Whether you are buying or adopting a new kitten, there will also be the uncertainty of whether you and the kitten will get along well in the long run. The environment of your home and the kitten’s personality may just be a few determining factors to whether the kitten will be a good fit as a pet for you. However, while you are ready to care and love the kitten, you would first have to gain its trust before any actual bonding can take place. Thus, having the bond with your kitten overrides all other factors in being the most important one that will not only help the kitten feel safe and secure, but would also ensure a lasting relationship between you and the kitten. In order to accomplish this, below are some tips on the steps to consider in establishing the special bond with your kitten. This begins as early as when the kitten is born and before you bring it home.
Preparing your home for the kitten
A well-prepared home with a cat-friendly environment will help your kitten to adapt quickly to the new environment and for it know that you are its caregiver. It will be good to first bring your new kitten into one room. Invest in plenty of cat toys that will keep it busy. A scratching pole will be very helpful for the kitten to sharpen its claw; it would learn that that the poles are the appropriate places for it to do its scratching.
Include its food bowl, water dishes, litter box and bed in the room and decide on their placements in the room. Keeping these items in their spot permanently will help your kitten to remember where to go to when it needs them. Knowing the type of food that is suitable for your kitty will reduce unnecessary changes in diet, which may cause it to have stomach upset or diarrhea.
The new kitten will most likely be very curious about its new surroundings. Thus, it is important to close up any small holes in which the kitten may get stuck. This will also save you from the trouble having to look for it.
Understanding the different time periods for adaptation and bonding
As much as making the kitten to be familiar with your touch is important, so is its survival after it was born. Thus, there should be minimum handling during its first three days of life. After this, take things slow as you start to handle the kitten on a daily basis. Week three through seven is considered the prime time period to have your kitten bond to the human scent and handling. This period would not just determine the character of the kitten, but also crucial in developing its health.
While it is usual for people to bring their kittens home when the kitten is eight weeks old, it is in fact ideal for the kitten to remain with its mother for at least 12 to 16 weeks. The reason for this is to allow the kitten to have that additional time to build its socialization skills. This gives the kitten the opportunity to observe its mother interacting with other cats or kittens. It is also a period that will be immensely enjoyable both for you and your kitten as it practice running, jumping, pouncing and stalking under the presence of its mother and a familiar environment. If you were to bring the kitten home before this 12 to 16 week time period, do make sure that the breeder has socialized the kitten properly by seven weeks of age. Otherwise, while socialization would still be possible, it would not be as good. Thus, you can ask the breeder how much the kitten has been socialized before bringing it home.
The window of opportunity for the kitten to bond with you and for it to be comfortable with anything, it will likely be involved in later in life will be opened until it is six months old. From the time you brought it home until then, you should be doing all the activities you are going to do with the cat in its lifetime. Thus, if it will be going on trips often, you should get it used to car rides when it is still a tiny kitten. If there will frequent visitation of relatives and friends in the home, expose the kitten to the handling of a variety of people. The same goes with introducing the kitten to your other pets. It is important to note and read the responses of your kitten. If it is acting fearful, tensed up and hyper-alert, take things slower; interactions and activities should be positive during this formative period.
Establishing the bond in the beginning
One of the simplest ways to help your kitten bond with you is to gently pick it up and place it on your lap while it is asleep. Kittens are heavy sleepers and most of them do enjoy physical contact. Gently stroke and pet your kitty, even when it seems like it is waking up. Such interactions will allow your kitty to develop a certain sense of trust and bond towards you.
While it is not sleeping, you can also pick it up and speak to it in a gentle and quiet voice. Hold it for about 5 minutes or a little longer before setting it down again, perhaps in a favorite spot. Holding and speaking to your kitty like this should happen at least once a day.
Building the bond while playing
Being naturally playful, kittens will play with anything. Playing with your kitten is certainly a good way to strengthen the growing bond between the both of you. There are a few games that your kitten should be taught to play, and they include bird, bug, lizard, mouse and rabbit. It is important that the object or toy looks like the insect or animal it is supposed to be, and should also mimic the animal’s actions during interactive play.
The laser pointer can represent a frightened little critter. Recycled materials from home can also be used to make boxes and tunnels where the kitten and the “mouse” can use for cover. Let your kitten win sometimes without making it too easy. Your kitten would savor a greater sense of victory after enjoying the pursuit before the score. Remember to reward it with treats. Your kitten will certainly enjoy regular play sessions with you as you bring its toy alive. The interaction will definitely strengthen the relationship with you while at the same time easing stress.
During playtime, do make sure that your kitten does not play rough and do not encourage it to play with or attack your hands and feet. Such practice would promote aggressive and dominant behavior that is not desirable when the kitten becomes a cat. If your kitten happened to scratch or bite hard on you, you can yelp or stop playing. One way of gauging the appropriate pressure is to think of the maximum pressure you would want the cat to use on a 1-year-old baby; that can be your point of reference to prevent your kitten from engaging in rough play.
Building the bond while grooming
Grooming your kitten provides another good platform for physical interaction and bonding. Once you have gotten the kitten to be familiar with its environment and to your scent, you can start introducing it to the various grooming practices. Starting it early would allow you to figure out the best way of handling your kitten well and for your kitten to get used to being groomed even after it has grown into an adult.
Begin by placing your kitten on the table. Pick up a paw and press gently to reveal the nails. Examine all the nails know the feel of its limbs. To check the ears, you can first examine it visually then move its head about to see the inside. Familiarize yourself again with the feel of its ears. To check for any abnormalities, press gently on its abdomen, and stroke its back and sides. This again would allow you to know the general feel of its body. Check the teeth by opening the kitten’s mouth. Starting at the gum, rub your finger along the length of the teeth. To view the back teeth, gently insert your index finger in the corner of his mouth.
These different steps should take about 5 minutes each. Depending on your kitten’s tolerance of your handling, you may need to vary the number of sessions each day. As with playing, this should not be an adversarial experience. These practices would allow your kitten to grow to be comfortable with your handling, making nail clipping, grooming and teeth cleaning a breeze as well as a bonding time to which your kitten will look forward.