Bringing your Siberian kitten home – what you need to know

So you have finally decided on the kitten, paid the deposit, and now are waiting to pick the kitten up? Bringing a new Siberian kitten home is one of the most exciting things that can ever happen to you! You’ve probably been counting days till you can go and pick up your little sweetheart from the breeder. Your family members are probably very excited too.

However, bringing a new pet home is also a big responsibility. Here are a few things you should know so you can get ready for your new friend.

As with everything, it’s important to be ready. Before you go to pick up your Siberian kitten, be sure to prepare the environment for them in your home. You may think it’s as easy as bringing your kitten in your house, but there really are a few things you can do to significantly ease your kitten’s transition to their new home.

Remember, moving to your home will be a huge change for the kitten, and they will most likely be stressed and frightened. They have lived in their breeder’s home since birth, surrounded by their mom and siblings and other cats. Everything was familiar and well-known. It will all change when you appear in their life.

Once the kitten is in your home, it will try to stay in one room as it will simply going to be scared to go anywhere else. Before you bring the kitten, find a room in your home that’s small and quiet. A small bedroom that isn’t used much would do just fine.

Zuko the Siberian kitten from California
Zuko the Siberian kitten from California

Place the cat’s bed and some blankets in that room so that the kitty has a place to sleep/rest. Put some toys nearby. (You have prepared and got some toys, haven’t you?) It’s a good idea to keep the kitten’s food dish in this little room, and, of course, their water bowl as well, in an easily accessible place they can find.

You will move them out to a more convenient location later, but for now, this would be the best setup.

Don’t forget about the litter-box. Your Siberian kitten will most likely come already litter-box-trained (your breeder should clarify this), so you shouldn’t have an issue with this. Just place the litter-box away from the cat’s food and water bowl, as cats don’t like to have their bathroom close to their food.

Change can be hard, especially for little kittens! Moving into a new home is a very frightening experience for a kitten. Everything will seem strange, foreign and potentially threatening to them. After living in the company of his mother and litter-mates, the kitten is all of a sudden alone and in a completely unfamiliar environment. Well, now you are officially your kitten’s mom! (or dad) 😉  This means you should embrace that role and try to take all steps to make this transition as easy for them as it can be.

First of all, look at your schedule. It’s a good idea to bring your new Siberian kitten home on or before the weekend, or whenever you have a few days you can spend predominantly with the kitten. This way you and your family members will be there to meet the kitten and keep it company instead of leaving them alone for a day.

A kitten on its own in a new environment will be overly stressed and lonely. They might also get into a mischief as they don’t know the rules of your home yet. (Not that it won’t happen later, with Siberian cats, mischief is guaranteed.)

The psychological environment around your new kitten is very important. Try not to overwhelm or frighten your Siberian kitten in the first few days. Don’t make any abrupt movements around it and don’t raise your voice at them.

If you have kids, ask them not to make loud noises around the kitten, not to pick up the kitten in the first few days, let alone squeeze it or rough play with it. It will be fun for the children, but not for the kitten. Children will understandably get very excited about the kitten, but it is very important to hold off on any loud excitement. If the kitten gets scared at this tender age, it may never learn to trust children again.

It’s important that your kitten gets used to people and kids and learns not to be afraid. That will take time. It doesn’t mean you’ve got a timid kitten, simply that they need time to adjust. Imagine yourself arriving to live with a completely new family at five years of age, how would you feel?

In those first few days, try not to turn on vacuum or loud TV or music in presence of the kitten. With time, your cat will get used to all the sounds in the house no matter the volume. Our cat now confidently attacks the vacuum every time we try to clean. When he was young he would hide under the dresser whenever someone started speaking in the vicinity.

Cats are very sensitive to smells. Try to make sure you don’t wear any perfume when you handle the kitten. The smell might be nice to you but too strong for the cat. Show the kitten its new bed, the food and water bowl and its litter-box. You can even place the kitten in the litter-box and let them dig around so they get a better idea what it’s for. Although in most cases, the kitten will already be litter-trained.

Usually, your breeder will advise you on what brand of litter and type of litter-box to use and might even send some with the kitten. This way the kitten will recognise the litter by texture and smell and will have no doubt that that is its bathroom.

Let your kitten explore its new space, but be around them to encourage them and make them feel safer. The kitten will likely get under the bed or dresser and sniff everything around. It might also try to hide under things if it’s scared. That is OK and to be expected. Your kitten will be very flighty for the first few days until they feel more confident in your home. Don’t worry if they spend most of their time hiding somewhere for the first few days. They should start feeling more confident within a week.

Give the kitten its space to explore, but don’t leave them completely alone for a long time. If you can, spend some time next to them on the floor with a book, just to have them get really used to you. Later on, offer the kitten some toys and play with them, they will likely respond very well to it.

If the kitten gets somewhere they shouldn’t, tell them NO, but don’t raise your voice too much, and definitely never ever hit your Siberian kitten. Violence should be absolutely off limits. Hitting your kitten will not help them understand the situation better. What it will do is scare them and destroy their budding trust for you. Just gently remove them from the situation.

If your kitten breaks something or spoils something, your reaction should be the same. Cats are smart enough to know when they are discouraged from something.

Your kitten may be too confused on their first day in your home and may have a bathroom accident. Don’t worry, that’s most likely a one-off thing and should be easy to correct.  If it’s solid litter, you can scoop it and move to their litter-box, then show them. This way next time the kitten will know where its bathroom actually supposed to be.

If the kitten peed in a wrong spot, try to remove the urine and the smell off the surface (You can use special cleaning solutions). After that spend time with the kitten and try to catch them the next time they pee out of the litter-box. (You’ll see them fuss around and look for a spot.) If you see them getting ready to pee, pick them up gently before they can do the deed and move them into the litter-box.

Cats are usually very smart when it comes to litter boxes, and hate making mess outside of it, so you really shouldn’t have problems with this.

How many animals will you have in your home? If your new Siberian kitten is going to be the only pet in the house, their adaptation should go quick and smooth. Very soon they will realise they are the baby of the house and everything (and everyone) belongs to them, and you’ll be completely set.

If there is another animal in the house, it might pose some additional challenges. Cats are very cautious when it comes to making new friends. They are not unfriendly (especially Siberian cats), it just takes them time. If there already is another cat in your home, try to keep your new kitten and the older cat separately for at least a few days. Cats do not meet strangers easily and need time to adjust.

Your best bet would be to keep the two cats so that there was a door between them. (For example, one in the bedroom, and one in the hallway). This way they will be able to sense each other, hear each other and possibly even partially see each other, which will all give them an opportunity to get used to each other.

They might also get a chance to exchange their first fits of hissing and pawing through the door. That behaviour is also normal and doesn’t mean your cats will be enemies forever. They are just figuring out the hierarchy in their future relationship. Once that’s done, both will calm down. In a few days, they should be ready to be let into the same space, of course, still under thorough supervision.

A kitten most likely won’t have much aggression towards the older cat. The older cat might be a little distant at first but should warm up to the kitten with time, once the hierarchy is set and clear.

If your other animal is a dog, it is also advisable to keep it and your kitten separately for a while, for everyone’s safety and to reduce your kitten’s stress. Siberian cats, being very dog-like themselves, are usually great with dogs once they get to know them. You will have them entertain each other like two best friends in no time.

Of course, it’s not only about the kitten. You, the owner, are also an important part of the picture. One other thing needs to be mentioned because a lot of people go through this with their new kittens. You may be very excited bringing your Siberian kitten into your home. But things might not always go according to plan.

Your kitten might make a bathroom mess or two, or puke their food, or scratch something they shouldn’t. They might be too frightened at first to let you pet them, or try to fight you. You don’t know this kitten yet, or what to expect from them. You will have added responsibility of taking care of the kitten, and added worries of them getting in trouble or spoiling something in your house.

All of that may make you feel various degrees of stress. At some point, you might even think you’ve made a mistake by bringing the kitten home. Don’t despair.  Feelings like this are very normal. You have just introduced a new family member, and with it come new challenges and new worries. Not all things always go as planned and some things might trigger stress or even anxiety in you or other family members.

If this happens, it’s important to remember that it’s the change that is bringing stress and anxiety. You are adjusting to having the kitten in your home just as the kitten is adjusting to you. Very soon things will return back to normal and your kitten will be a member of the family. In a few months, you wouldn’t be able to imagine your life without them.

The new responsibilities will seem entirely normal and you won’t get stressed or worried by anything your kitten does because you will be so used to everything. By then, all the challenges should pass, and the love for your Siberian kitten will stay. Try not to over-stress in these first weeks, and remember that it’s much harder for the kitten than it is for you. It will all get much better for everyone very soon, and you will greatly enjoy your new family member.