Cats typically hide in a new environment, to assess whether the new place is safe or not. Kittens usually adapt in just a few hours, but there are those that may take days, weeks and sometimes longer. Don’t be dismayed or give up; they’ll soon trust you.
The foster from whom you adopted your kittenA young cat under 1 year of age. can tell you how she’s likely to react, and anything you should be aware of that would make her respond to you. So for the sake of the following information, we’ll use an example – you’re new kittenA young cat under 1 year of age.’s name is Fluffy, a female.
STEP ONE: Create A Safe Room
- Fluffy’s first introduction to your home should be in a “safe room” – including food, water, bedding, toys, and litter box (not too close to the food).
- A spare bathroom/powder room is ideal because limited hiding places make it easy to pet and bond with your kittenA young cat under 1 year of age..
- A bedroom is not a good safe room – where a shy kittenA young cat under 1 year of age. could hide under the bed, out of reach of your bonding efforts. Laundry rooms are hazardous also; kittens can easily hide behind or inside the workings of washers or dryers.
- The small room will make her feel secure, while she gets used to the smells, sounds and people of this strange new world.
- It’s easier to interact with Fluffy in a small area, where she can see and hear you.
- “KittenA young cat under 1 year of age. proof” the room, removing breakables and potential hazards. Close any windows.
STEP TWO: Place KittenA young cat under 1 year of age. in Safe Room
- Place the hard carrier inside the safe room, leaving the carrier door open so she can come out when she’s comfortable.
- Speak quietly in a happy tone of voice, encouraging her to come out.
- Fluffy may not hesitate to explore right away, or may not come out for hours. If she continues to hide, leave the room and come again in 30 minutes.
- Sit in the room quietly several times a day, reading or talking quietly to her.
- If she’s out of the box, but behind something, you can slowly reach in and pet her, but don’t drag her out or force affection. You’re trying to build trust and make friends, so be patient!
- Instruct your children to be patient also – using quiet voices and slow movements.
- At first, she may only come out when alone to eat and use the box.
- Do not let Fluffy out of the safe room until she comes to you voluntarily. If she is in the rest of the house before she trusts you, she may hide where you can’t reach her or even find her.
STEP THREE: Letting the KittenA young cat under 1 year of age. Explore
- Fluffy will show her trust by coming to you voluntarily. It’s now time to let her explore.
- A small kittenA young cat under 1 year of age. should be allowed to explore a little at a time. You want her to be able to find her safe room (and litter box) quickly if necessary.
- Before you let Fluffy explore more rooms, scan them for kittenA young cat under 1 year of age. hazards: breakables, electrical cords, string or yarn, open windows, screens or doors, plants, etc. See the Danger List for more information.
- Open the safe room door, and let her move walk around where she wants. Don’t carry her into other rooms; she won’t know how to find her way back.
- She may be easily startled and run back to the safe room time and again. That’s a common reaction. Let her explore as slowly as she wants.
- It’s best to put Fluffy back in her safe room at night until she’s confident in the whole house and you’re confident she can’t harm herself.
- When Fluffy knows her way around, you can place the litter box and food in the places you’ve planned for them. Be sure to take her to them and show them to her.
If you have other pets, refer to the specific information for “Introducing to a Dog” or “Introducing to a Resident Cat” from your foster. If you didn’t receive it, ask for it. Slow and careful introduction to other pets is crucial. A bad “first impression” will take time to overcome.
- It’s important to feed Fluffy what she’s been getting at her foster home. Your adoption papers should indicate what and how often she has been fed.
- If you want to change her food, do so gradually – increasing the percentage of the new food every few days. Too abrupt change can cause digestive problems or diarrhea.
- Feed Fluffy dry and canned food formulated for kittens until she is a year old.
- Cats and kittens tend to eat small meals throughout the day, so leave her dry food out to free feed at will.
- Cats are carnivores and most enjoy canned food in their diet. Canned food also provides important moisture, and can be fed morning and evening (left out it will dry up).
- Always provide fresh water with her food.
- TIP: When you give Fluffy her canned food, always call “Kitty, kitty” in a high voice – even if she’s right at your feet. She’ll soon associate that call with feeding, so if she should ever get out, you can call her that way and she’ll respond.
- See our Nutrition & Food page for more information.
- Your CC4C adoption paper indicates what shots Fluffy has received and when additional vaccines or annual boosters are due.
- Kittens require a series of 3 “FVRCPA vaccine shot that protects against FVRFeline Viral Rhinotracheitis, FVR, is a severe upper respiratory infection of cats caused by feline herpes virus Type 1 (FHV-1), of the family Herpesviridae. It is most severe in kittens and older cats, and is one of the most serious upper respiratory diseases seen in cats and kittens. It is also known as feline influenza. FVR is airborne and highly contagious. Cats with this infection are lethargic, and exhibit signs of respiratory suffering with sneezing and coughing. There is usually a discharge from the nostrils and eyes, and a high temperature. Some cats develop pneumonia and sometimes ulcerations in the eyes. Infected cats don’t want to eat or drink because their nostrils are plugged and throat is sore. Dehydration and weight loss are common. Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis (FHV-1), FCV Feline Calicivirus and FPVFeline Panleukopenia, FPV, is more commonly known as feline distemper is caused by the feline parvovirus, a close relative of canine parvovirus. It is not related to canine distemper. Panleukopenia is primarily spread through contact with an infected cat’s bodily fluids, feces, or fleas. Feline Panleukopenia.” shots, one a month starting at 2 months old. Your CC4C adoption fee includes any shots remaining in that series; bring Fluffy back to the adoption site to have those done.
- RabiesRabies is a deadly viral infection that is transmitted by the infected saliva that enters the body through a bite or broken skin. The actual time between infection and when you get sick, called the incubation period, ranges from 10 days to 7 years, however, the average incubation period is 3 to 7 weeks. Animals with rabies suffer deterioration of the brain, where it causes swelling or inflammation, and symptoms may include stress and anxiety, drooling, convulsions, muscle spasms, numbness, restlessness, and difficult swalling. Rabies is rare in many developed countries. shots are only necessary if Fluffy will be going outside. This shot is only given after 4 months of age.
- Fluffy has tested negative for FeLVFeline Leukemia Virus, FeLV, is a retrovirus transmitted between infected cats when the transfer of saliva or nasal secretions is involved, for example when sharing a feeding dish. The infection is responsible for more deaths among cats than any other infectious disease. There are three main types of the virus and FeLV-positive cats can be infected with one, two, or all three types including: FeLV-A causes severe immunosuppression or a weakened immune system. FeLV-B causes neoplastic disease (tumors and other abnormal tissue trowths). FeLV-C is the most rare and causes severe anemia. The virus replicates in the body once infected, then spreads via the bloodstream to other parts of the body, namely the lymph nodes, bone marrow, and intestinal tissues.. A vaccine against this disease is available from your veterinarian.
Scratching: Posts or Cat Condos
- Cats and kittens need to scratch with their claws on something solid – to sharpen them, and to stretch their muscles. Toes also have a scent gland that marks their territory.
- To keep Fluffy from scratching the furniture or carpet, give her something appropriate to scratch on: a cardboard horizontal scratching box; a sisal or carpeting posts; or a multi-level cat condo. A wide variety is available at pet stores.
- A condo is an especially good choice, since it combines a place to scratch, climb, sleep and hide.
- Make sure the post is sturdy and stable, or she won’t use it.
- If she won’t use the one you’ve bought, return it and exchange for something else. It’s essential that she knows where it’s OK to scratch.
- Training her to scratch appropriately is a combination of positive reinforcement and negative consequences.
- Positive: This is the most important approach. When she starts to scratch the wrong thing, say NO, gently remove her and place her on the right thing, moving her front paws in the scratching motion.
- Give her a treat, praise her profusely, pet her when she does the right thing.
- If she scratches the wrong thing, never scream, swat her or throw things; it will only frighten and confuse her. Positive reinforcement is the key.
- Catnip is often provided with scratchers, but it doesn’t affect kittens younger than about 5 months (and some cats not at all).
- Negative: make something unpleasant happen when she scratches the wrong thing.
- Have a squirt bottle of water handy, and squirt her body when she scratches.
- Drop a heavy book or magazine near her, or shake a can of pebbles or coins at her when she scratches; cats dislike loud noises.
- There are sticky tapes and other deterrents available at pet stores.
- Kittens see everything as a toy! You can amuse Fluffy with the simplest things: a ball of crumpled paper (not foil), a string, a wine cork or a grape.
- Store-bought toys can be fun too: feathers, wand toys, various balls (like ping pong balls), and furry mice. Soon Fluffy will be playing soccer with these all over the house (you’ll find many under the sofa before long).
- Never leave her alone with string or yarn or wand toy with a long attachment. String and yarn can be ingested (and are expensive to remove). Long wand attachments can wind around Fluffy’s body or head, and frighten her so that she runs and becomes more entangled or even strangled.
- Human hands and fingers will also appeal to Fluffy as toys. Discourage her wrestling with or biting your hand or fingers. It’s cute at this age, but will become a bad (and painful) habit as an adult. If she wants to wrestle with your hand, let it go limp and distract her with a small stuffed animal or other shape that she can wrap her paws around and “bunny kick.”
- A cat carrier (hard sided or soft) is essential for trips to the vet or any car ride.
- A cat loose in the car is dangerous for both of you. A sudden noise (horn, dog barking, squeal of brakes) can scare her right out of your arms and under the brake pedal or out the window.
- Cats groom themselves perfectly well. Do not bathe Fluffy! It is stressful for both of you (and can result in bloodshed)– although some cats are perfectly content to be bathed.
- Brushing is usually pleasant for Fluffy (especially if she is long hair) and can prevent matting. Some cats don’t like it; so don’t force it. Starting Fluffy when she’s young will help her get used to the process.
- Flea treatment is important. Fluffy was treated with Advantage or Frontline topical flea treatment – a monthly product applied to the back of the head. Be sure to ask for the Advantage/Frontline for “under 9 pounds” while she is still small. Do not buy the less expensive brands– they are not effective and can contain harmful chemicals.
- Do not waste your money on flea collars – they only work for an inch or two around the neck.