Springtime in the animal world is commonly known as kitten season, because this is the time of year when most are born. While kittens are cute, cuddly, and fun companions, to ensure that your feline friend becomes a happy, healthy adult, you must begin their training and socialization when they are extremely young. Read our Neighborhood Veterinary Centers of Jordan Ranch team tips to learn how to raise a successful, well-adjusted kitten.

#1: Set up a cat-friendly home

Before bringing home your kitten, ensure you have everything they need to feel safe and secure. If you have other cats, this is an excellent opportunity to take inventory to determine whether each can access the resources they need without having to vie for competition. To learn more about setting up a cat-friendly home, go to catfriendly.com. In the meantime, your new kitten’s basic supplies should include:

  • Food and water bowls — Provide a set for each household cat in a designated eating area.
  • Litter boxes — Set up at least one per house level and one per household cat, plus one more.
  • Safe sleeping and resting areas — Cats like to sleep in small, cozy spaces such as boxes, baskets, and elevated cat furniture lined with blankets. Give your kitten multiple options in quiet areas near your home’s central gathering areas.
  • Perches — Cats like to climb vertically to feel safe and survey their territory. Window perches also provide entertainment where your kitten can watch birds and squirrels outside.
  • Play — Cats need daily playtime with interactive toys, food puzzles, and their humans. Play simulates and provides an outlet for natural feline hunting and stalking behaviors.
  • Scratching posts — Cats scratch to communicate, and they leave their scent on household items to mark their territory. Place multiple vertical and horizontal scratching surfaces near your home’s central gathering areas to prevent your kitten from scratching furniture, carpeting, and drapery.
  • Positive and predictable human interactions — Maintain a routine and offer your new kitten positive interactions by allowing them to choose the amount and type of human interaction they prefer.

#2: Take your new kitten to the veterinarian

As soon as your new kitten has settled into your home, you should bring them to our Neighborhood Veterinary Centers of Jordan Ranch to see your veterinarian for a  checkup. Young kittens need vaccinations, deworming, flea, tick, and heartworm preventives, and a spay or neuter surgery if the animal shelter or rescue organization from which they came did not perform the procedure. Our knowledgeable veterinary team members will also explain common cat health problems of which you should be aware, nutrition, basic husbandry such as nail trimming, and how to address young kittens’ common behavioral issues.

#3: Focus on early and frequent socialization with your kitten

Most people know that socialization is essential for dogs, but socializing your kitten is equally important. A well-socialized kitten is friendly and outgoing with strangers, copes well with stressful events, and is generally well-adjusted to indoor life with humans. 

Unfortunately, the peak time for humans to handle a kitten is when your feline friend is 2 to 7 weeks old, when most are still with their mother. Still, you can teach your kitten social skills as soon as they come home by exposing them to adults, kids, other pets, their carrier, car rides, visiting other homes, handling, nail trims, eye drop administration, toothbrushing, and all other situations to which you think your kitten should adapt. Acquaint your kitten with these situations when they are extremely young, and keep each experience positive. In addition, consider enrolling your new feline friend in a kitten kindergarten class. 

#4: Introduce your kitten to other pets slowly

When your kitten first comes home, they should be confined to a small space, separated from other pets by a gate or door. By confining your new kitten, you give them time to learn to use the litter box, and meet other household pets through scent and by seeing each other through the gate. Once everyone is comfortable, you can gradually expand your kitten’s territory, and allow them to interact with their new housemates for longer periods. Ensure your kitten and other household cats have places to which they can retreat on their own if they need some peace and quiet.

Our Neighborhood Veterinary Centers of Jordan Ranch team members are experts in kitten health care, and we’re here to answer questions about your new feline friend’s social, emotional, and physical needs. Schedule your new kitten’s first veterinary visit with our team. We can also refer you to trainers and recommend kitten classes in the Fulshear, Texas region if your young feline friend is extra shy or exhibiting behavioral problems.