Taking Charcoal Home
Before we even thought of taking our little rescue kitten Charcoal home, we had to kitten proof everything. The outlets, the climbing surfaces, the electronics, absolutely everything had to be accounted for in the case of something going wrong. We didn’t know much about how our new kitten would play or climb, or if he would chew or scratch. We didn’t know if he was litter trained, or if we would need puppy pads. It was a rather daunting task to look forward to, but we did look forward to it.
After we were sure everything was taken care of, from hiding cords to taping up unused outlets, we set up a room for a kitten to be introduced to. It was a small room that we could put the carrier in, open the door, and let him explore all on his own. He took a little time to come out of the carrier, but once he was exploring, it was wonderful!
What a Curious Kitten He Was!
He was curious about all the things we’d done to the room. We put a little box in the corner for him, a few new scratching surfaces, and tons of toys. We had a blanket for him to curl up in, and plenty of room on the bookshelf to hide in (of course, the shelves were tested ahead of time for sturdiness). He climbed all over the place once he was comfortable, but it took a few days.
For the first night, I slept in the room with him. He didn’t sleep near me, but he did sleep eventually, after a very long play session. Charcoal the rescue kitten was warming up to his new space!
A Few Patient Days later…
It took a few days for him to be completely comfortable with anyone coming in or leaving the room. Once he was comfortable with exploring just the small room, which we designated the Cat Room, he was comfortable enough to sleep next to me. Of course, he would nap in my lap during the day by the end of day 2, but sleeping through the night was a feat. Eventually, this would change, but for the first week, he would play in the middle of the night, every night. He was still learning our routine.
Every cat is different, though I can give you some tips from what I have learned with my own experience.
- Having a separate space for the kitten to be introduced to is important. It helps them feel safe, especially if you have other cats to introduce them to. It’s a good idea for them to have a space that they feel is theirs, that they can relax away from others, be that human, feline, or otherwise.
- Have patience. Your new kitten is likely scared and lonely. They don’t know what to expect, and neither do you. If you have a chewer, try not to lose your patience, take away the chewed-up things and try to encourage chewing behaviors with other toys. Silicone chews are perfect for teething kittens, too.
- If necessary, use hormonal relaxants and positive reinforcement. We used Feliway™ with our kitten, and it worked wonders to keep him from being quite so stressed out when we introduced him to the space. Consult your vet and follow the instructions on the package, always.
- If there are other animals in the home, don’t introduce them immediately. A cold introduction works for some animals, but not all. You don’t want your new kitten hurting your other animals or vice-versa.
- Sleep around the kitten. This helps show them that you don’t see them as a threat and gives them time to explore you and your scent while completely relaxed. It helps, also, for bonding. If you want a certain someone to be bonded to, let them see and take care of the kitten the most. It isn’t a guarantee, but it’s a good start!
- Have fun! This kitten is playful and wants to be entertained! Play with toys, don’t encourage hand-chewing but don’t yell at or spray the new kitten – they’re still scared of you! Rewards and treats are important to play, too, especially if you’re planning on training your kitten later!
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