Ask Dr Claire
We just got a kitten and her she keeps us up all night. It’s only been two days but we want to establish a good schedule so that she learns quickly and sleeps when we sleep. Any suggestions?
When kittens first come home, they should be confined to an area such as a bathroom with their food, water, litter box, and a good elevated place to rest or sleep. Allow your kitten to adjust to the new sounds and smells of the place. As your lil kitten becomes more comfortable, you can gradually let them have increased (but supervised) access to the house.
To set you and your kitten up for a successful and awesome relationship there are a number of things you need to provide.
Some very obvious but these include:
- Food: Balanced, highly digestible food.
- Water: Fresh daily, multiple locations.
- Litter tray (1 per cat in home plus an extra in cases of many cats in the house)
- Scratching post: Scratching is a must behaviour for cats – you just want it to be on the post – not in the furniture! Make your furniture unappealing by the use of double sided sticky tape, aluminum foil, sheets of sandpaper, or a plastic carpet runner with the tacky point side up, and your post appealing by using a surface your kitten likes and rewarding with treats and praise when they go in the right spot.
- An enriched environment: a set up that allows exploration, hiding in hidey-holes, climbing and resting on perches.
- Play: We need to schedule multiple times a day of play with youtr kitten- always through toys not hands, feet etc! Try prey-type toys like as toy mice attached to a wand or rope that can be moved around to stimulate hunting. Food puzzles are also very stimulating for cats.
- Sleep: safe, quiet space. Can be in your room, in another secure room or even in an appropriate cat crate (see below).
- Socialisation: lots of petting and handling. Kittens should also be exposed to a variety of people and other animals in a safe and positive manner, also creating a positive relationship with their carrier.
- Training: rewards based and positive approach
If these aspects aren’t provided for your kitten will be stressed and potentially engage in undesirable behaviours.
Feliway diffusers which are a replica of a calming pheromone for cats can help reduce any stress involved with moving into a new place.
Finding the right schedule really does depend on your circumstances and your individual cats temperament.
If you’d like to chat in person, you can get a vet on a live video call or start a chat to discuss in more detail.
We’re on stand-by to help!