Helping cats and dogs live their healthiest lives.

Introducing your kitten to adults, children and pets

If your kitten has a negative experience with a person or animal the effects can be long-lasting. It’s crucial you understand how to make each introduction so your kitten feels comfortable.

Brown tabby kitten being held by owner in a grey top

Tips for introducing your kitten to family, friends and strangers

Although your kitten may quickly become comfortable with you, their natural inclination to retreat and hide may remain when they encounter new people. Here are our top tips for introductions that help them feel more confident.

Kitten being cuddled by a young boy on a grey sofa

Gradual introductions

It’s usually too much for a kitten to meet lots of people at once. Let them meet each knew person individually and give them plenty of time to rest between introductions.

Watch their body language

Your kitten will show if they need to back off and have some quiet time. Look for signs they’re feeling threatened such as flattened ears, hissing, or their tail upright like a bottle brush.

Let your kitten approach them

Kittens tend to panic and run away if they’re approached too quickly. It’s best to ask people to sit quietly and wait for your kitten to come to them.

Stay calm

Ask people to control their enthusiasm, move slowly and keep their voice low to avoid startling your kitten.

Don’t rush it

Your kitten may need time to feel comfortable with each person. Don’t rush things and definitely avoid passing your kitten from one person to another.

Be gentle

Ask family and friends to handle your kitten gently. Once they’re familiarised, show them how to carry them safely by sliding one open hand under their abdomen and putting the other under their rear.

How to introduce your kitten to children

Cats can make excellent pets for children, but it’s important to explain the rules of kitten care and handle introductions carefully. Children can sometimes be too rough or excitable for kittens, so here are some important things to bear in mind.

Kitten being held by a young boy on a grey sofa

Let your kitten rest

Your kitten’s not yet able to avoid children when they need some quiet time. So make sure children know to let your kitten rest and never wake them because sleep is vital for their development.

Teach careful handling

Show children how to stroke your kitten and pick them up by sliding one hand under their tummy and supporting their rear end with the other. Initially, it’s best if they don’t pick the kitten up though. And ensure that, when they do, they don’t hug them too tightly.

Insist on quiet calmness

Ask children to sit quietly and wait for your kitten to come to them. Explain that lively or noisy behaviour can make kittens very frightened.

Careful playing

Children must understand that your kitten is not a toy. Show them how to play safely using the kitten’s toys so everyone enjoys it.

Keep watch

To avoid unfortunate scratches, it’s best to always supervise young children with kittens.

How to safely introduce your kitten to other pets

It’s natural for pets, especially cats, to be territorial. So it’s crucial to prepare for introductions and supervise each one sensitively. Here are some important tips to remember.

Kitten standing outdoors being groomed by mother cat

Allow your kitten to get used to their own area first. And make sure they’ve had a check-up and vaccinations before introducing them to other pets.

For each pet, take a cloth and rub it gently on their face and the other pet’s face. Then put it in their basket to allow them to get used to the unfamiliar smell before you introduce them.

Let your existing pets just watch your kitten (through glass, for example) initially. Then allow brief periods of supervised contact in a neutral room before building towards longer periods over a few days. Make sure all your pets have a safe place to escape to during the introductions.

Dogs often accept kittens more readily than older cats, but keep them calm and on a lead when introducing them. Don’t force any contact – let them get used to one another in their own time.

Your existing cats may feel threatened by your kitten, and it could take days or even months to form a peaceful territorial relationship.

All pets need their own territory for resting, eating and playing, and cats don’t like to share litter trays so need at least one each, plus one extra.

Your kitten's first week

Your kitten's first few days and weeks in their new home are key in building a strong relationship with your pet. Make sure your kitten settles in and establish a routine to ensure as little disruption as possible for your new arrival.

Collecting your kitten
Sacred Birman black and white kitten playing with red ball