Preparing for Your New Kitten

Our ragdoll kittens have not been exposed to very much outside the cattery walls.  The queen and her litter have made one trip to the Kitty Klinic before going home to live with you. And within our home cattery, the kittens have spent most of their time in  L&D (labor and delivery). At age six weeks, we release them into the main living areas under supervision. They run the main areas of our home in order to get exercise and broaden their immunological and social horizons. The kittens will have gone outside to our porch for one or two photo shoots.

In short, your ragdoll kitten hasn’t had much of an opportunity to test his immune system. A change in physical environment as well as a loss of his siblings can be a little stressful. Stress can negatively impact a kitten’s overall health. 

There are actions you can take to improve your new kitten’s experience.

First, let’s think about the kitten in the context of human age equivalencies. Obviously, this is not the most scientifically accurate method, but it does give us a useful analogy for thinking about our ragdoll’s life stages and needs.

Kitten Life Stage Age of
Kitten
Human Age Equivalency
Infant 1 Month 1 year
Preschooler 3 Months 4 Years
Child 6 Months 10 Years
Adolescent 12 Months 15 Years

By the time she leaves the cattery, it is like she’s ready for preschool! She is excited and optimistic. But there will inevitably be new smells and sounds which can be jarring until she learns that those sensations are just part of her new world. Let’s help her out!

Ragdoll Kitten HomeRoom

Prepare a room where your new family member can retreat from the excitement. Take her to this room as soon as you bring her home so that she knows this is her “homeroom.”  Place her carrier there with her in it, allowing her to come out at her own leisure.

Note: this room doesn’t have to be anything large or fancy. It could be a half bath (with the toilet lid closed). It could be a kitten-proof laundry room. It’s a good to consider removing anything that might harm a curious kitten. And a carpet-free space is probably a good idea for ease of clean-up.

Here are some suggestions for the homeroom:

  • Litter box with fresh clean litter, preferably something she’s accustomed to like Dr. Elsy’s Precious Cat Litter or Paper Pellet litter.
  • Clean water in a stainless steel water fountain and dry food from Life’s Abundance, the food she’s accustomed to. You can taper her onto a food of your choice in the coming days if you prefer.
  • Vertical Spaces such as cat trees or condos. There are budget-friendly options and higher end models. Both will do the trick!
  • Scratching posts are an inexpensive addition which will save your furniture. I recommend several of these.
  • Toys! Favorites include plastic springs, tiny felt mice, balls with bells, milk jug lids. Avoid toys with strings which may detach. Cats will ingest them which is dangerous for their digestive system. Read about what veterinarians call “linear foreign body.”
  • Blankets, towels, rugs, or cat hammock—any soft place for curling up to sleep.
  • Large large cereal box or shoe box – kittens love to crawl into tiny spaces for a long nap.
Below is a video from a Masterpiece Ragdoll owner. Lauren & Bryant are incredibly thoughtful Ragdoll Parents! 

Tips for Integrating Your New Ragdoll Kitten

When you bring your kitten home, place her carrier in her “homeroom.” Open the carrier and let her emerge on her own. Avoid pulling her out of her carrier and do allow her to venture out in her own time.

Once she’s comfortable coming out, let her explore on his own for a while. If she has a confident nature, she may be curious, sniffing around., But if she is a bit timid, she may run to hide in the cat tent you’ve purchased for her. Either reaction is normal.  All you really need to do is be present:  spend some quiet time in the room with her here in this safe space you’ve created. Allow her to feel out her new world. You can also speak to her softly so that she begins to associate your voice with her space.

As you spend time with your ragdoll, you will discern more about him. He will teach you about his petting and cuddling preferences as well as his playtime needs. Some kittens are gregarious. Some are more timid. In either case, you will find that your ragdoll has the capacity for frisky play. Although they are known for their docile nature, that does not mean they have lost the hunting nature. You’ll quickly find they enjoy teaser wands which remind them of birds and felt mice. Engage that nature to prevent them from growing bored. Cats who are bored often become mischievous. Even ragdolls.

Often, it is recommended that you not pick up a kitten upon first meeting, but a ragdoll resists that conventional advice. The ragdoll is often amenable to this type of interaction. In fact, at the cattery, we often pick up our kittens in order to socialize them. To ready them for families such as yours, our family interacts regularly with the kittens and their mothers.  Once your kitten is in your home, we encourage frequent visits to kitty’s homeroom space. And as soon as you sense it is safe to do so, allow your ragdoll to follow you out into the rest of your home. Just be sure to keep an eye out for him as he may not recall where the litter box is located once he is several rooms away from it.

Meeting Other Pets

If you have other pets in the home, we encourage a gradual, well-supervised introduction. Try scent-swapping. If you’ve never heard of it, no worries. Scent-swapping is exactly what it sounds like. Each pet can begin to get to know one another simply by acclimating himself to the scent of the new pet. Basically, you exchange some of the kitten’s items with other pet’s toys, or anything that might smell like the established resident cat. This does not guarantee a perfect introduction, but it is a good place to start.

What is vital is that the introduction be made several days after the ragdoll is brought home. It is just good sense to make sure any new pet is quarantined for the initial 3-5 days to ensure you are not exposing the old pets to a new “bug.” We do our best at the Masterpiece house to send you home with a healthy kitten. All organisms carry their own germs. Because anxiety may increase during these first few days, it is just a good idea to limit exposure.

What is vital is that the introduction be made several days after the ragdoll is brought home.

 

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