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Bonding With Your Kitten

May 16, 2023

Have you recently adopted a kitten? Congratulations! It’s always fun and exciting to welcome a new pet into your home. Kittens are almost impossibly adorable, and have a remarkable capacity for melting hearts. Of course, it’s important to get things started on the right paw with your furry friend. An Oakland, CA vet offers some helpful advice on bonding with little Fluffy below.

Coming Home 

When you bring little Fluffy home, put her carrier down in a safe, petproofed room and open the door. Let her come out on her own when she’s ready. If you have other pets, keep your new arrival in a separate room for the first few days. Introductions should proceed slowly and carefully. Ask your vet for specific tips. 


Generally, we advise against going too crazy with snacks. However, you can bend the rules a bit during that first week. Sit or kneel on the floor, hold out a yummy treat, and call little Fluffy to you. Make that ‘pssst’ sound kitties respond to so well. 


Your feline pal will slow down eventually, but you’re going to have a tiny, rambunctious little ball of mischief on your hands for a while. Get into the habit of playing with your kitten. Fluffy will know that you’re doing something specifically for her benefit. This will also help teach her to burn her zoomies off in a healthy way. 


Baby cats love to be held and cuddled: it makes them feel safe. Indulge your little buddy, and let her snuggle up on your lap. When you snuggle your feline friend, a special hormone, called oxytocin, or the Cuddle hormone, is released in you both. This is associated with feelings of love and security. 


Talk to little Fluffy. Kitties love being spoken to. It doesn’t really matter what you say, as long as you use a friendly tone of voice. (Baby talk is optional, though cats do seem to like it.) You may very well find that the more you interact with your tiny pet, the more interactive she’ll become. You can also address bad behaviors verbally. Just saying ‘No’ in a stern tone can help you get your point across. Be sure to compliment your furry pal when she’s behaving.

Our Advice on Bonding With Your Kitten in 2024

What’s the role of treats in the early bonding stages with your kitten?

In the early bonding stages with your kitten, treats play a significant role in establishing a positive relationship. Offering treats can help your kitten associate you with positive experiences, enhancing trust and affection. It’s a gentle method to encourage your kitten to come closer and interact with you, facilitating the development of a strong bond. While moderation is key to prevent overfeeding, strategically using treats during this initial period can be a valuable tool in gaining your kitten’s confidence and reinforcing desired behaviors, making it a crucial element in the bonding process.

Does talking to your kitten help us bond?

Yes, talking to your kitten significantly helps in bonding. Kittens respond well to the sound of a friendly, soothing voice, which can make them feel safe and loved. Engaging in regular conversation with your kitten, even if it’s about everyday topics, builds familiarity and comfort. This verbal interaction fosters a sense of companionship, making your kitten more likely to seek you out for attention and affection. Additionally, it can enhance their social skills and encourage more interactive behavior, strengthening the bond between you both.

What are typical kitten behaviors to expect, and how do you manage them?

Typical kitten behaviors include playful aggression, such as biting and scratching during play, excessive energy leading to zoomies, a curiosity that can result in getting into unsafe areas, and vocalizing for attention or food. To manage these behaviors, provide plenty of structured playtime using toys to channel their energy and aggression safely. Kitten-proof your home to prevent accidents and injuries. Encourage quiet behaviors with treats and affection, and respond to vocalizations calmly to avoid reinforcing excessive meowing. Consistent, positive reinforcement helps shape a well-behaved adult cat.

What kind of toys and play equipment are best for a kitten?

For kittens, interactive toys that mimic prey, such as feather wands, laser pointers, and small, movable toys that encourage chasing and pouncing, are ideal. These stimulate their natural hunting instincts, providing both physical and mental exercise. Incorporating climbing structures like cat trees and scratching posts also helps them explore and develop coordination while offering an appropriate outlet for scratching. Soft balls and stuffed mice can be easily carried or batted around, further engaging their playful nature. Rotate toys to keep playtime exciting and new, ensuring a well-stimulated and happy kitten.

What vaccinations or preventative care does your kitten need right away?

Your kitten needs several vaccinations and preventative care treatments starting as early as 6 to 8 weeks of age. Initial vaccines include those for feline panleukopenia (distemper), feline herpesvirus, and feline calicivirus, followed by rabies vaccination as mandated by local laws, typically around 12 to 16 weeks. Preventative care also involves deworming for common intestinal parasites and starting flea and tick prevention. A veterinarian may recommend feline leukemia virus vaccination based on your kitten’s risk exposure. Regular veterinary check-ups will ensure your kitten receives appropriate and timely preventative care for a healthy start.

Do you have questions about your pet’s health or care? As your Oakland, CA animal clinic, we’re here to help. 

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