Young boy playing with kitten on sofa

How to get your children ready for a kitten

Children and cats can be the best of friends. But, first impressions count. 

From what you can do before getting your kitten to handling the first introduction. Our tips will help get their relationship off to the best start.

Preparing your children for your cat's arrival

The first meet might be really exciting for both your child and your kitten. Talk to your child beforehand about how to welcome your kitten to the family. 

This can include:

Five fun ways to prepare for your kitten

You can encourage your children to get involved even before you've brought your kitten home. This will help you prepare them for their arrival. It also brings them into decision making around your cat at an early stage.

1. Create a shopping list together

Sit down and think of all the things you'd like to buy your kitten. If you'd like some guidance on what your kitten will need, we have a shopping list of items we recommend. But, it's up to your children which colours they want to choose and (the fun bit) which toys too!

If your child gets pocket money, see if they might like to save up to buy something for their new pet. This is a great way for them to welcome your kitten.

2. Create cat promises

Write down some kitty rules or promises, specific to a cat’s needs. Not only can this be fun to do together, but it is something you can easily refer to if needed once your pet has come home. 

Ask your child to think about how your new pet might like to be treated and note these down. For example:

  • be gentle when stroking them
  • leave them alone when they’re asleep
  • make sure they always have enough water

You could turn the promises into a poster and decorate it or colour it in.

3. Play pretend

Your child may be a little young to understand written rules about pet care right now. So, it can be fun to get them used to the idea of looking after a pet by caring for a toy animal. 

There are some lovely toys available. Many come with accessories, like a bowl and a bed. These are great for encouraging children to have empathy towards animals. 

If you’re bringing home a kitten, consider getting a cat toy before your kitten comes home. Ask your child to think about what the ‘pet’ might like, and encourage them to brush and feed the toy.

4. Make a welcome home card

Why not ask your children to create a welcome home card for your cat?  This gets them ready for their arrival and creates the right mindset to welcome your cat to the family.

5. Start a scrapbook

You can start a scrapbook as a way to remember funny things or big moments as a family. You could:

  • take pictures
  • add drawings
  • write stories
  • paint 

This will be something nice to look back on over the years together.

How to settle your kitten into your home

Your kitten will likely be very tired when they get to your home. The move away from their mum and littermates, along with travel, can really take it out of them.

Here are some ways to settle them in with your children.

1. Give them a quiet room

Kittens, just like children, need some quiet time and a chance to recuperate. Especially after all the excitement of exploring a new home. It’s important that while your kitten is in their quiet place, they are given space to relax and learn that they won’t be bothered. 

2. Let your kitten come to you

Once your kitten is rested and calm, or even starting to become inquisitive:

  • sit down on the floor with your child
  • make sure they stay still and relaxed
  • let your kitten come to you and encourage gentle strokes

Short bursts are a great way of making sure the first few days are full of positive interactions for your kitten and your child.

3. Keep play sessions short

Kittens need to sleep a lot, so it's best that they are left alone to rest when they need to. Just like children, if kittens don’t get enough sleep they may become irritable!

4. Use kitten toys to play

Kittens will naturally play with their teeth and claws. Teaching them to refocus onto appropriate toys as early as possible will really pay off when they grow into adults. We have some great advice on how to play with your kitten, as well as the best cat toys for them.

5. Supervise at all times

Although it’s good to get your kitten used to being picked up gently, children may want to do this more than the kitten wants. So, actively supervise when your children handle your new kitten. Make sure that your kitten is well supported, comfortable and happy. 


Children often mimic adult behaviour. So, if they see you doing it, then they are more likely to do it too.

— Page last updated 04/01/2023