Bringing a New Kitten Home

Welcoming Your New Kitten


Because you're not a mommy cat, you shouldn't carry your new kitty from the scruff of the neck. You could place your hand gently below his chest, holding his legs securely with your fingers, and allow the other hand support what's left over by cupping it about his hindquarters. You can teach other family members to handle him in the same way.

The finest way to bring the new creature home is inside a small box (no lid, as it would frighten him). The best way to bring a full-grown cat home (this is seldom necessary since they typically come to you and are home the second they arrive) is using a cat carrier. A cat carrier is a well-ventilated, enclosed box big enough for your adult cat to turn around inside. It must have a tough carrying handle. Your cat can go anyplace in this box and hardly know he's been there because visibility isn't that great. It is perfect for trips to and from the veterinarian, the kennel or cattery if he should be boarded, or for any sort of travel. Ideal, that is, for you—perhaps a little less than that for the kitty who doesn't flavor confinement. This will keep him from interfering with the proper handling of the automobile by sticking his neck through the steering wheel or stressing to ride in the driver's lap. In any case, it is the safest and most expedient method of transporting a cat from point A to point B.  You can get these carriers at pet shops in a variety of shapes, sizes, materials, and prices.

Since it is likely your new kitten's first ride in a car, he would be reasonably frightened and threatened by the separation from his mom and siblings. The best reassurance you can give him is your voice, speaking gently to him as you softly stroke his back. It will help to relieve some of the trauma of the strange new world he is entering. Remember that he has been wrenched from the protection of his past to come live with a total stranger. He does not like it, but you'll quickly win him over using your winsome ways and a bit of warm milk.

When you get home and bring your kitten safely inside, the rest of the family, as well as the other animals in the household, would want to check out the new resident. This is best made under close supervision. Presumably other pets in the household have learned to obey your commands so they could be warned to be gentle. Your kitten would quickly follow up your orders using a bat of its small, clawed paw if anything with fur comes too near. Throughout these first few hours, the kitten will be terrified and suspicious. Stand by in case something happens. Kitty might be small, but the sound of his already well-developed hiss and the sting of his claws would hold back the largest St. Bernard at arm's length.

Children and adults will prefer to take turns holding the kitten. This must be discouraged, but ordering everyone to look, not touch, is unrealistic. As the kitten is handed from one to the other, he will enjoy a brief instant of security with each chance. When this initiation is over, his apprehensiveness can be eased with a little warm milk and a nap. Next, give him a chance to recover and investigate his new environment. He's been through a lot, and endured more than most humans would. Whenever he awakens he will be a little more at home in his new surroundings.