You’ll have some preparation to do before you bring the new kitten home. If you’ve never had a cat before, or if you’re adding a kitten as a companion for another pet here are some helpful tips.
Food and water
- Try to get the same food the kitten has been eating to start with, even if you plan to change the diet later. The first few days it’s best to keep the kitten’s diet consistent to avoid any tummy upset or diarrhoea.
- The kitten should have a separate food and water bowls. Ceramic or stainless steel bowls are the best choice because some cats have reactions to plastic bowls.
- The water bowl should be larger than the food bowls. Try to get an oval bowl if possible because cats don’t like their whiskers to touch the sides of the dish.
- If you would like to introduce treats to your kitten, try to stick to easily digested treats like freeze dried chicken. As the kitten gets a bit older, you can branch out into other adult cat treats.
- If the kitten you’re getting is not weaned and requires milk, use only a cat milk replacer – Cow’s milk is not good for kittens and could cause diarrhoea and dehydration.
The second most important thing is the litter box. Obtain a litter box even if you already have another cat and litter box in your home. The kitten must have his or her own litter box in addition to the existing box. You’ll also need a litter scoop so you can clean the litter box waste daily.
Select a litter that will attract your kitten to use the litter box. Kittens are naturally clean and should be litter trained when you adopt one. Kittens do go through a litter tasting phase around four to five weeks of age so if your kitten is that young, you should use only a non-clumping.
Don’t let bad habits form early for your new kitten. Providing your kitten with appropriate places to scratch from day one in your house will prevent the kitten from finding other surfaces to scratch. Scratching is necessary for all cats to remove the outer sheath from the nails as they grow. Vertical, carpeted scratching poles are great and can be combined with horizontal, cardboard scratchers to see which your pet prefers.
Kittens think everything in their world is a toy, but you should be prepared with some kitten toys that are safe. Balls and teaser wands are great and provide you with interactive fun while you bond with your new kitten.
Your kitten will probably choose your sofa, chair, china closet or under the bed as the ultimate best sleeping place. In the beginning, try offering your kitten a proper cat bed that he or she can call their own.
Introduce your kitten to brushing using a soft brush. If you take time daily to gently brush the kitten now, grooming will not be as difficult later in life. Nail trimming is something that kittens need frequently. Tiny kitten nails are sharp so keep the tips clipped weekly to avoid painful scratches while playing. Small scissor nail clippers are the best for tiny paws.
Before you go to pick up your new kitten, be sure to have a cat carrier already. This provides your kitten with a safe, secure place for travel. Be sure to get a carrier that will fit the cat as he or she grows.
A Room Just for Your Kitten
When you bring your new kitten home, don’t allow the kitten roam freely through the entire house for a few days, even a week. If there are other pets in your home, they need time to adjust to the new arrival before meeting. Use a spare room where you can set up the kitten’s litter, food, water, toys and bed and block off the doorway with a pet gate. The gate allows the kitten to get used to the sights, sounds and smells of the new home gradually. You can take the kitten out for supervised play but he or she needs a stable home base to start in. Secure or remove any electric cords in the room and try to block off areas under furniture so the kitten doesn’t camp out where you can’t reach him or her.