It takes a big heart and a dose of compassion to rescue a kitten. But to make the transition successful for kitty, make sure you can make a long-term commitment. You also need to spend some time with your new housemate and afford the price of caring for her.
Purchase necessary supplies before you bring home the kitten. Buy a litter box, food and water bowls, a scratching post — the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals recommends one that is at least 3 feet tall — toys, a bed and a brush.
Get identification. Your cat should wear an ID tag on her collar and have a microchip implanted, so that if she does get out, you’ll have a better chance of getting her back.
Choose a spot in your home that will be reserved for the kitten. This serves as her safe place while she is getting used to her new surroundings. Place all her supplies in this area. If you have other pets, make the area a separate room where you can close the door. This way, the animals can sniff each other through the door before being thrown together from the start, which often leads to disaster.
Ask what sort of food the kitten has been eating and the type of litter the cat was using before you take her home. It eases the transition if you keep these things the same. A sudden change of food, for example, could lead to an upset stomach and diarrhea. After a few weeks, you can switch to products you prefer. Make the switch gradually by combining the new food and/or litter with the old.
Place the kitten in a cat carrier for a safe — and scratch-free — trip home.
Be patient. Most cats need about two weeks to settle in. Your new kitten might be frightened at first and try to hide from you. You should not take this normal behavior personally.
Introduce the new kitten to the rest of the house once she is comfortable in the home and is eating and using the litter box regularly. Tape down any loose wires or place them out of reach so the kitten won’t chew them. Kitten-proof the house further by stowing cleaning products and medicines. Also put any plants that are toxic to cats out of her reach.
Laura Agadoni has been writing professionally since 1983. Her feature stories on area businesses, human interest and health and fitness appear in her local newspaper. She has also written and edited for a grassroots outreach effort and has been published in "Clean Eating" magazine and in "Dimensions" magazine, a CUNA Mutual publication. Agadoni has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from California State University-Fullerton.