Kitten 101: What to know as a new cat parent

kitten being held in a blue blanket

Playful kittens can make a great addition to your home, and we always see an influx of young animals in our shelters over the warm summer months. 

If you’re considering adopting a new furry family member this kitten season, here are a few tips for how you can help them adjust to their new home.

Create a safe space

When welcoming a new kitten into your home, we recommend setting them up in their own separate room – like a large bathroom or a guest room. They should have access to food and water, their litter box, a scratching post, and plenty of toys all in one spot so they have everything they need while they get used to the new smells and sounds around them. 

Whatever their cozy space looks like, be sure they don’t have access to any large heights or anything dangerous that could hurt them when you aren’t supervising.

Kittens are tiny and can fit into small spaces, so be sure to kitten-proof the rest of your home to prevent them from getting into anything dangerous. This could include tying up dangling cords, hiding fragile knick-knacks, locking up any hazardous chemicals, shutting doors to off limits spaces, and making sure all windows and doors are securely latched. 

Cat batting a toy mouse

Physical and mental enrichment ideas

While cats can be pretty laid-back, it’s still important to provide your new best friend with plenty of enrichment

Whether you want to give your kitten a complex puzzle feeder or a simply adorable DIY toy, carve out some play time in your day! 

Cats love staying active by climbing or watching what’s happening outside so as your kitten gets bigger, providing cat trees and vertical spaces near windows can be a great way to keep them mentally stimulated throughout the day. Cats also have different play styles that vary from one to another, so it can be helpful to learn what kind of play your cat prefers. 

First-time cat parent? Check out our list of kitten supplies so you can find everything you need to welcome your new pet! 

Ready to find your new best friend? Check out our list of available cats and kittens who are ready for adoption! 

Tips for introducing a new kitten to the rest of your home 

If you’ll be introducing your kitten to another cat in your home, there are several tips you can follow to help make the transition as smooth and stress-free as possible for every feline in your family. 

Remember to take things slow and give everyone plenty of time to get used to each other. Introductions should be kept short at first, and we recommend starting by feeding each cat on opposite sides of a closed door. 

If you’re introducing a kitten to a dog in your home, it’s important for your kitten to have a dog-free safe space while they adjust to the change. You can follow these tips, and we recommend keeping your dog on a leash every time they have a face-to-face meeting with the new kitten. 

Don’t be discouraged if it takes time for pets to adjust to each other! It’s always best to go at their own pace, and our free Pet Helpline is here to support you if you have any questions or concerns. 

Cat training at AHS

Did you know AHS offers behavior support and training for cats too? Check out our list of available cat behavior webinars or learn more about scheduling with an expert AHS trainer. 

Learn More about Cat Training