Bringing a kitten home
Some thoughts ahead: We really are curious about how you brought your kitten home (independently whether it was bred by us or not)! Please write us your stories or send us pictures or videos of cat equipment / constructions you made and we will include them on this page!
Start planning what your new kitten will need early! There are several items which are essential to get for your new family member, while other ones are more optional.
Items to get
Food and water bowls: These have to be made of ceramic or metal. Plastic bowl might be toxic. One of the bowls will have to be all the time filled with fresh water, while the other contain the dry food. It is recommended to get a third bowl for fresh food. This will have to be washed after each cat meal.
Food: It is recommended to feed a kitten the same food as in the cattery in the first month after the arrival. Then gradually, change the cat diet if needed.
Litter box with shovel and cat sand: Litter boxes can be either open or closed (with or without top part). Closed cat toilets trap the smell inside of them and it is impossible to see whether the cat has utilised it or not. This also implies that the smell will be concentrated in the close toilet box and owners might more likely forget to clean the cat toilet, if they do not see what is inside. Thus the cat will have to face a dirty and smelling cat toilet and might decide to use a different place instead of it. Some cats simply do not like closed cat toilets. An open cat toilet has the disadvantage that the cat might throw some of the cat sand out of it while burring his excrements. We recommend buying a large (the kitten will grow into a big cat) open cat toilet with high borders, to avoid sand being thrown overboard. Place the litter box in a quiet area of the house. Remember that the door to that room will need to stay always open. Try to not change the litter box location once it is set. Cats do not like changes!
There are many different cat sands available on the market. Some form clumps when wet, others made out of silicon, just absorb the liquid. In our experience the best cat sand which absorbs smells and lasts for the longest amount of time is "ever clean" which can be bought in specialised shops. The cat sand which can be found in supermarkets might be cheaper; however, it does not last as long and does not hide unpleasant smells. It is always best to get for the first month the cat sand the kitten is used to. Then it can be changed. Avoid also cat sands with a perfume. Cats do not usually like such smell and could start avoiding the litter box.
Buy the shovel depending on the size of grains of the cat sand of your choice. The holes in the shovel have to be big enough to allow single grains to pass through it.
Scratching posts: These are very important items to purchase or make, if one does not want the kitten to scratch the sofas and curtains of the house. There are two main types of scratching posts, vertical and horizontal. Usually it is better to get both types, as some cats might have preferences for only one scratching direction. In our experience, vertical scratching posts are needed when a kitten starts scratching some furniture. At that point, the owner should come and decisively say "no" to the kitten. Then carry him close to a vertical scratching post and show him with his own nails, or the kitten paw the correct movement. If the kitten starts scratching, then praise him with a treat. Horizontal scratching places are also very liked and used also as a sleeping place. If a kitten does not show interest in neither vertical nor horizontal posts, it is possible to rub catmint on them to attract the kitten's attention.
Toys: Siberians love to play. If they do not play or have any other entertainment, they might start having psychological and weight-related problems. The cats do not have to always play with their owners, they can also entertain themselves. Thus when buying toys for a cat choose some which will need a person's assistance for playing and some others with which a cat can play independently. In our experience the best toys are long sticks to which, through a thread feathers are attached. Cats love to jump and hunt the little "bird". Small toys, such as synthetic mice and balls should also be bought so that the cat might play independently.
All cats of our knowledge love boxes. These can be found for free and represent a never-ending source of fun for the animals. Be creative, make a castle for your cat out of boxes or a labyrinth. Here are some inspirational videos:
Cat carrier: You need this to carry your kitten from the cattery to his new home, for the vet visits and for any trip he will be part of. If you are planning to go with your Siberian cat to competitions and / or travel a lot, get a cat carrier of a large size. If the cat carrier will be used seldom, then most medium sized ones should be fine. However, check the manufacturer recommendations. Siberian males and females can weight respectively 10 and 7 kg and are above the average cat size! An important point to consider when purchasing the carrier is whether it will be used in planes. Not all cat carrier sizes and shapes are allowed on planes. Check with the airplane companies for the accepted parameters. Independently on the size, a good cat carrier should have a zip and locker closing mechanism. Cats can very easily figure out how to open a velcro closing mechanism and run away!
Cat bed: In our experience cats find by themselves the place more suitable for their sleep. This can be YOUR bed, the sofa, a potted plant or the book shelf. You are getting a cat and not a toy. Thus you have to be prepared for the little kitten having his say on where he wants to sleep. However, if your home has a lot of hard surfaces (stone, concrete, plastic, etc.), it is probably a good idea to get a cat bed. In such case, think on the cat when buying his future bed. Usually cats prefer to sleep on natural fabrics over the synthetic ones. This means cotton, wool, linen, instead of nylon and polyester. One of our cats likes to sleep on thick, cotton chair cushions. Alternatively, make the cat bed yourself! Here is an example: video link. A third good option for a cat bed is to get a cat tree with bed places.
Cat tree: A cat tree provides quite a lot of entertainment and pleasure for your cat and it is also a place of which he is the owner and will thus feel safe in. In addition, if a cat has a place which he is allowed to climb he will less likely climb shelves and book cases where he is not allowed to go. Cat trees vary greatly in size, thus before buying one consider how much space in a room you can spare for a cat tree. The bigger, the more sleeping and observation spots there are and the more fun it is! A good cat tree should have scratching posts to decrease the attention of your kitten from your house furniture. If you have free time and constructor abilities you can of course build your own cat tree, for example: video link.
Your first encounter
You will probably meet your new friend either in the cattery or at the airport. The most important thing to remember is to be calm, avoid loud noises and quick movements. You can place your hand few centimetres from the kitten. It is however the animal which will do the last step and come closer to sniff your hand! This is very important, as in the contrary, your kitten might feel threatened by you. Once you are acquainted, you can play few minutes with him and then calmly lift him up. Give some treat, make him feel comfortable and then place him in his cat carrier. During your travel home talk softly to the kitten. Place your fingers on the outer side of the cat carrier net, so that the kitten will be able to sniff them again for reassurance. It is not recommended to take the kitten on the leash on the first trip. Cats are not dogs and have to slowly get used to the idea of being tied. The airport or car and even you are all new and stressful stimuli and definitely not the right surroundings to start an effective leash training. Usually the kittens will get used to the cat carrier and consider it a "safe spot". It is therefore better to leave the kitten inside of it during the travel if it is not longer than 8 hours.
Introducing the new home
It is always best to pick up a kitten before a long weekend, so that you can spend the first few days with him at home and get used to each other. Once you reach home, your kitten will be exhausted by all the new experiences of the day. Thus, to not stress him even further, you will have to have prepared in advance "his place". This is a room, if not possible, then a room section next to a wall, where a sleeping place, cat toilet, toys and food and water will be placed. This should be the calmest place of the house, definitely not a "walking through" region. The cat carrier should be placed there and opened. However, it is again the kitten that will be the one to decide when to exit from it. It might take a few minutes, however the cat will eventually come out. It is important that there are only few (preferably one) person seated on the floor, one meter from the carrier. You can offer your fingers again so that the kitten might sniff them and get comforted by their smell. Let the cat have some time to calmly explore the place. Do not rush him. Once he observed the surroundings, place him in the litter box and praise him, so that he understands that it is a good place to be. The kitten will find himself in a completely new place which lacks the scents he is used to, as of his litter mates and mother. In such a situation, he might try to hide himself below some furniture as sofas and cupboards. This is a normal behaviour and the new owner should not be alarmed. It is very important to not force the kitten out of his hiding place, or restrict his access to it. The kitten should be in the place where he feels the safest. The owner should calmly sit on the floor and slightly play with one of the kitten toys (please read the article on "Playing with your kitten" on how to correctly play with a kitten!). Soon, the innate curiosity of the kitten will make him come out of his hiding place and start exploring. If possible introduce the rest of your family and animals the next day, or after the kitten had some time to rest. It is also recommended to not let the kitten explore the whole house in the first days. Let him first get used to the people and smells and only then start exploring.
Teaching your kitten
Kittens are animals who get quickly used to the habits of the new home. You will not even realise how much your new friend learns in the first week of staying in your home. The cat will learn your day rhythm, when to expect food, when attention. Which places in the house are the most interesting and which are dangerous. In this learning process it is important to stimulate the correct behaviours of the cat. Always praise with a treat or kind word good behaviours, such as going to the toilet in the correct place, using the appropriate scratching posts, etc. When a cat does something inappropriate, it is extremely important to react correctly. Never beat cats! It will only trigger their mistrust and revenge behaviour. If a cat does something wrong you should use your voice, firm and severe, not screaming, to say "no", or "bad". Then show him where is "good" (toilet, scratching post, etc.). Cats understand very quickly what is allowed and what not.