|Posted on April 2, 2014 at 12:10 AM|
The final stage in your
kitten's adjustment is just as important as the earlier ones and should
be handled just as carefully. This is the time where they are meeting
any cat and dog friends you have in your house, and learning to leave
the birds, rabbits, guinea pigs, and fish alone. We do encourage you to
read over the list of poisonous plants we have posted on our site, and
to remove all of them from the house before your kitten even arrives
home. If you did not have time to get to it then, please take the time
before letting your kitten have free roam of your home. Rehoming a
gorgeous houseplant is much less stressful in the long run than an
emergency Vet visit in the middle of the night with a desperately ill
kitten or cat.
Steps to take before allowing your kitten free roam:
1. Remove poisonous plants.
2. Tape or remove loose wires or cords.
3. Secure or put away fragile art and glass pieces.
4. Ensure all windows are safely screened and not open more than two inches. Anything wider and a curious kitten can press against the screening and fall out.
5. Evaluate placement of pets such as birds and fish to ensure their safety.
6. Cover plugs with caps.
7. Consider removing curtains or tying them up temporarily.
8. Look at the house with an eye to where a curious kitten might exit and discuss with your human family how to protect your kitten from accidental escape.
9. Bring other cats and dogs to the door of the kitten's room, so that they have a chance to smell and here her.
10. If you have other cats, start to trade their litter boxes with the kitten's so that they get used to the smell of each other.
When you introduce your kitten to other furry friends:
1. Remain with your pets at all times.
2. Put your new kitten in her crate with the door closed. Place the crate near you as you sit there talking calmly to the kitten, allowing the other animals to come up and smell the new family member. You may hear the kitten growling and also your other cats. Dogs who are familiar with cats are generally blase or happy about the newest family member.
3. After about 15 minutes, take kitten back to her room.
4. Repeat either later in the day or the next day. The third time, have your kitten out and about and any other cats crated, or your dog(s) on leash. Allow the kitten to explore the room (preferably one with doors).
5. Another step is to have the other animals in her room and allow her run of the house (be sure she knows where the litter box is!).
6. If you have other cats, the best rule of thumb for number of litter boxes is one per cat, plus one. This ensures there is always a free box!
7. Continue the paced meetings until you are supervising face to face encounters. Cats have a dominant social hierarchy. It may take time for the old and new felines to adjust. Watch carefully. It will be a judgment call on whether to intervene. At some point they will need to work out the social order. You just don't want that to occur in a way that will wreck the gentle adjustment you've provided.
8. When you feel confident in their behavior, allow them all to interact while you are not there - but are within ear shot. Do go in and out of the room(s). It's no fun to return to what you thought was a peaceful situation to find your kitten terrified and shaking silently under a chair or in a corner.
Be sure to have your kitten in her safe room when you are not there to supervise - whether you have other pets or not. This is especially important at night when you can't be there to oversee her and be sure she is not in trouble.
There can be set backs during transition. Do not be discouraged. Simply "back up" a phase or two and wait there until your kitten has "readjusted" and then again move forward. Please be sure to be in contact with us if you are concerned about your kitten's adjustment, or any of the phases. We are here to walk you through this and be sure that you and your new kitten have a happy, healthy life together!!
Kate & Carolyn