Picking up your kitten and their first week with you
What you need to know to care for your kitten
There’s a lot to consider when it comes to welcoming a new kitten. You’ll need to be fully prepared before bringing them home and know how to approach their first day and night with you, including what to feed them.
During the first week, it’s best to begin establishing routines as well as taking them to the veterinarian and beginning to socialize them. And it’s important to know how to introduce your kitten to friends, family, children and other pets. It's also important to know how to handle their first adventures outdoors once they’re vaccinated.
Are you ready to bring home your kitten?
It’s important to be fully prepared before picking up your kitten. Make sure you’ve kitten-proofed your home and set up a room with everything they'll need, including a bed, food and water bowls, a litter box and toys.
You’ll need a cat box to carry your kitten in too, and some of the food their previous owner’s been feeding them. It’s also a good idea to find a veterinarian you trust and make an appointment for a check-up a few days after picking them up.
Your kitten’s first day with you
Kittens are very sensitive to new surroundings, so it’s crucial to be careful when welcoming your new arrival. Following these key tips will help make things less overwhelming for your kitten.
Your kitten’s first night with you
Kittens are often very disturbed during their first night and it’s normal for them to cry during the following two or three nights too. Here are some tips to help your kitten settle.
Provide a safe place to sleep
Put your kitten's bed in a cosy, quiet place with a blanket and make sure they have access to their water, food and a litter box. Turning out the light will help establish your kitten’s sleep patterns, but on the first night you may want to leave a night light on while they adjust to their surroundings.
For their health and wellbeing, kittens need lots of sleep in a quiet place where they can relax and feel secure. Your kitten may sleep for around 20 hours out of 24 and may still need as much as 18 hours of sleep as an adult cat.
The best kitten food and feeding habits
The first time you feed your kitten is an important step in their life with you. Understanding what they need will help you make sure it goes well.
Learn about kitten nutrition and feeding
Your kitten’s diet should contain all the nutrients they need for each phase of their development. As a result, you’ll need to adapt the food and rations you provide them as they grow.
How to change your kitten’s diet safely
A kitten’s digestive system is very delicate and can be upset by sudden changes. When you’re ready to change your kitten’s food, it’s crucial to make the transition carefully and slowly to avoid digestive issues. See our guide to changing your kitten’s diet safely.
Socialization should start as early as possible to avoid any unwanted behaviours and help them develop into confident, even-tempered adult cats. Find out how you can socialize your kitten.
Your kitten’s first visit to the veterinarian
It’s really important to take your kitten to the veterinarian for a check-up once they’ve spent a few days settling with you. By being prepared, you can make sure that it’s a positive event for your kitten, and you can take the opportunity to learn more about caring for them.
Your kitten may feel unsettled by their move to a new home, but you can help them to stay calm. Always move slowly and gently and handle them very carefully. Use a soft voice and give plenty of reassurance as you gradually introduce new sights, sounds and smells. Make sure you keep the number of visitors to a minimum initially.
How to introduce your kitten to children, pets and other adults
Kittens can easily be overwhelmed or even terrified by encounters with other animals and people, so it’s crucial you make introductions in the right way.
Your kitten’s daytime routine
Your kitten’s first few days and weeks with you will influence how they integrate with your family and whether they grow into a happy, sociable cat. Here are some ways to establish routines that will give your kitten the best possible start.