Cats are curious and independent so scratching, climbing and jumping will occur. Provide a scratching post for your kitten and offer a reward when it is used – say “no” if your kitten tries to sharpen their claws on furniture. Also, de-sex cats by six months of age so that females won’t get pregnant and males are less likely to go wandering or missing, fight or spray urine in your home.
And remember, punishing hinders progress so never smack your kitten or rub their nose in their mess – they don’t understand and punishment can cause training issues and make your kitten fearful of you.
Socialising your kitten
We understand everyone will be very excited about your new arrival so help your kitten fit into a human environment with these tips:
- Always supervise small children – sit them down on the floor (as kittens can wriggle free and fall from a height) and let them stroke the kitten gently in their lap
- Show them how to pick the kitten up by cradling its back end with one hand and under the chest with the other – never by the scruff of the neck
- Cover the kid’s sandpit so the kitten doesn’t use it as a litter tray and teach children to wash their hands after playing and especially before eating
- If you have a baby install a screen door in your nursery to create a barrier between the kitten and infant
- Before you bring your baby home, get your kitten used to baby smells like powder and wipes and give them lots of attention so they don’t feel left out
- Feed your kitten treats while you nurse the new baby – this will create a positive experience
- Meeting other pets can be stressful so introduce your kitten to other pets slowly and never force pets together
Understanding your cat’s signals
Cats use the following features to display emotions:
- Relaxed – tail down, ears upright, whiskers on the side, pupils slightly dilated
- Friendly – tail up
- Alert – pupils dilated, whiskers tensed
- Aggressive/threatened – tail held close to body, ears erect and turned back, pupils constricted
- Frightened – arched back, raised tail, hairs on end, ears flat, whiskers stiff, pupils dilated
- Purring – usually a sign of contentment, but may also be a sign that they are scared or hurt
The Advantage Family can minimise the risk to your family – especially young children – from parasites and flea-borne diseases by keeping your kitten protected from worms, mites and fleas.
Got a pet health question?
If you have a question on anything from parasites to pet health ask us, we don’t bite!
Call The Advantage Pet Care Line on 1800 678 368
Advocate not only treats parasite infections, but monthly treatment can help protect your cat against fleas, heartworm and gastrointestinal worms.
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Advocate not only treats parasite infections, but monthly treatment can help protect your cat against fleas, heartworm and gastrointestinal worms.Treats
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