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How to introduce a new kitten to the family

Published on 1 Jun 2021

Kitten sitting near Cottage Scratcher

Whether you’ve got fur kids already or you’re bringing home a new kitten for the first time, we’re here to help you settle in together as one happy family.

Make sure you’ve got everything you need for your new arrival:

Getting to know you

Your kitten’s first contact with you needs to be gentle and initiated by them. It can take a number of days for a kitten to feel settled, so give them the space to settle in and enjoy the time getting to know one another.

Getting to know your home

Introducing your kitten to their new home needs to happen gradually. Let them into a small area of the house first. Then, as their confidence in their new bestie (you) and their new space increases, expand into bigger areas. Before you know it, they’ll have the whole place covered! 

Tip 1: Keep things familiar

Your new kitten is leaving one life suddenly for another, so you’ll help them adjust more easily if you keep some familiarity with before. Ask your breeder about the type of litter box or substrate they were using, the food they were giving, even the scratching post they recommend. It all helps!

Tip 2: Make their days fun

Your kitten needs to have sufficient 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 in various locations), climbing towers and even cat videos.

Tip 3: Help alleviate stress

Consider Feliway diffusers in the house during this time. They’re artificial feline pheromones, which replicate the calming pheromones of cats and can really aid in stress reduction.

Grey Kitten portrait

Getting to know your other pets

In addition to their house, your new kitten will also need to be very gradually introduced to their new furry family members. This means separation unless supervised, as well as introductions using food rewards and appropriate play.

Tip 1: Maximise personal space

Each cat or dog needs their own space to escape to and feel safe in. Increase the number of water bowls and food dishes in different locations around the house, plus make sure you new kitty has their very own scratching post and set of toys.

Tip 2: How many litter trays?

The whole idea is to reduce competition over shared ‘resources’. So if you have one cat and are introducing another, you will need 3 littler trays at home. Rule of thumb is that one litter tray is needed per cat, plus one extra.

Tip 3: Share the love equally

Your original pets need to know they’re loved in the face of the change they’re experiencing, and they need this one-on-one. So don’t wait for them to come looking for cuddles: surprise them with plenty of pats and treats when they least expect it.

Tip 4: Ideas for friendly play

Playing with your new kitten and original pets is a must. A laser works well for this, or a toy mouse on the end of a string they can chase. (Just be careful the string isn’t eaten and that you’re always supervising). Getting rid of excess energy will mean less energetic exchanges too!

Grey Kitten in wooden box
Dr. Claire Jenkins VetChat founder & CEO

Dr. Claire Jenkins

VetChat founder & CEO, BVSc (Hons), MANZCVS (SAM)

Claire has spent the past 15 years caring for animals as a Small Animal Veterinarian in the UK, Melbourne and is now based in Sydney. She is passionate about early intervention and how easy access to the right advice drives better health outcomes for pets. Claire’s a life-long animal lover, passionate problem solver and adorer of her gorgeous Kelpie ‘Red’.

Dr. Claire Jenkins's Pets

  • RedRed