At this stage, you (the parent stand-in) must tend to the kitten’s demands, just its mom might have. This way, you keep the kitten on the right track regarding its intellectual and social development. One of the great spins-offs of providing such care is that the kitten will re-attach to you, the new provider, and will turn out every bit as confident and self-sufficient as its real mom would have liked.
While this bonding process will happen naturally over time, below are some tips for bonding with your new cat and making sure your new feline is happy and comfortable.
1. Help Them Feel Safe
Although it may seem counter intuitive to leave your new kitten alone when you are trying to bond with them, whether they are a kitten or adult, you need to give them an area where they can be alone. This will help your cat feel safe in your home.
Set aside a special room or a part of a room that is just for your cat. It can have their litter box, food, water, toys and bedding, and make sure that your other pets, if you have any, stay away from this area. Let your cat spend the first day or so in here, making sure to check in regularly to help start the bonding process.
2. Let Them Come To You
After the first day or so when your cat starts to feel more comfortable give them a chance to explore your house, but always allow access to their “safe room.”
This is one of the most important times of the bonding process. Try not to overwhelm your pet by constantly interacting with them and petting them — no matter how cute they are. When you do interact with your cat, try getting down to their level and let them make the first move. Also, make sure good things happen when you are around, such as treats appear. This will help your cat to associate you with something positive.
3. Pet Them
Once your new kitty gets comfortable with your touch, start to gently pet them. One of the most social behaviors between cats is grooming — and when you pet your cat, to them it feels similar. This will make them feel comfortable and will clearly show your intentions.
While you pet your new cat, be sure to talk in a gentle voice so the cat knows you mean no harm. Make sure to read your cat's body language — if you see your cat flatten their ears, aggressively twitching their tail, or extremely dilated pupils, it’s probably not a good time to reach out and pet them.
4. Play With Them
As soon as your cat feels comfortable, you should start playing with them. Playing is one of the best ways to bond with your new kitten or cat; after all, that is what they would do with their siblings if left alone.
Try to figure out which toys your new friend likes best, and play using these toys at least once or twice a day. Your cat will start to associate being with you as fun.
5. Food and Treats
Another great way to bond with your new feline friend is through food. Pick a certain time of the day for feeding and stick to it; your cat will quickly learn the schedule.
While feeding your cat, try to pet and talk to them as this will help them bond with you faster. Just don’t be surprised if they quickly learn the feeding schedule and let you know if you are running late.
You new companion will bring lots of joy into your home and pretty soon kitty will be so comfortable that they will make the house their own and take your best chair, your bed, or any other comfy spot as theirs. The key to making your kitty feel at home is to take it slow, pay attention to your new kitty's signals and just enjoy having this wonderful new addition in your home.