You’ve finally found your perfect Pixie Bob kitten. Great and congratulations!
What kitten care should you provide when you bring it home? Do you remember everything your new fur baby’s breeder told you? Maybe not and that’s understandable. You’re way too excited to focus on anything else!
Breeders are always happy to share their knowledge with you, but it is often hard for new owners to remember everything about kitten care they were told. This series of articles will help ensure that your transition goes smoothly by reminding you of important tips and tricks related to the care of your Pixie Bob!
- Prepare your home.
- The first two weeks in the new home.
- Introduction into the home after the first two weeks.
- Meeting all family members.
- Meeting the dog.
- Meeting the other cat(s).
Prepare your home
Let’s just start with preparing your home for the arrival of your dream Pixie Bob.
Kittens will continuously teeth until they are about 6-7 months old. While teething, they tend to seek relief by chewing on things – just like a human baby would. Anything and everything goes. Cables – check! Toilet paper rolls – check! Throw rug fringe – check!
Now, it’s not a big deal if the kitten shreds and eats toilet paper. But any kind of strings or worse – electrical cables can be quite dangerous.
Do yourself the favor and buy simple cord covers and temporarily stash anything that has strings on it or could be dissolved into strings.
Here is an inexpensive, easy-to-use cord protector that will save the kitten from harm and prevent you having to replace cords – en masse.
The first two weeks in the new home
You should always confine your kitten in a small room (even a bathroom will do) for the first two weeks. Why you should ask. Won’t it be lonely?
Your home is familiar to you. It is not familiar to the kitten. There are new sounds, new sights, new people, and new smells. All that can overwhelm your kitten.
Let’s just start with the new smells. Do you know how cats find their litterbox? Well, they find it by smell.
“Excuse me! I keep the litterbox pristinely clean. I don’t like to smell it at all.”
To be honest, nobody likes to smell a litterbox. But don’t forget that a cat’s smell is 14 times better than yours. It is absolutely a fact that cats know where their litterbox is by smell. Keeping your kitten in a separate room for the first two weeks allows it to put its smell on the litterbox. If you cut this time short, you might find your kitten getting confused and eliminating in places other than the litterbox.
Even the best-socialized kitten will be apprehensive when meeting new people. It is in their DNA. They don’t know you from Adam. For all they know, you could be a predator meaning them harm. Most kittens will relax in just a couple of days but you still need to continue confining them for two weeks.
And this becomes even more important when you have an existing cat. Rehoming is stressful for a kitten and the higher the stress, the more likely they might come down with a case of the sniffles. Do you really want to take two cats to the vet for treatment?
Give your kitten the gift of confinement. It is a gift. It’s a small space they can easily survey and it makes them feel safe.
Introduction into the home after the first two weeks
The two-week confinement is over and it’s time for your new furry fluffball to dash out into your house. OK, not so fast.
I highly recommend that you do so gradually. Open the door to the room where you kept the kitten. Close the doors to all other rooms. That way, the kitten has a limited area it can explore for 3-5 days. During that time, please keep the litterbox in the exact same place. Do not move it until the introduction to the entire house has been completed.
After 3-5 days, you can open one door to another room. And from there, you rinse and repeat until the kitten has access to the entire home.
One note of caution, if you have more than one level in your house, there needs to be one litterbox per level until the kitten is around 6-7 months of age. Kittens younger than this have the attention span of a 2-year-old child and they might play upstairs, needing to relieve themselves and simply not remember where that litterbox is located.
Meeting all family members
Now, if it’s just you or you and your partner, you can simply skip that step. But let’s just say you are a family with two kids.
During the initial period of confinement, you can start the introduction after the first 2 days – one child at a time. Don’t have your kiddos go into the confinement room, all excited, trying to grab the kitten. This is a surefire way for your kitten to grow into a cat that doesn’t like kids.
Many of us also consider friends part of the family. Please refrain from friends coming over to meet the new furry family member for the first month. This is too much for a kitten to handle. Just don’t do it no matter how much your friends want to meet the Fluffinator.
Meeting the dog
First, please wait until the kitten has finished confinement and has been in some parts of the house for about a week. After 3 weeks, you can give it a whirl.
One might be tempted to allow the dog to approach the kitten when they first meet but don’t allow that to happen – particularly if your new kitten has never seen a dog before.
If you don’t already have a crate for your dog – get one. Put the doggy in the crate and allow the kitten to approach the dog on its own terms.
You’ll most definitely see some posturing and even hissing on part of the kitten. That’s alright. Keep in mind that a kitten will interpret your dog’s wagging tail as a sign of imminent attack. It will take a while before the kitten realizes that the wagging tail doesn’t mean “danger” but that it’s o.k.
Continue having your dog and the new kitten meet in the above-mentioned way until the kitten shows no signs of posturing and no longer hisses but is curious about “that thing” in the crate. Then it is time to open the crate door and allow these two to meet snout-to-snout for the first time.
A word of caution – never, ever allow your kitten unaccompanied with the dog for the first 3-4 months while you are not at home.
Meeting the other cat(s)
There’s a process to properly introduce your new kitten to the existing cats. Trust me – if you follow this to the “T”, it’ll be a smashing success.
Cats are territorial. The new kitten smells as though it does not belong. It takes time for the new kitten to start smelling like your home.
You can somewhat hasten this process by grabbing your towel after you are done with your shower and rubbing the kitten down with it. This transfers your scent onto the kitten.
But wait – there’s more! While the kitten is in confinement, place a bowl of food for each cat on opposite sites of the door behind which the kitten is. That way, your current cat(s) are “forced” to eat where they can smell that kitten.
Observe closely – once you see some “footsie action” going on under that door when your cat(s) start playing with the kitten and once all hissing has subsided, it is time for your cat(s) to meet the newcomer.
The moral of the story
Take your time with everything. Cats naturally do not fancy change. The slower you go, the higher your chances of succeeding and making adding a new family member of the feline persuasion a success.
Nothing is hard than undoing the damage done if you move too fast. In some instances, you won’t be able to repair said damage and your kitten might end up fearful or hate the dog or your existing cat(s) will never accept the newcomer.
If you follow these instructions, you will be successful.