Getting a Kitten: The Ultimate Checklist
Have you decided to add a new bundle of joy to your family? There’s no denying that kittens are cute, playful, and hugely entertaining – and the experience they have during this important early stage of their life will help shape the cat that they grow up to become. Whether you’re experienced with adult cats or have never had a pet cat before and watch to change that, this checklist will help you make sure that your new kitten has everything that she needs for the best start in life in her forever home.
Kittens grow at an alarming rate, and before you know it, that little furry ball is going to start looking like a teenage cat. So, it’s no surprise that they need nutritious food to make sure that their body can keep up with all that growing and darting around your house when they have the zoomies. Ideally, you should feed your kitten little and often, and most of them are not shy about letting you know exactly when they are hungry and need feeding right NOW.
You can start your kitten off on specially formulated kitten wet food, but as they get older, it’s worth considering making the switch to raw. Bella and Duke raw cat food is a great choice since it has all the nutrients that your cat needs to stay healthy and happy – and it comes in handy pre-prepared meals to make giving your pet the right portion a breeze. You can also freeze the food, so it’s perfect for buying in bulk. Check out the range at bellaandduke.com.
Plenty of Toys:
Kittens sleep a lot, but when they’re awake, the one thing that they love to do is play. So, you will need to make sure that your kitten has plenty of things to entertain themselves with when they have got the zoomies. You can get bags filled with kitten toys quite cheaply online, and there’s everything from fabric fishes to jingly balls and feathered critters to choose from – your kitten can have endless fun batting them all around or even playing fetch with you; some kittens love it! If you want to make sure that your kitten grows up confident around humans, get some interactive toys too so that you can play with them.
A Litter Tray:
By the time that they are old enough to leave their mothers, most kittens will be litter trained, as they watch their mother using the litter tray and pick up this habit quite quickly. Cats are naturally inclined to bury their waste, so even if your kitten is not litter trained already, it’s a good idea to get a litter tray or box so that you can start showing them where their toilet. It shouldn’t take long for them to realise where they need to poop. Get a litter tray or box that isn’t too high, as you don’t want your kitten to have any difficulty getting into it; this could actually put them off from using the tray in the future and lead to even more problems for you (and your carpets). It’s best to get non-clumping litter for kittens, as they can sometimes play in it, and if it gets in their mouth, clumping litter can cause digestive blockages and make your kitten quite sick. You can get specially formulated, sensitive kitten litter, which is a great choice.
A Cosy Bed:
While your kitten might prefer to sleep on your feet or even on your head, it’s always nice for them to have somewhere cosy that they can call their own – even if you feel like they haven’t even noticed it; it’s a cat thing. This is especially true, however, if you have any other pets in the house because it’s important to keep your kitten isolated for the first few days so that all the animals can get used to the new addition’s scent, and the kitten can get used to their new home without being too overwhelmed.
Scratching Posts and Pads:
If you’ve had a kitten before then, you’ll know just how sharp their little claws are – and if you’ve never had a kitten before, you’re about to find out. They might be innocent and cute looking, but when they get their little needle claws out, they can do a surprisingly large amount of damage. Scratching posts and pads are necessary to give your kitten somewhere to do all that necessary scratching that isn’t your furniture – or worse, your arm. You can pick them up quite cheaply or invest in a fun cat tree with a scratching post.
Your kitten needs to feel safe and at home with you, and for most cats, the best way to do this is to provide them with somewhere high up to perch. There’s a reason that cats have a reputation for getting stuck in trees – they just can’t help themselves and want to get as high up as possible because that’s where they feel safe and secure. A tall cat tree is an ideal choice, or you can get perches and cat shelves that you can attach to your walls with ladders for your kitten to use if it’s too high for them to jump up to.
For the first few weeks of their lives, it’s likely that your kitten will have a couple of visits to the vet – so a comfortable and spacious cat carrier is a must. And even if your kitten has already been vaccinated and checked over by a vet before they came to be with you, it’s still a good idea to get a carrier so that you can get them used to it from a young age. Just leave some treats and toys in the carrier and have it sat open in the middle of the room so that they can explore it at their own leisure and get familiar with it. This will make things a lot easier for you when you need to take them somewhere in it.
Their Own Space:
For the first few days to a week of being in your home, it’s a good idea to dedicate a whole room to your kitten if you can. This will help them acclimatise to their new surroundings and make it easier for them to settle in without getting overwhelmed. It’s an essential step if you have any other pets since it allows them to ‘scent swap’ without actually meeting face to face, making things easier when they are finally introduced, as they will already be familiar with one another. Kit out the room with food and water bowls, a bed, litter tray, and plenty of toys. Remember that cats don’t enjoy eating close to their little tray – who’d eat near a toilet? – so put these on either end of the room.
You’ve got the essentials covered but there are some other items you might want to consider. Many cats prefer to drink from running water, so you may want to invest in a water fountain for your kitten. You’ll also need some good cat claw trimmers – be sure you know how to do it safely before using them – and some kitten-safe treats can help you bond with your cat and reward them for good behaviour.
Next step: bring your purring little bundle of joy home and let the adventure begin!