Handling a Needy Kitty

Help your new kitten transition smoothly into its new home.

By Lindsey Getz

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Introducing a kitten to its new home is exciting for pet owners. It’s fun to watch the kitten explore its new environment and grow more comfortable with the space. But what if a new kitten doesn’t seem to adjust? Experts share their advice on helping a new kitten become more independent.

More Than One
The ideal situation is to adopt more than one kitten, says Terry Marie Curtis, a veterinarian and clinical behaviorist at the University of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine. “Or even better, the mom with one or more of the kittens,” she says. “Cats are very social. But if the kitten is all alone at the beginning of its time in a new house, start by restricting the area that it has.”

During the first week or so, keep the kitten in a confined area to help it feel safe.

“Very young kittens are more likely to show distress behaviors when they are separated, hungry or even when they have to use the litterbox,” says Ilana Reisner, a veterinarian and assistant professor of behavioral medicine at the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. “A kitten that gets lost in a house and feels ‘trapped’ might vocalize and act distressed. Ironically this can be prevented by decreasing the amount of space it has to explore.”

**For the full article, pick up the April 2007 issue of CAT FANCY.**

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Reader Comments

lavinia    sydney, NY

11/1/2009 2:19:41 PM

Hi I was given a kitten at the weekend, she hid behind a curtain but before I could get her she ran off and she must be hiding somewhere in the house. I have looked everywhere and left food and water in different places. SHe is not making any noise,but she was very quiet even before getting lost. Has anyone any suggestions. We are a caring family and have done nothing to frighten her

S    S, SC

3/8/2009 12:45:08 PM

I adopted a cat from a local animal shelter about 7 months ago. It took her a long time to adjust.

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