Skip to content

How to introduce a kitten to kids

How to introduce a kitten to kids
by Lucinda Beeman

Read time: 3 min

Bringing a new kitten into your home is exciting—especially for kids. But let’s be real: it can be stressful, too. Here’s how to make the introduction smooth and safe for everyone involved.

Step 1: Prep Your Kids

Before the kitten arrives, have a sit-down with your kids to set expectations. Explain that kittens are tiny, fragile, and need gentle handling. This is a good time to teach them a few golden rules:

Gentle touch only: Show them how to pet the kitten softly. No squeezing, pulling, or chasing.

Quiet voices: Explain that loud noises can scare the kitten. Encourage them to use their indoor voices.

Respect personal space: The kitten will need some alone time. Teach your kids to give the kitten space when it retreats to its bed or a quiet corner.

Step 2: Set Up Your Kitten's Safe Space

Set up a safe, quiet room for the kitten. Away from the hustle and bustle of daily life. A sanctuary, if you will – where it can retreat if things get too overwhelming. Include all the essentials: food, water, litter box, and a comfy bed. Let your kids know that this room is the kitten’s special space. And they need permission to enter.

Step 3: The First Meeting

Here’s how to handle the initial introduction:

Calm and controlled: Keep the first meeting calm. Have your kids sit down and let the kitten approach them. This gives the kitten a sense of control and safety.

Supervised interaction: Always supervise the interactions between your kids and the kitten, especially in the beginning. To ensure that the kitten isn’t overwhelmed. (And that your kids are following the rules.)

Teach by example: Show your kids how to gently pet the kitten. Use slow, gentle strokes and speak in a calm, soothing voice. Your kids will mimic your behaviour.

Step 4: Ongoing Guidance

The introduction phase doesn’t end after the first meeting. Here’s how to keep things on track:

Short and sweet: Keep interactions short at first. Let the kitten get used to the kids gradually. If the kitten seems stressed or tries to hide, it’s time for a break.

Positive reinforcement: Praise your kids when they interact gently and calmly with the kitten. Positive reinforcement helps them learn the right behaviour.

Consistent rules: Maintain consistent rules for how the kitten should be treated. Kids need clear and consistent guidelines to follow.

Building a Bond

As the kitten and your kids get more comfortable with each other, encourage activities that build a bond:

Interactive play: Teach your kids how to play with the kitten. Using toys like feather wands or balls. To keep the kitten entertained. And help your kids learn how to engage with it appropriately.

Feeding time: Involve your kids in feeding the kitten. Which can be a great bonding activity. And teaches them responsibility.

Reading time: Encourage your kids to read to the kitten. It’s a calm, quiet activity that helps the kitten get used to their voices and presence.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Even with the best intentions, there can be hiccups. Here’s how to handle common problems:

Rough Handling: If your kids are too rough, gently remind them of the rules. Sometimes a time-out from kitten interactions is necessary to reinforce the lesson.

Kitten Hiding: If the kitten is hiding a lot, it might be overwhelmed. Give it more alone time and gradually increase interactions.

Overexcitement: Kids can get overly excited and unintentionally scare the kitten. Encourage them to play with their own toys to burn off energy before interacting with the kitten.

Want to give your kitten the best start in life? KatKin's fresh recipes are 100% real, human-quality meat. Gently cooked to protect vital nutrients. And suitable for cats of all ages. Start your 14-day trial here.

Related articles