The big, encircled day marked on the calendar has arrived!
You’ve anticipated it for weeks, months, or maybe even a year. Today is the day! You are driving the hours to the Masterpiece Cattery (or airport) to collect your new family member and you are so excited! I get it! I love it! I still feel it when I fly from the West coast to the East to meet with my breeder to collect a new queen or king. It feels like it’s your birthday!
You’ve amassed photo albums on your phone (and shared them with anyone willing to look). You’ve probably agonized over toys and scratching posts. You’ve probably attempted some level of childproofing your home. You’ve readied the litter box, food & water bowls. Your vet knows you are coming the following week for a check-up and final vaccinations. And if you can, you’ve taken a few days off from work to spend with him or her.
This is all normal. You can feel good about your anticipation and preparations. This is the makings of responsible, loving ragdoll caregivers. I applaud you and I can’t wait to watch your kitten grow into a fully realized adult Ragdoll. I hope you’ll send me pictures!
- When you enter your home, the first item of business is litter box exposure. (S)he should be brought to what I call the “home room” where she can return repeatedly to find her litter box. This may also be the place where food is, but be careful not to place the food too close to the box itself.
- If your kitten is the first and only, you can feel comfortable watching her leave the home room to discover other parts of the house. If not, confine your kitten to this home room for at least three days. It’s just a good health practice. Slowly, and under supervision, allow the kitten to visit with other pets.
- If you have other pets at home, be sure to give them plenty of face time. Inevitably, most pets will have some reservations about the new pet. Assurance of your fidelity will go a long way towards good relations between him and the new kitten.
- During the early days of adjustment, there could be loose stools. It is not uncommon for nerves to interfere with the gastrointestinal system. If it does not improve within three days, visit the veterinarian.
- If you introduce new foods, do so with caution. Your ragdoll kitten will come home with a three day supply of Life’s Abundance. If you choose to use a different cat food, It is recommended that the kitten wean. The following scheduled ratio is a good way to accomplish this: 25% new kibble to 75% old for two days, 50% : 50% for two days, 75% : 25% for two days, and finally 100%.
- Keep the litter box environment similar to that of the Masterpiece cattery. Since your kitten is undergoing a major change, it is important to preserve as many aspects as she is used to. Eventually, if you need to make adjustments to litter choice or boxes, gradually introduce those changes.
- Make sure you follow the vaccine schedule recommendations. There are both core and non-core vaccines. Since Masterpieces are indoor cats, many of the vaccines are unnecessary. One which is absolutely imperative is the FVRCP. By the time your kitten goes home with you, we have administered two doses of this. You may opt to do a third. Your kitten also needs the rabies vaccination after twelve weeks.
- Try to find the right balance between handling your kitten and allowing her rest. Mostly, your ragdoll will regulate this herself, but occasionally, one will need to be taken back to the homeroom for a little relaxation. Like a child, she doesn’t know she needs to eat and rest.
- Moving the litter box: If you decide you do not like the location originally chosen, that you need to move the litter box for any reason, take great pains to show the kitten his new home room. He will return to the space he first learned about his litter box. He may attempt to use the lint or dust on the floor. This is a sign of his intelligence and training, not bad behavior. Make sure to re-teach him where his new home room is.