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Introducing your kitten to family members

Kitten cat sitting next to its owner playing with their hands.
Your kitten’s first contact with a new family is a very important moment that will affect the success of your kitten’s integration into its new home, so contact should be made gradually and slowly.

Your kitten’s first contact with a new family is a very important moment that will affect the success of their integration into their new environment. All the essential accessories should be prepared and ready for your kitten’s arrival and contact should be made gradually and slowly.

Many natural feline behaviour systems, such as the desire to retreat and hide from conflict, are comprised when your kitten comes to live in your home, so it's important to understand a cat's natural behaviours to ensure their comfort and well being.

When’s the right time to introduce your kitten to family?

Weekends are generally quieter than the rest of the week, making it a calmer environment for your new kitten. It’s important to remember that your kitten has just been brought into an unknown environment, and meeting new people may be a frightening situation. To reduce the risk of any stress, you should:

  • Introduce new family members one-by-one
  • Control your own enthusiasm and the enthusiasm of others
  • Remember to be gentle when handling your kitten
  • Avoid passing your kitten from one person to another so they don't become overwhelmed
  • Instead, allow the kitten to approach you when they are comfortable
  • Remember to keep your voice low and calm to avoid startling them
  • Allow the kitten plenty of time to relax or sleep between introductions

If your kitten is brought up in an excessively noisy or agitated environment, they may grow to be a fearful and timid cat.

Teaching your family how to handle a kitten

Once familiarised with the new kitten, it’s important that everyone in the family learns how to handle them with care, to avoid sudden movements that might be frightening.

The best way to handle a kitten is to:

  • Slide one wide open hand under your kitten's abdomen
  • Place your other hand under their back legs for support
  • To demonstrate your authority you can pick your kitten up by the scuff of the neck, as this mimics the way they were carried by their mother
Kitten cat sitting on a kitchen floor with a child sitting in the background.

Introducing your kitten to children

Cats can be excellent companions for children, but it's important to make sure that any child in the home knows how to interact with a kitten. This will make sure the kitten is able adjust to their environment in a calm and quiet atmosphere.

Once a kitten becomes an adult cat they'll be easily able to avoid children when they want to be alone, however your kitten is less able to do this. It's important that children know when a kitten needs to be given space to relax and sleep and that they don't disturb the kitten when it's resting.

Young children should always be supervised around kittens to make sure they approach them with care, that playtimes are gentle and they are not picked up or handled incorrectly.

Introducing your new kitten to family members is a gradual process. It's important to be patient and alert, making sure to take things at your kitten's pace so that it's a calm and positive experience.

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