Cats

New kitten checklist

Kelly Johnstone

Are you set to welcome a new kitten into your family? Make sure you’re purr-pared! Here are the kitten essentials you need to know.

 

What should I think about before getting a kitten?

So you’re thinking of getting a kitten? Or maybe you’ve already decided to expand your family with a new feline? Either way, there are several things you may want to consider to make sure you’re well prepared. Here are our new kitten tips!

Ask yourself these questions:

> Can you afford a kitten?

Take into account ongoing costs such as food, a bed, a litter tray, a scratching post or climbing tower, toys, grooming, as well as vaccinations, neutering, microchipping and regular flea and worming treatments. Don’t forget cat insurance too.

> Is your home cat-friendly?

Where you live will have a say in the suitability of owning a cat. For example, if you live on a busy road, your cat may not be safe venturing outdoors, so consider if your home has enough space for your kitten to be an indoor cat.

Plan the changes you need to make it cat-friendly. Make sure there’s safe spaces for catnaps aplenty by setting up a dedicated room for them and mark out suitable places for litter trays.

Do you have other pets who may not get along with your kitten? Dogs and cats are renowned for not always being the best of friends, but contrary to popular films (we’re looking at you Cats and Dogs), they can be. When it comes to introducing your kitten and dog, you may want to start slowly and do it gradually, and only once your kitten has settled into your home.

> Do you have time to look after a kitten or cat?

Your kitten may take up a lot of your time. You should consider whether you can dedicate enough hours and attention to settling your kitten and looking after them as they grow. Working long hours means your cat may end up home alone for long periods of the day.

 

What do I need to prepare for a kitten?

There are a few things you might need to buy to prepare for your kitten:

> A cat bed

All cats and kittens need a peaceful place for their catnaps. From raised beds to ones that hang over your radiator for warmth, the choices are endless.

> Kitten food

Kitten food differs from adult cat food as it often contains more nutrients to help your kitten grow into a healthy adult cat. If you’re unsure whether the food is appropriate, check the back of the packaging and speak to your vet.

> Water bowl

Kittens and cats need access to fresh water at all times. Whether you opt for a traditional bowl or one with a fountain to simulate running water, there are plenty of options.

> Cat litter and tray

Cats are clean by nature so toilet training is rarely an issue. Your kitten should have access to their own cat litter tray though so you can help prevent accidents appearing elsewhere in the house. Make sure it’s cleaned regularly too as your kitten may not use it if it’s dirty.

> Cat scratching post

A scratch from your kittens and cat may be claw-ful, but they scratch so they can keep their claws sharp. Getting a cat a scratching post can keep your furniture, curtains – and even yourself – protected from those sharp claws!

> Cat tree

Kittens and cats love to climb. This is all down to their natural instinct to hunt. While you may be unable to stop them from climbing, you can redirect their natural instinct towards a cat tree instead.

> Cat carrier

Your kitten may need several trips to the vet when they’re young for vaccinations and general checkups so a cat carrier is an easy way to transport them safely.

> A cat brush or comb

Keep your kitty well groomed with a brush or comb. You may want to start with a small brush or even a toothbrush so you can help them get used to the feel of being groomed.

> Cat toys

Kittens love to play so keep them entertained with a selection of toys. These could include a mouse on a string to chase, a cat-friendly laser or a circuit that stimulates your cat’s senses. But, let’s be honest, you can always rely on a trusty cardboard box as a great (and cheap) toy for your kitten.

> A cat flap

If your kitten will have access to the outdoors, you might want to think about installing a cat flap.. But, you shouldn’t let your kitten venture outdoors until they’re at least 6 months old and they’ve been fully vaccinated and neutered.

 

How to settle a new kitten

So the day has almost arrived and it’ll soon be time to bring your kitten home. Make sure you’ve got everything sorted!

> Check for hazards

Check your home for things that could potentially hurt your kitten, such as poisonous plants (the Seek app is useful for identifying plant types if you’re unsure), as well as things your kitten could damage, such as breakable ornaments.

> Set up their own quiet space

Your kitten may find the whole experience a little daunting, so it’s a good idea to introduce them into your home gradually. Start by letting your kitten get used to one room first. For the first few days, let your kitten have their own quiet space, and time for a cat nap (or should that be kitten nap). We know you’re excited to play with them, but giving them time to explore their new surroundings first, gives them time to settle down.

You might want to set up a cosy space for them with blankets and bedding. In the early stages, it’s advised by pet charities to keep their food, water bowl and litter tray all in this one room, but make sure the litter tray is positioned well away from their bed and food.

> Feed them regularly

Depending on their age, your kitten will need a few meals a day. It’s recommended to feed three to six month old kittens three to four meals a day, and six to twelve month old kittens around two to four meals a day.

> Give your kitten time and attention

Your kitten will need a lot of time and attention while they get to know their own home. If possible, book time off work or work from home so you can help your kitten to settle in.

> Kitten insurance

Pets are part of the family and we believe your kitten deserves the best. That’s why we’re giving pet prejudice the middle claw. Our cat insurance can make you purr with happiness.

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