Healthy and Happy, that’s what I hoped our new kitten would be. And Friendly, Cute & Affectionate. But mainly Healthy & Happy. As excited as I was about bringing our new kitten home, I was worried it would be a stressful experience for him.
I read that there are 3 key ingredients to successfully transporting your kitten (home): a cat carrier, a blanket and a hot water bottle. Kittens get frightened quite easily and try to run away or scratch (potential driving hazard). While on the move, cats feel safer in a closed space. It may seem quite a big initial investment to buy a cat carrier just to bring your cat home, but it’s something you will use over and over (so get one which will be big enough once your kitten has grown up). A plastic car carrier will also come in useful (vs a cardboard box), should your kitten throw up, or pee (which they might do when stressed). Taking him away from his mummy, siblings and the house he was used to will be very traumatic anyway, so the more you can minimize his stress the better. Put a hot water bottle (filled with warm water) and a blanket inside the cat carrier and you’re ready to go! Ideally, use a blanket that the kitten used to sleep in before (smells familiar, so less stress). I used one of my old blankets sprayed with catnip and it worked out fine.
The kitten was from Tilburg (2h away from Amsterdam), so we decided to take the train (apparently less stressful for cats than going by car). When we got there we found out he was the last one from the 3 kittens in the litter. Only his mum and older brother were there. His owners were very nice and seemed to take a lot of care of their cats. The lady said he was one of her favourite kittens and gave him to me to hold in my arms. He stayed for a bit, then ran and climbed on the cat tree.
When we decided to leave, his brother and mum came to say good-bye. It was heartbreaking to see them say bye to each other. His owners gave us a couple of his favourite toys and some food. And off we went.
Ideally, you would make an appointment to your vet and take the kitten directly for a checkup before bringing him home. We only took him to the vet one week after, but if you have other pets at home already, you shouldn’t postpone.
Andy and I do not have kids or other pets so we didnt need to make any special preparations once we got home. However, if you do, here’s a very informative article on how to introduce your kitten to a home with children or other cats/dogs: <Link>
The train & tram ride went fine, he did very well and was not too bothered about it. Once we got home, we just left the carrier door open and left him decide when to come out. After only a few minutes he came out and went straight under the couch. I read that this hiding stage could take a few hours, but wait, he is already out and about?!?! Yes, yes, yes! Well, done kitty!
We spend the whole afternoon and evening just watching his every move, enjoying our new flatmate. I put him in the litter tray, took his paws and did the ‘digging move’. He got it immediately (a few hours later, I put the lid on the litter tray which didn’t seem to bother him). He ate, played, hid, ran… did all the things kittens do. We did it!
He was everything we were hoping for: friendly, cute, affectionate and happy. One week later, when we took him to the vet, we found out he was also healthy. A purrfect little cat! And this was the beginning of our beautiful friendship :”)