I just bought a kitten and I don’t own any other animals. What is the best way to introduce it to my home?

Even though you might not have other animals to introduce a new cat or kitten to, you still should take some time to carefully acclimate the kitten to your home. A kitten that is not properly acclimated might become overstressed or fail to use the litter box correctly.

First, in the days before you bring your new kitten/cat home, decide what room is going to be their "home base." This is where you will set up a litter pan, food, and water bowl. Usually a bedroom or a bathroom attached to a bedroom is chosen. Talk to the breeder to make sure your litter pan and litter are what the kitten is used to. When you get home, carry the kitten in to the room in their carrier and open the door to the carrier in the room (with the carrier on the floor). You can sit on the floor with the kitten, but do not try to force it out of the carrier. Leave the carrier in the room for a few days so the kitten as a "safe" place to be. (Bedrooms are not as preferable because sometimes a scared cat or kitten might hide under the bed.)

It is very important to NOT invite all your friends over the first few days to come see the kitten. Excessive handling while the kitten is adjusting to your home can really stress a cat or kitten out.

After the kitten seems comfortable in the room, you can open the door to allow them to investigate the rest of the home. If your home is a large home or has more than one story, be sure to show the kitten where the litter pan is every hour or so in the first day it is exploring. This is similar to asking a small child if they need to use the restroom during breaks on a long drive. Small kittens might not think about needing to use the litter pan until it is urgent; if they can't find the litter pan quickly, they might instead find a convenient corner. If the room that the kitten was originally introduced to is not going to be the location for the litter pan, be sure to have two litter pans until the kitten definitely knows where the permanent pan is located. Avoid using a hooded litter pan (especially one with a flap) for the first few days. If you have any specific problems with getting the kitten to adjust to your household, be sure to contact the breeder ASAP for assistance.