Surviving Your First 30 Days With a New Kitten

That means plenty of handling by different people (take him out to meet delivery people, invite neighbors and friends over), fun and interesting toys with which to play and exposure to many different household sights and sounds: think blenders, vacuum cleaners, doorbells and, of course, other pets, such as dogs. Car rides (safely ensconced in his carrier) to the drive-through ATM or your fave fast-food place are also good ways to accustom him to change and help develop his personality — especially if you give him a tiny bite of your burger (no onions, please) as a reward.

You can teach him tricks, too — some just for fun, like jumping through a hoop, and some that could save his life, like coming when you call. This kind of training keeps his mind and body active and helps the two of you learn how to communicate. There’s nothing cooler than that!

A little adversity during this time is good for your kitten’s adventurous soul. Moderate amounts of stress during the socialization period can prepare a kitten to be ready for anything and to accept change readily throughout his life. This can be as simple as requiring him to hold still for a minute while you comb him or surprising him with a toy while playing peekaboo. These simple things can help him become unflappable as he matures.

Six things your kitten should learn:

  • No teeth or claws on people — ever!
  • Always potty inside the litterbox (keep it superclean, so he doesn’t have any reason to avoid it).
  • Meeting people is great!
  • Being held and handled is nice!
  • The best place to scratch is the scratching post!
  • Going to the vet is fun!

Most importantly, be sure you play with, teach and interact with your new cat throughout his life. Keeping him mentally and physically active helps ensure that he stays young at heart for many years to come.

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