Caring for your new kitten
Settling in: the first 2-3 weeks
- Confine indoors for 2-3 weeks until settled or your new kitten may escape and run away.
- If your new kitten is very small, confine indoors for a few more weeks or until at least 4-6 months old.
- Confine in an ESCAPE –PROOF “Safe Room” on arrival home until your new kitten is relaxed, friendly, eating well & using the litter box.
- Over the next 2-3 weeks return your new kitten to the Safe Room whenever you cannot supervise its activities.
- If you intend your new kitten to live indoors only, follow the same procedure noted above, but escape-proof the entire house, as eventually most cats will find a way out.
- If your new kitten is to be allowed outside, begin during the day, under supervision.
- Ensure that your kitten always has a safe route back inside.
- Fresh water should always be available.
- Dry KITTEN chow should be fed two or four times a day. When your kitten is 6 months old, reduce to twice a day.
- A small amount of canned/moist cat food can also be fed & will help your new kitten settle in.
- Uneaten food should be thrown away & all bowls kept clean.
- Do not feed spicy food, bones or milk.
- A litter box and litter (commercial litter, wood shavings, sand, earth) will be needed for the settling in period.
- Do not place the litter box too close to the feeding area.
- Litter boxes should be cleaned at least twice a day. If the box is dirty your kitten will not use it.
- Place your new kitten in the litter box whenever it wakes up and after each meal, until it is consistently using it.
- If your kitten has a “toilet accident”, do not scold it. Do not use ammonia-based disinfectants or bleach to clean up messes.
- If your kitten is to live indoors only, a large litter box will eventually be needed. If you have several indoor cats, it is advisable to have one litter box per cat or ideally; one box per cat and one extra.
Rest and sleep
- Moving to a new home is unsettling and your new kitten will need time to adjust to the change.
- Provide a quiet, secluded area and do not disturb your kitten when it is asleep.
- Attention and play will help your new kitten to settle in.
- Provide toys (table tennis balls, toy mice, paper bags etc.). Discourage “hand play” (use a cat “wand” instead).
- To avoid your kitten scratching your furniture, provide a scratch mat or post.
Grooming and daily care
- Kittens do not usually need to be bathed.
- Longhaired kittens should be groomed regularly.
- Check daily for problems like runny eyes or nose, diarrhea, or vomiting.
- Consult a vet ASAP.
- Nails can be clipped (best done by a vet). De-clawing is considered in humane.
Veterinary care, fleas, worms.
- Young T&TSPCA kittens are given 4 vaccinations (4 weeks apart) between 6 – 16 weeks, then given a yearly booster.
- Kittens older than 16 weeks are given 2 vaccinations (4 weeks apart), then given a yearly booster.
- If your new kitten seems unwell (not eating, listless, vomiting, diarrhea, etc.), contact a vet ASAP.
- Treat for fleas monthly with approved pet products or consult your vet.
- Worm for tape worms every three months, best done by a vet.
- All T&TSPCA kittens and cats are spayed/neutered before adoption.
Introduction to other household animals
- Delay face-to-face introduction to household CATS/KITTENS for a week.
- Supervise the first meeting and time together until you are confident that there will be no show of aggression.
- Avoid exposure to household DOGS until your new kitten seems well settled or for at least one week if the kitten settles sooner.
- Ensure that the dogs are restrained (eg: on a lead) at the first meeting and are reprimanded if they show any undesirable behavior.
- Supervise all interactions between the kitten and dog/s until the kitten is at least 4 months old or until you are confident that the dog/s will not be aggressive or chase the kitten.
- Ensure that your kitten always has an escape route away from your dog/s and a safe area where the dog/s cannot reach it.
- If you decide that the kitten is in danger and the situation cannot be resolved, please return the kitten to the T&TSPCA.
Introduction to children
- Children must be taught how to handle and interact with your new kitten (do not disturb while sleeping/eating, be gentle, no grabbing, pulling etc.).
- Initial interaction time must be limited and supervised.
- If startled, hurt or over stimulated through play or affection, kittens may scratch or bite, potentially harming children.
- Contact the T&TSPCA for advice if there are any problems with your new kitten (not settling well, litter box concerns, issues with household cats or dogs etc.). However, if your kitten is unwell, consult a vet.
- If you cannot keep your new kitten, please return it to the T&TSPCA.
- If you find an alternative home for your new kitten within the first year after adoption, notify the T&TSPCA for approval (see terms of the Adoption Agreement).