Bringing a kitten home

Bringing a new kitten home is incredibly exciting, but can be frightening for you kitten. Learn how to make the transition as stress free as possible.


Blue british shorthair bicolour kitten on bed

When bringing a kitten home for the first time it is understandable that you will want them to settle in as soon as possible. Here are some tips on how to make the transition easiest for your kitten.

Think like a kitten...

The key thing when bringing a kitten home is to understand that:

  • moving home is a huge change for your cat or kitten. Everything will smell different, and feel different for him.

  • If you are bringing a kitten home they may have just left their mum and littermates, which will be very disconcerting for them.

  • Cat’s immune systems are very affected by stress, so it is important to reduce the stress placed on them as much as possible.

Bringing a kitten home: the best way

tick bringing a kitten home the right way

Here is the best way to bring a kitten home:

  1. Before you collect your cat or kitten, prepare a small room in your home for them. Place a scratching post and a clean food and water bowl down for them. Place a clean litter tray with litter in it nearby, but not too close to the food or water bowls. Cats do not like to go to the toilet where they eat! Your kitten breeder should have told you what food and litter your kitten has been using, so make sure you get them the same one.

  2. Make sure that the room is free from kitten dangers: like wires, laundry detergent, shower gel and cleaning products. Find a comprehensive list of household items that are toxic to cats in our article.

  3. Use a clean cat carrier for you kitten, with a clean blanket in. A puppy pad can also be useful if you will be making a long journey - just in case of any accidents!

  4. Once you get your kitten home, place their cat carrier in their room. Make sure that everything is calm and quiet for them. If you have children, explain to them that it is important that they be quiet and relaxed so that they don’t frighten the baby kitten!

  5. Give the kitten 15-30 minutes in their carrier on their own, so they can get used to the smells of the room.

  6. Then, go in and quietly open the door of the cat carrier. You can sit quietly on the floor at this point so you can watch your kitten emerge!

  7. Never try to take the kitten out of the carrier - this will stress them out and mean they take much longer to settle in

  8. Once they have settled in a bit, you can introduce them to some cat toys to try

  9. Keep your kitten confined to this room for a day or two, and then gradually introduce them to the rest of the house, one room at a time.

  10. Some kittens might bounce straight out of the carrier on the first day, and then be more shy on the second day, which is fine - just let them take it in their own time. Other kittens may be very shy at first and get a little better each day

  11. Your kitten may not eat much for the first day or two, or use the litter tray. Keep an eye on what they are drinking, to make sure that they are getting some water - giving them wet food will really help with this. Pay attention to the litter tray - your kitten should do a wee within the first 24-48 hours. If there is nothing in the litter tray after this time, it may be an idea to give your vet a call and just let them know in case they have some advice for you.

Read more...

- understand how important litter tray hygiene is for your new kitten

- find out why not all cat litters are suitable for kittens in our cat litter review

- understand Feline Coronavirus, a common virus in the cat population

- learn what makes a Bombadillo kitten so unique