If you’ve decided to get a kitten or cat and don’t know where to begin, have no fear! It can be an exciting and daunting time bringing a new feline friend into the family, and it’s important to ensure that you’re bringing them into a home where they will feel protected and loved.

Australia’s leading cat litter brand, Breeder’s Choice, produced by FibreCycle, has partnered with renowned Veterinarian and Founder and CEO of VetChat, Dr. Claire Jenkins. She shares her top tips for bringing a kitten or new cat into your home.

Top tips for families adopting a kitten

To ensure that you and your kitten have the safest and happiest start together, here are my top tips.

  1. Give your feline friend a safe place to sleep

Before bringing your kitten home, have a think about where they will sleep. Ideally they need quiet, draft-free bedding in a place that feels secure.

Your kitten needs a special place that is absolutely theirs, that they can escape to when they need some quiet time, or retreat to if they’re feeling tired or scared. A warm and cosy area where they can curl up tightly for a much needed nap is essential – we all know how much kittens love to snooze.

2. Let your kitten or cat make the first move

It can take a number of days for a cat to settle in. Their first contact with you needs to be gentle and initiated by them, so let them make the first move.

When introducing them to their new home (and any other four legged playmates), do it gradually. Start by letting them into a small area of the house first, and then as their confidence in their new best friend (you!) and their new space builds, expand into bigger areas. Before you know it, they’ll have the whole place covered!

3. Keep them stimulated

Play is important for kittens as a part of daily life. It’s also used as a serious tool for training.

Your kitten needs to have lots of activities to do during the day, especially if you’re out. This might include food searches (either with food dispensing toys or bowls with bits of food in them scattered in various locations), climbing towers and vertical space, or even a large stuffed toy to cuddle.

If your kitten is mentally stimulated, it’ll mean their natural hunting behaviour is directed at their toys, not at your legs!

4. Routine is key

Cats love predictability, from their feeding time, water stations, litter area, vertical space and safe places to nap. They need areas to retreat to, as well as ones where they can act on their natural hunting behaviours.

Scratching posts are designed for exactly that: scratching. It’s a normal behaviour cats use to maintain their claws, as well as for marking. Make sure their scratching post is close to his or her sleeping area, or near the feeding area works well too.

5. Litter box

When it comes to the litter box, use the same substrate as your kitten’s breeder was using initially. The litter box needs to feel private and safe, which means inaccessible to dogs and young children.

I initially chose Breeder’s Choice as it was the litter that my adopted kitten was already successfully using. I chose to continue with Breeder’s Choice ever since as it works well, it’s upcycled from 99% recycled paper, is free from nasty chemicals and additives, and is made in Australia. It’s important to me as a pet carer and human to make decisions to lessen the impact of my effects on the environment. 

6. Food

When it comes to food make sure to find out what the breeder or rescue shelter has been feeding and stay on this initially. You can then gradually change to your preferred cat food after a week or so.

The first few weeks with your new kitten are the most special, but also the most important. By following my top tips, you can ensure that you and your new family member have the best start for a happy and safe life together.

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