Kitten Purchase/Adoption and Confirming the Kitten’s age
Your kitten will be between 8-12 weeks old before you are able to take it home and introduce it to its new lifestyle This can vary, but a responsible seller will not allow the kitten to leave the mother until it has finished weaning and has begun the stage of developing on its own. It should, too, be able to recognise its own toilet needs and no longer have to rely on the mother to lick its bottom to stimulate the urination process.
Before you take your kitten home, you should take time to check that it looks bright, healthy and happy. A good seller will encourage you to do this and may even require you to do this as a part of the handing-over process. You should look at
- The kitten’s coat. It should be smooth and soft with no bald patches which could be caused by ringworm
- The kitten’s movements. If it is scratching a lot, this could be an indication that it is suffering with the flea parasite
- The kitten’s eyes, which should be wide open, bright and free of mucus or gunge
- The kitten’s nose, which should be velvety soft and, like the eyes, should be mucus-free
Depending on where you get the kitten, find out if any vaccination/innoculation treatment has been started and, if so, make sure that you receive the written paperwork. Also ask if there has been any other treatment, eg worming, fleas. Once you are satisfied that your kitten is healthy, you are ready to complete the hand-over. To be doubly sure that it is healthy, you might consider pre-booking a vet appointment. This would most certainly give you peace of mind and also enable the veterinarian practice to create a surgery record straight from the get go. Your vet will, most likely, steer you in the correct direction for food, litter and general wellbeing.
Before leaving, ask the seller which type of food your kitten has been receiving. You will most likely be advised to continue feeding in this way, gradually introducing other nourishing foods. Changing food too early may result in an upset stomach and vomitting, so it is worthwhile heeding this advice.
Your first car journey together –
These days, most new owners use a travel crate to transfer their kitten home. Naturally, this will be a new, and probably traumatic experience for kitten and owner alike. However, the enclosed space will provide a sense of security along with ensuring a safe transportation method.
Arriving home –
You would be well advised to have a designated area pre-prepared for the arrival. Kit it out with a bed, water, food, toys, litter tray and, if you can, something from the kitten’s previous environment – a blanket or towel, perhaps. Oh, and make sure that there is nothing harmful or valuable around. Kittens like to explore the most unexpected areas so be vigilant and organised.
One important note- make sure that you position your kitten’s litter tray at a good distance from food and water bowls. Naturally clean animals, a cat will not react well to having its toilet needs near to its sustenance needs.
Don’t be disappointed if your kitten is shy and timid. It will take a little while for it to become accustomed to new surroundings and especially so if there are other people and animals around. Give it time to explore and to become familiar with its new domain. Your kitten will let you know when it is ready to grace the rest of the house and the family with its presence.
If you have kids, gradually let them spend time with the kitten and help them to understand that it will take a few days until their new pet is ready to play. Increase the time you spend with kitty during the next few days. Talk softly and pet occasionally. Offer a few treats to gain trust. Introduce any other animals slowly keeping a watchful eye out for any reaction. There are no hard and fast rules as all kittens develop at their own speed. Time spent on familiarisation during the early stages should ensure a solid foundation on which to build a mutual trusting and loving relationship.
As kittens are naturally curious, it will soon be exploring the remainder of the house and, in no time at all, will become a valued and much loved member of the family.