Remember this previous blog we did on kittens & transport (if you missed it, you can read it here) ?
It clearly highlighted how in kittens the consequences of stress could be problematic.
Stress of transport is one thing. But when the kitten finally arrives at his new owner’s place, things can get even worse!
That’s why you MUST discuss beforehand with the new owners how to properly introduce the kitten to its new environment.
It should be one of your priorities. Not a simple point of detail.
You need to share an introduction protocol with the new owner. Especially if they have other animals at home. One key word here: this introduction must be progressive. They must understand they should not try to rush out things !
Here are some of the recommendations given in veterinary textbooks:
#1 Create a special transition room to house the kitten as it is being gradually introduced into the home; this must be a secure area, with the door that latches completely and/or locks. This place must be environmentally enriched with feeding/watering site, a litter box, perches, hiding spots, scratching posts/pads, toys,..
#2 A pheromone diffuser should be placed in the home / transition room two weeks prior to bringing in the new cat ;
#3 When the kitten appears comfortably settled in the transition room, it is time to allow it to explore the house while the other cats are confined;
#4 Next step: short visual introductions (<5 minutes) with the other cats. The kitten is contained in some manner so it cannot make physical contact with the other cats but they can see each other. Engage them in a favoured activity in their respective locations during these visual opportunities. Perform 2-3 times daily until all cats appear relaxed and there is no aggressive posturing ;
#5 Facilitate scent transfers between cats. Use a common piece of material to pet each cat every day.
Make sure all your new kitten owners are well aware of that.
Stress in kittens can have terrible consequences.
There is no doubt that stress is a risk factor for development of infectious diseases
In kittens, coaching your new owners is again a priority: no doubt about this !
What are your recommendations / tips / experience when it comes to introducing kittens to their new environment ? Share them with us in the comment section !