How to Prepare for a Kitten
A kitten can be a fun addition to the family that will bring years of entertainment and companionship. Kittens have large personalities and are wondrous to watch as they begin to explore the world around them. If you’re getting a kitten or you’ve recently adopted this new addition, you’re probably excited to give it the best life possible, while enjoying its antics.
While cats are known for being self-sufficient, it’s still important to prepare for your new pet. To ensure your kitten stays safe in its new environment, take the time to get your home ready. Make sure you buy the right supplies and toys to keep your kitten happy and healthy. While preparing for your new kitten can seem like a big job, you can get your home and family prepped for this arrival by checking a few basic tasks off your to-do list.
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Kitten Proof Your Home
Whether you’re adding a kitten or a cat to your family, it’s important to ensure you’re bringing the animal into an environment that’s safe. Think about potential hazards in your home and take the necessary precautions to ensure your new furry family member can’t get to them.
The exact items or areas of your home that need to be kitten-proofed may vary, so you’ll need to take the time to identify and address areas of concern. Some of the most common tasks you may need to complete to make your home safe for your cat or kitten include the following:
- Remove plants that are toxic to animals.
- Bundle up cords or strings that hang.
- Put away hair elastics or other small items.
- Hide sharp objects.
- Secure household cleaners.
- Tape down loose wires.
- Keep breakable items on low shelves.
- Remove bug or rodent traps.
Getting a new kitten or cat is similar to bringing a baby into the home for the first time. However, your new furry friend is already mobile, extremely curious, and can fit into spaces a baby can’t. Before you get your tiny kitten or full-grown cat, you’ll have to think like a feline and remove all the dangers in your home first.
The Basic Supplies
Your new kitten or cat will need a few things to stay comfortable, healthy, and entertained. Before you bring home your kitten, you should shop for:
- A litter box.
- Food and water bowls.
- A bed.
- A collar.
- Grooming tools.
- A carrier.
- A scratching post.
While all of these basic supplies are essential, some of the most important ones include a scratching post and toys. Cats or kittens that are bored and don’t have an outlet for their energy may turn to other items in your house. Sometimes, kittens and cats that don’t have enough toys or other exciting things to play with may start scratching on carpets or your furniture. Bored kittens and cats may also feel the need to “mark” their territory, which can lead to unwanted destruction in your home.
Choosing the right food for your kitten or cat is important so it can feel its best and stay healthy. You should choose food based on the animal’s age and whether it has any dietary restrictions. There are different formulations based on what you’re looking for, such as if you’d like your cat to have a vibrant coat or lose a few pounds. It’s always best to speak with a pet store representative or your vet when purchasing food to be sure you’re buying the best brand and type for your new addition.
Establish a Vet
Choosing a vet is important before you even bring your cat or kitten home. Chances are, you have many veterinarians in your area, so you’ll need to figure out what’s important to you when choosing the right doctor for your cat or kitten. You can consider the:
- Establishment’s hours and location.
- Friendliness of the office staff.
- Services available, including emergency care.
- Payment options and getting help with vet bills through financing.
- Cleanliness of the facility.
- Continuing education and professional affiliations.
Ease Cat Anxiety
When you take your cat or kitten home, it may be the animal’s first time in a carrier and in a car. This ride home can be stressful for your new furry family member, but there are a few things you can do to ease your cat’s anxiety. Place treats and toys in the carrier, along with comfortable bedding. Secure the carrier in the car so that it won’t move or bounce. If your ride home is long, take breaks and check on the animal to be sure it isn’t too anxious.
When introducing your new cat or kitten to your family or other animals that live with you, you’ll need to be patient. Your new furry friend needs time to adjust and has been thrown into a new environment. To ease your cat or kitten into meeting other animals in the house, keep the cat confined to one small room and slowly bring it out over time.
It’s important to keep your regular routine for the sake of your current pets, while slowly introducing your new cat or kitten to the family. To make sure the introductions go well, be sure there’s a safe place your new cat or kitten can “escape” to if it needs some time alone.
Your other family members should be on board with adopting your new cat or kitten and excited to help take care of it. Establishing roles and assigning tasks is a great way to ensure your new animal gets everything it needs and the attention it deserves.
Consider dividing up the tasks associated with your cat or kitten between family members. Before your new addition joins the family, figure out who’s responsible for cleaning the litter box, making the vet appointments, or grooming the new kitten. Stick with these roles to make sure everyone is doing their part to keep your kitten or cat a happy and healthy member of the family.
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This post was updated November 6, 2019. It was originally published November 6, 2019.