Due to their wild heritage, early socialization and a smooth transition into their new homes is essential for hybrid cats.
At Select Exotics, we strongly believe in allowing our kittens to remain with their mother or foster mother. This gives babies the most natural opportunity to learn essential habits, such as litter box etiquette, from Mom. However, while the kittens are still nursing on their mother, we spend a great deal of time handling and socializing them. This offers our kittens the best of both worlds, Mom and gentle, loving human contact.
Interestingly, research suggests handling kittens daily during the first month of their lives will improve their learning ability. Moreover, a greater impression is made when kittens are between the ages of four and six weeks than anytime thereafter.
Still, kittens are very impressionable after this age. It is for this reason we strive to prepare our kittens to leave for their new homes between eight and ten weeks of age. This way, their new families can be a major part of their lives during their critical bonding period. How a kitten is handled during the first few weeks in its new home can influence his or her lifetime behavior and relationships with people.
To help you to ease your kitten's transition into your home, a strange, new environment, we have compiled a list of Do’s and Don’ts for your kitten's first couple of weeks in his/her new home.
- Be calm and quiet when you bring your kitten into your home.
- Place the carrier on the floor and let your kitten come out on his/her own.
- Encourage your kitten to come out of the carrier for the first time by gently coaxing him/her out with a feather teaser-toy.
- Keep your kitten in a small room when he or she first arrives. A small area is kitten-size. It will help him or her to more readily "get the lay of the land." After a day or two, allow him/her a little more run of the house.
- Sit or lie on the floor at your kitten's level to play and socialize.
- Place your kitten in the litter box several times during the first few of days after arrival.
- Allow your kitten to sleep with you after the first couple of days and after he or she has a firm grasp on the location of the litter box.
- Slowly introduce the kitten to your other pets.
- Make sure your kitten knows where his or her food and water is kept and check to see he/she is eating and drinking enough.
- A 30 minute timeout in a small room, such as a bathroom, may be required several times a day to force your kitten to stop playing long enough to eat and drink.
- Use a pelletted litter, such as Feline Pine or pelletted newspaper, for the first few weeks after getting your kitten home. This is what we at Select Exotics use and what the kittens are used to. It will not harm them if they ingest some of it.
- Very important: Please call us with any and all questions. We will do our best to advise you regarding any situation.
- Give your kitten full run of the house immediately.
- Move the litter box for the first couple of weeks: it will confuse your kitten. When/if you find it necessary to move it, place your kitten in it several times to establish its location.
- Introduce too many people to your kitten at first. It can overwhelm your baby. After he/she is comfortable and confident in your home, gradually introduce new people.
- Leave a down comforter on your bed for the first few weeks if your kitten is sleeping with you. A down comforter may feel like a litter box under his/her little paws and, consequently, may be used as one.
- Take your kitten outside, even on a harness, until your kitten has had all of his or her vaccinations.