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Please remember that this is your kitten's first time away from the only home it has ever known, and it will probably be insecure and confused at first. Give the baby time, and don't expect it to be best friends with you right away. Keep the kitten's introduction to other family members and pets as quiet and stress-free as possible and, most of all, give it time to become used to the new surroundings.

Show the kitten its litter box, food, and water as soon as you get it home, and then be prepared for accidents! However, don't spank the baby if it misses its litter box! Rather, pick it up, put it in its box, and make digging motions with its front paws. Young kittens sometimes forget where their boxes are, or suddenly realize that they have to go now -- this is normal, and will pass quickly.

Introduce the kitten to one room at a time; offer encouragement and petting, but allow it to explore in its own time. After it is comfortable and settled down in the first room, allow it to proceed to others. Try not to startle the kitten, and again, remember that this is a stressful time, which brings us to: Stress: Your kitten has had both series of kitten vaccinations and is in good health. However, it is not unusual for a new kitten to hide, be skittish, or refuse to eat for a couple of days. Give lots of petting, soft speech, and encouragement, and you'll find that the kitten will quickly adjust.

Be aware that the kitten will probably cry a lot the first couple of nights. Although it is completely weaned, it is used to being around lots of other cats, and the baby misses mom, litter mates, the smells of 'home,' and is scared and lonely. As soon as it makes friends with you and your other pet(s), this crying will stop.

If you have other pets, wait until the kitten is settled and comfortable before bringing in other animals, one at a time. Do not leave the kitten alone with the other pet(s) until you are certain that they are good friends (this may be several weeks!). One good trick we have found is to give all pets (including the new arrival) a bath about 24 hours after bringing the kitten home. This way everyone smells the same, and will frequently accept each other immediately after. Be certain to give the 'old' pets lots of attention, in order to keep them from being jealous and to avoid stirring territorial instincts too strongly. It is always possible that the original pet may not take too kindly to someone new using its litter pan/food dish. Be prepared for this by giving the new kitten its own litter pan and food and water dishes.

excerpt from an article originally written by Trish Simpson