Each kitten takes a different amount of time, but once your pet feels comfortable with you, you can then expand its horizons a little at a time when you think they are ready.
Also, make sure it is safe for your kitten to go around by removing cords, plants, closing open windows, etc.
Before you let your kitten freely roam around your house, once you have taken these 8 steps, so your new, furry friend stays safe.
- Keep your kitten in one room at first.
- Remove cords, plants, and fragile objects.
- Install baby locks on cabinet doors.
- Close off tight spaces.
- Secure doors and windows.
- Put a collar and bell on the kitten.
- Schedule regular playtimes.
- Gradually allow access to the rest of the house.
By taking the steps listedabove to kitten-proof your home, you can minimize the chances your fluffy friend will get hurt or lost. You’ll also reduce the chances that your new pet will damage your possessions.
1. Keep Your Kitten in a Single Room at First
Some people call a kitten’s first room the bonding room because, besides being a safe place for the kitten to get used to its new home, it’s also a place for you and the kitten to get to know each other and bond.
Choose a room in your house where your kitten can get used to its new environment without undue risk. The room should be warm and quiet.
A room with windows lets the kitten have sunshine and visual stimulation, but keep the windows and window screens securely closed.
A bedroom or office is a good choice for a kitten’s first room. If possible, choose a room where there is minimal foot traffic, so the kitten is less likely to get out or scared accidentally.
Be sure to put a litter box, food bowl, water dish, and some cat toys in the room for your new kitten. Keep as much distance as possible between the litter box and the food area because cats are tidy creatures and don’t like mixing the two.
Kittens quickly figure out what to do in a litter box but expect a few accidents along the way. Getting a kitten litter-box-trained is crucial before letting it loose in the rest of the house.
A comfy chair or a dedicated kitten bed gives your pet a cozy and safe place to sleep, feel safe, and stay warm.
You can bring your kitten into your bedroom to sleep with you at night, if you want, but have a regular sleeping spot for it, and don’t make changes in the sleeping area while the kitten adjusts to your home.
A scratching post or cat jungle gym gives a kitten enjoyable activities to engage in while confined to its first room.
Kittens love climbing on things, and providing a structure for this will keep it entertained and off bookshelves and other furniture where you may not want it to go.
Keep your kitten confined to this area for at least a week or two and maybe longer before letting it into other areas of the house or outside.
2. Remove Dangerous and Fragile Objects
Once you choose a room for the kitten, remove any objects it could hurt itself with or stuff of yours it could damage. For example:
- Roll up and put away extension cords.
- Remove houseplants.
- Pack away fragile objects.
- Clean off desks and tabletops.
Try to think like a kitten, look for any potential trouble and remove it before your kitten moves in.
A kitten can swallow small objects and choke on them, and they also easily get tangled up in strings on curtains and drapes. So, be sure to wind these up and put them up where the kitten cannot get to them.
Balls of string, sewing needles, computer cords, and phone chargers are all possible sources of trouble for a new kitten. Besides knocking things over, kittens are prone to chew on items like cords, so get them out of the way ahead of time.
It’s also a good idea to secure these types of items in the remainder of the house when you first let your kitten out into other rooms.
Some common houseplants are poisonous to kittens and older cats, including lilies, sago palm, azaleas, tulips, and aloe vera. Be sure these plants are not accessible to your kitten in the house or garden.
Other items to secure are:
- Cleaning supplies
- Soap and cosmetics
- Hair ties
- Pesticides and fertilizers
- Candles and matches
3. Install Baby Locks on Cabinet Doors
If the room you choose for the kitten has cabinets, consider installing baby locks to keep it out. Baby locks are easy to find at hardware stores, and it doesn’t take much effort to install them.
If you don’t do this, your kitten will likely figure out how to open the cabinet doors and get into whatever is inside.
Another option is to remove any potentially dangerous object from cabinets and let the kitten explore. However, keep dresser and desk drawers closed, or the kitten may get stuck behind them.
Keep in mind that one thing kittens and cats like is paper, including notepads, letters, and magazines. A kitten will have lots of fun shredding these items when you are not watching and maybe even when you are.
4. Close-Off Tight Spaces
Kittens are curious, acrobatic, and love to explore. They will find all types of small, tight spaces and see if they can squeeze through.
So, whatever room you keep your kitten in during its first week or two, look for tight spaces where it could squeeze in and get stuck.
- Behind a refrigerator
- Next to the dishwasher
- Behind the furnace
- Under the couch or low chairs
- Behind bookshelves
Use old blankets, towels, boxes, or boards to close-off these spaces and keep your kitten away from the danger of getting stuck in a tight space, especially when you are not home.
5. Secure Doors and Windows
A kitten in a new home will naturally be curious about what is outside its room’s doors and windows.
Ensure everyone in the house knows to keep the doors and windows closed until the kitten is used to the new environment.
It’s a good idea to keep all the doors and windows in the house closed at first because your kitten might find its way out of the room you have assigned it at first.
Besides the regular doors and windows, don’t forget to:
- Keep closet doors and dresser drawers closed.
- Keep the lid closed on washers and dryers.
- Keep the toilet seat closed.
- Secure gate doors in fences.
If your kitten gets out of the bonding room, it might be intrigued by stairways into an attic or basement. These are places with lots of potential for trouble for a kitten. Be sure doors to these areas are secured as well.
6. Give Your Kitten a Collar with a Bell
A collar with a small bell will help you find your kitten if it does get lost during its first weeks at home with you.
Look for a collar of the right size to fit your kitten’s neck, and put it on so you can easily slip two fingers under the collar when it’s fastened. This test is a reliable way to ensure the collar is not too tight or too loose.
Pet stores sell small bells made especially for pet collars. If your kitten somehow gets outside or lost somewhere in your house, the bell could be essential for helping you find your pet.
7. Schedule Regular Playtimes with Your Kitten
While your kitten spends its first week or two in one room of your house, be sure to play with it several times a day.
You want your new kitten to get used to you and other residents, as well as your house.
Ask everyone in your home to visit and interact with the kitten each day, so it gets familiar with the whole family before it ventures into the rest of the house.
Also introduce other pets to the kitten. Keep the interactions short, and stay in the room with the kitten and other pets to ensure there are no problems.
Cat toys like feathers, a piece of yarn, and squeaky play mice are good toys for entertaining both you and your kitten during playtimes.
8. Gradually Allow the Kitten into Other Rooms
After a week or so in the first room, gradually let your new kitten into other rooms while you’re there to supervise.
Before you do this, be sure to put away any objects that could be hazardous for the kitten, as well as any papers and possessions of yours your kitten could damage.
If your new kitten will have access to the outdoors, take this step slowly as well.
At first, you might want to sit outside and play with the kitten for a few minutes each day until it has time to understand the big, outdoor world.
Once your kitten is entirely litter box trained and familiar with you and your household, you can feel safe letting it roam free around your house.