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By Yahaira Cespedes
Perhaps you have given a lot of thought into bringing a new kitten home, or perhaps a sweet, loving feline chose you. Either way, the day you decide to bring your new four-legged family addition home is undoubtedly special. And then the panic sets in.
All of a sudden you realize that this tiny creature is completely dependent on you to keep it safe, fed, healthy and happy. What’s more, even at a very young age cats are quick and agile. Where to start on the daunting task of kitten-proofing your home?
The very best way to gain some secure footing is to ask your veterinarian for advice. If you haven’t already booked your kitten’s first checkup with a veterinarian, now’s the time to do so.
A veterinarian will most likely give you an overview of what to expect from your kitten’s curious and exploratory nature. The more you know to expect beforehand, the less likely your new kitten will injure itself while staking out its new home territory.
The next good step to take prior to bringing your new kitten home for good is to fit them with identification. When getting used to their new home environment, a kitten is more likely to accidentally wander outside. There are several forms of identification from ID tags to microchips. You can read more about different types of ID for cats (and dogs) from this interactive slideshow.
Before bringing your new kitten home, take a good look around your home. Do you use pesticides such as rodent or bug repellants in your home? If you do, consider non-toxic alternatives. Kittens may accidentally ingest these poisons and get very sick, or worse.
There are also quite a few plants that are toxic to cats, including poinsettias and lilies. Kittens love to chew on plants (it aids their digestion). More information on what plants to avoid or remove from your home can be found in this interactive slideshow.
When a kitten is introduced to a new environment, the first thing it will try to do is find a safe place. Take care to secure tight spots where your kitten can get stuck or tangled in such as air vents, window shades, and torn screen doors.
You want your entire family to peacefully co-habituate with each other, so it’s important to give them all a basic introduction on your kitten’s behavior. This includes letting your kitten peacefully hide out for a couple of days and come out of its own accord.
If your family includes young children, let them know it is not okay to startle the kitten when it is eating. Your kitten will resent the intrusion and may develop distrustful feelings towards the children. Keep in mind that frightened kittens will bite and scratch.
One of the most effective ways to gain the trust of kittens is to bond by feeding them. Just as some plants present a potential health risk to cats, there are also foods your family should refrain from feeding the kitten, such as cooked bones, turkey, anything with garlic or onions, and chocolate.
By following these simple steps on kitten-proofing, and with the advice of your veterinarian, your new cat will feel at home in no time!