The more time you spend with your new kitten, the more you’ll get to know her – and the more you’ll appreciate how her character and behaviour are driven by her natural instincts.
While your little kitten’s home lifestyle may seem very different to what she’d experience in the wild, she still displays many of the same behaviours as her big cat cousins. Understanding her natural instincts will help you get to know your kitten as she forms her own new family with you.
Grooming isn’t just about getting clean. In the wild, big cats also groom each other to strengthen their social bonds. You can mimic this behaviour by enjoying regular grooming sessions with your kitten. Not only will these satisfy her natural urges, she’ll love you for it too!
In the wild, big cats use scent to leave complex signals which help them secure their territory and avoid conflict. Scent marking also establishes and strengthens social bonds. One way big cats leave scent is by rubbing against things. So when your kitten rubs up against you at home, she’s marking you as part of her family. Make sure you return her affection with lots of stroking and plenty of love.
If you introduce another cat into the house – or if a new baby arrives – you may find your kitten changes her toilet habits by spraying or urinating in places other than her litter tray. There’s nothing unusual about this – it’s just a natural response to what your kitten sees as a threat to her territory.
All the same, you’ll probably be happier when things return to normal! Here are a few things you can do to help your kitten through this period of change:
• Make sure you provide separate food and water bowls, beds and litter trays for each cat in the house
• Provide your kitten with places she can climb up to – she’ll see these as expanding her territory
• Give your kitten plenty of time to re-establish her territory
• Reassure your kitten with lots of love and affection
Your new kitten will soon get to know your household routines. She’ll learn when people wake up and go to bed, when you get home from work, mealtimes, and how you like to relax in the evenings. If you keep to these routines, and allow your kitten to be part of them, she’ll quickly become a sociable and confident member of your family.