Why you should Quarantine your New Kitten
If you understand that you are bringing home a fragile and young tiny being, that has never seen this “big ‘ole world” before, and consider the amount of stress you are putting them through in a very short period of time, you will agree that Quarantining your new baby is of vital importance for them and your other pets.
They will be going through some very big changes. First, they are being taken away from the only home they have ever known, leaving behind their siblings and mother. Next they have to travel, most times a long distance, in a big scary car or airplane….with complete strangers! If you have a home with kids and/or other pets….that is extra scary and a lot more stressful! Stress=compromised
immune system. This means that the tiny little ones can come down with an upper respiratory infection or a GI upset causing diarrhea, vomiting and/or lack of appetite….sometimes all 3. This is all due to the unavoidable stressors of being rehomed. There are new sights, sounds and smells to figure out, and then you want them to just join in and be ok with everything all at once?
Remember, your baby has only been with it’s mother and siblings in a small nursing area for the first 6-8 weeks of life. Then as the kittens grow, we allow them to have only one room of the home available to live in and explore. This is necessary so that kittens can always easily find their heat source, like a heating pad without the auto shut off feature, as it needs to stay warm. We also keep this room at 78 degrees. Additionally, we are litter box training the kittens, and if in too large of a space, they will not be able to find their litter box. All of these things equal to be the most stressful
event a kitten will ever have to do in their life.
So we know why to Quarantine, now how should you do it?
First off, let’s be emotionally strong and mentally prepared so that we may protect and care for our new baby properly. Do not let emotions factor into your decision making, and do not make the mistake of thinking that we are just being overprotective. We have been taking care of animals since the late 1990’s and have been breeding and raising Sphynx cats since 2019. Some people have just “forgotten” about quarantining or say they do not have the space. Others mention the kitten was crying and/or they felt bad for the kitten after a couple of days and let it out because it “looked” healthy.
It can take 3-4 days for something that is brewing to show up in symptoms that you can recognize. If you bring home a kitten, and then after a few days think well, it seems fine, and let it out of Quarantine early you could also be exposing your other pets to potentially contract the illness. Remember, the idea behind Quarantining is to reduce the stress the kitten is exposed to, and therefore try to prevent an illness from popping up. About 25-30% of our kittens could potentially show signs of illness after going through this huge change.
One Room of your house needs to be dedicated to Quarantining your new baby. You should have a bed with a heating pad on top, and a thin blanket on top of the heating pad. A litter box, food, water, and toys should also be present.
Do not allow your other pets or children to enter this room. Kids can come visit the new kitten for about 5 minutes or until you notice the kitten getting too nervous. After a few days you can feed your new kitten next to the door to the room, and your other cat(s) on the other side so that they can hear and smell each other while associating it with something good like eating. Then you can also start your kitten and cats playing with each other under the door with a string toy. This will help your adult cats get used to the idea that another little being is in the home with them and the playing will associate good vibes with your new kitten.
Once quarantine is over and your healthy kitten is ready to begin acclimating into the household, put them in a crate or kennel and bring in your other pets so introductions can be made safely through the barrier of the kennel door. A few growls or hisses from your other pet are ok, but if they continue for more than a few minutes or begin to try and fight your new kitten, remove your pets from the room and try again in a couple of hours. Repeat this process until everyone’s behavior is positive, and then let kitten out of crate in the room. Do this in the quarantine room so that your kitty is not also having to figure out your huge castle of a home at the same time. Once all pets are copasetic, then allow kitten to have free roam of home. But do keep in mind that the kitten will likely forget how to get back to their room with the heat source and litter box. Therefore, placing multiple litter boxes in the home as well as a couple of places for kitten to have a heat source are also important.
Remember, illnesses have a latent period while infection is building in the body. This can last for several days while your kitten shows no outward symptoms. Following proper quarantine guidelines will help your kitten recover quicker and prevent your other pets from potentially contracting the illness.
Please note that this write-up is for informational purposes only. If your pet is showing symptom of illness, please take them to your veterinarian immediately. We are always here for you!! Any questions or problems please let us know right away so we can get it taken care of and help you feel confident about taking care of your new baby