Who doesn’t love kittens? They are tiny, fluffy, and adorable. Kittens are hilarious when they jump around and heartwarmingly sweet when they snuggle in for a nap. If you are planning to add a new kitten to your household, you are probably very excited and eager to watch your new little one play, discover, and grow as she becomes a full-grown cat. Before you bring her home, however, you should make sure you have everything you need to ensure her health and safety and to maximize your enjoyment of your new pet. Check out these suggestions, and for more comprehensive and in-depth preparation, download and print our New Kitten Checklist for a complete list of everything you need before bringing your furry feline home.
Why You Should Prepare for Your New Kitten
It might be tempting to bring a kitten home on a whim, particularly if someone you know has a litter of kittens who need good homes. Unfortunately, not being prepared to bring home a little ball of fluff can turn into some major regret later. You need to be sure that you have the time and energy to devote to taking care of your new kitten. In addition, there are some items that you will need to have on hand to make sure your new furbaby is safe, happy, and healthy.
If you don’t have what you need, your kitten can get into trouble. For example, neglecting to provide her with things to do can lead to boredom, and a bored kitten will tend to take out her feelings of frustration on your new leather sofa or freshly painted walls. Not having the right kitten food can make her sick. It’s important to prepare yourself and your family ahead of time so that your new little family member can thrive.
Keeping Your Kitten Safe
Before your bring your kitten home, you will want to go through your home (or at least the areas she will have access to) and kitten-proof. Particularly if you have never had a kitten before, you might be surprised at what she can find to get into and how dangerous everyday items can be.
While you might picture your kitten getting tangled in a ball of yarn and consider your mental image hilariously adorable, the truth is that if she starts to swallow string, she will keep on swallowing it, potentially choking or even creating a blockage in her digestive tract. Kittens don’t know how to avoid swallowing pieces of string, so it is important to remove any access to yarn, ribbon, and similar items. Instead, provide her with safe kitten toys.
You will also need to check your plants to be sure they are not toxic to cats. Since all baby animals love to mouth and chew on items, your new kitten is likely to find your plants to be irresistible. (In fact, many adult cats also like to chew on plants.) Because a kitten is so small, even a couple of small bites of a toxic plant such as an Easter lily or tulips can make her very sick – or worse.
Meet Her Basic Needs
Of course you know that all animals need food, water, and a place to sleep. For your kitten, be sure to choose food and water bowls that she can reach easily. The water bowl should not be too deep; you don’t want her to climb in and not be able to get out, as that can have disastrous results. Try to use the same food that she has been eating, if you know what it is. Then you can gradually switch her over to your preferred brand if desired.
Your kitten will also need a litter box. Again, size matters: Make sure she can get in and out easily. Most kittens will litter-box train easily. You need to keep it clean and dry or else she will stop using it and will find a nice, clean corner of your carpet or your closet to relieve herself.
A scratching post and plenty of toys are also needed so your kitten won’t be bored and will have a way to sharpen her claws. If you have ever seen cat scratches down the side of a chair or on the edge of a carpet, you know the results of not giving your kitten somewhere safe to scratch. There are a variety of scratching posts available, so experiment to see what works best.
In addition, your kitten will need a variety of accessories to keep her safe and healthy, from identification tags to a cat carrier. And, of course, you will need to see a veterinarian regularly. Download our comprehensive, easy-to-use New Kitten Checklist to learn more about what you should do to prepare for your new kitten.