Your interaction with your new kitten begins during the ride home and all cats should be transported in some kind of carrier in the car. When you get home you should place the kitten in a small, quiet area with water and a litter tray. If possible, duplicate the type of litter material used in the previous home.
When you start to introduce your kitten to the house you should begin the process calmly and ensure the first room you allow your new kitten to explore has been inspected for places where it might hide or get stuck. The kitten needs to be given time to investigate its new surroundings and this process can be helped by limiting the space available and initially supervising the kitten closely but not interfering with exploratory behaviour. After your new kitten has had some quiet time in a restricted location, you can slowly allow access to other areas of the home.
Play and Handling
Kittens need plenty of outlets for play. Stalking and pouncing behaviours are important play behaviours in kittens and aid in developing coordination and muscular control. Sufficient outlets for these behaviours with toys and perhaps a playmate make humans less likely to be used as targets. Good toys are ones that move rapidly and are light enough to be picked up, but large enough so that they are not swallowed. Never use your hands or body parts for play. This can lead to dangerous play and human injury.
Depending on personality and early experiences as a kitten, your cat may enjoy, accept, or dislike, certain types of handling from stroking to bathing. In order for the cat to accept and enjoy a variety of types of physical contact from humans, it is important that the human hand is only associated with positive experiences and that all physical punishment is avoided.
You should begin with those types of handling that the cat enjoys or is willing to accept, and provide small treats at each of the first few sessions. Once the cat learns to associate food with these sessions, slightly longer or more intense sessions can be practised. Handling your cat in this way can be used to help the cat become accustomed to and enjoy, patting, grooming, tooth brushing, claw cutting and even bathing. Never force handling upon your cat as any negative experience will only make the problem worse and the cat more resistant to further handling.
It is important to remember that physical discipline is inappropriate. It can scare your cat and make him or her afraid of being picked up or held throughout its life.
Initially we suggest the kitten be confined to a small area with an appropriate sized litter tray. This allows you to take advantage of a cat’s tendency to eliminate in a loose material. As long as the litter is the only loose substrate available, and especially if it is the same as that used in the previous home, very little effort should be required to litter train the kitten. The other indoor area that may appeal to a cat is the soil around houseplants, avoiding access to houseplants except when under supervision should deal with this problem. Kittens will need to eliminate after they eat, after they wake up and after play. At these times place the kitten in its litter tray and praise him or her for toileting. A kitten does not need to be confined continuously, but should be supervised to prevent accidents and brought back frequently to the appropriate elimination location.