The preciousness of a new kitten is hard to deny. When those big eyes look up at you trustingly, your heart will melt. Kittens are overwhelmingly cute, it’s true, but they are also a pet with needs. From stocking up with kitten-friendly foods to setting up safe places for your new kitten to explore, here are 6 steps to prepare for getting a new kitten:
1. Kitten-Friendly Supplies
Before introducing a kitten to their new home, stocking up on the kitty essentials is—well—essential! There are some things that are specific to kitten needs like a litter box with lower sides so they can climb into it easier, kitten-safe foods, and toys that don’t present a choking hazard.
Some great toy options are often things you might already have in your home. This can include tennis balls, cardboard toilet paper tubes, empty shoe boxes and more. These household items can entertain your new kitten for a long while (and are ok in being destroyed!). Veterinarians will also have great recommendations for your new furry fluff ball.
2. A Space Just for Them
When a kitten enters a new space, they want to feel welcome. Safety is important for your kitten, but sectioning off a space just for them is important for your stuff too. Kittens are curious and unintentionally a little destructive. They will get into mischief, especially if you’re not home. Find a space suitable for your kittens’ food, water, litter box and toys, and move away things that are valuable or fragile from that area.
3. Safety Checks Around the House
Beyond their own personal space, you want your kitten to explore their new environment. This means making sure they don’t hurt themselves in the process. Close your toilet lid (they will think it’s a giant water bowl and might fall in!), remove plants that are poisonous, hide your cleaning supplies, and secure your door and window screens so your kitten doesn’t accidentally wander outside unsupervised.
4. Kitten Furniture
To live a comfortable cat life, kittens need a bed and a scratching post. However, kittens may be initially wishy-washy about their new beds and will likely choose different places to sleep. Consider starting simple with an old cushion and a washable cover. You can also create siding with a cardboard box and line with an old sweater. It may not look pretty, but spending too much money on a bed that won’t be used isn’t pretty either!
Scratching posts are used as a form of exercise for a cat, so they can stretch out their long limbs. The scratching post should be encouraged as soon as your kitten gets home, so it doesn’t think about using its nails on other furniture items in your house.
If you’re bringing a new kitten out and about, some suggest having a collar with the proper registration and contact information (though your kitten may find a way to get it off them!) or getting them microchipped. Kittens as young as 8 weeks old are microchipped, and it’s considered a safe procedure with very limited risk. When a kitten is microchipped, it is supposed to last a lifetime.
6. After the Kitten Has Arrived
Once you finally bring your kitten home, that is when the fun begins! This is the time to let your kitten feel comfortable in their new surroundings and ensure their safety and wellbeing. You may find that things you thought were “cat proof” are not, and you’ll have to reevaluate. Within a few days of arrival, experts suggest bringing your kitten to the vet for a physical exam. This is a great opportunity for your kitten to be introduced to people in a pet-friendly environment.