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HomeDear VetBabbleHow Can I Help My Skittish Kitten Adjust to Her New Home?

How Can I Help My Skittish Kitten Adjust to Her New Home?


Dear VetBabble,

I recently adopted a 4-month-old kitten and she seems to be very frightened and skittish. She meows constantly, doesn’t allow me to pick her up and hides whenever she gets the chance. What can I do to help her adjust and feel more comfortable in her new home?

Helping Your New Kitten Adjust to Her New Home

Firstly, congratulations on the newest addition to your family! Bringing home a new kitten is an exciting time for both you and your furry friend. It’s natural for your new kitten to feel nervous and scared during this initial adjustment period, but don’t worry! With some patience, love, and the right approach, you can help her overcome these fears and truly feel at home in her new surroundings. In this article, we’ll break down some helpful tips into three main sections: creating a safe and welcoming environment, introducing your kitten to your existing pets, and using calming aids like Feliway to help ease her anxiety.

Creating a Safe and Welcoming Environment

Moving to an entirely new environment can be quite overwhelming for a young kitten. To help your new furry friend feel safe and comfortable, it’s essential to follow a few tips when bringing home a new cat. First, designate a small, quiet room in your house as your kitten’s “safe haven.” This room should include a litter box, food and water dishes, toys, a scratching post, and a comfortable bed.

During the first few days, limit your kitten’s access to other areas of your home and only gradually introduce her to larger spaces. This will give her some time to adjust to her new surroundings and gradually build her confidence. Also, try to keep a calm, quiet household during this time.

As your kitten becomes more comfortable in her “safe haven,” you can slowly introduce her to the rest of your home, including larger rooms and areas where she might interact with other pets or family members. Remember to be patient and avoid forcing her into situations that might make her feel uncomfortable. For more tips and insights on the first days and nights at home, you can check out our guide on the first night home with a new kitten.

Introducing Your Kitten to Your Existing Pets

Introducing your new kitten to your existing pets may require some patience and structure. Steps should be taken to ensure a smooth introduction and to avoid conflicts between them. During the initial stages of integration, it’s essential to segregate the new kitten from your existing pets, allowing them to establish their own separate territory.

Gradually introduce your new kitten to the scents of your existing pets and vice versa. You can do this by swapping their blankets or toys, or by exchanging scents on a cloth or pet brush. Once they have become familiar with each other’s scent, you can start to introduce them through a baby gate or a partially opened door. This will enable them to observe and get used to each other without any direct contact.

When it’s time for the first face-to-face meeting, make sure to supervise their interactions, reward positive behavior, and separate them if any aggressive behavior arises. It’s important to note that full integration can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks. For a more detailed guide on this topic, check out our article on introducing a new cat to your existing cat.

Using Feliway and Other Calming Aids

Calming aids like Feliway are effective tools that can help reduce stress and anxiety in your new kitten. Feliway is a synthetic version of the “happy” pheromones that cats release when they rub their cheeks against objects in their environment. By using a Feliway diffuser in your home, you may help create a calm atmosphere for your kitten to feel more secure and relaxed.

In addition to Feliway, other calming aids such as interactive toys, calming treats, and hiding spots can help your young kitten feel more comfortable and less stressed in her new environment. Providing sufficient environmental enrichment is crucial to your kitten’s well-being, and our partners at The Drake Center have an excellent guide on how to achieve this. You can also watch this helpful YouTube video to learn more strategies for keeping your kitten entertained and stress-free.

With a combination of patience, love, and the right approach, your kitten will eventually overcome her fears and feel comfortable and secure in her new home. Best of luck to you both as you embark on this new journey together!

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