In terms of getting a new pet, kittens are fairly low-maintenance. Compared to puppies, your young feline companion will be relatively easy to house train, won’t need expensive and time-consuming obedience lessons and is unlikely to keep your neighbours awake during the night.
However, despite their comparative simplicity, there are still some things to remember before bringing your new pet home. Unfortunately, preparing for a kitten isn’t as simple as setting up a litter box and having some feather toys around the house. Raising a kitten takes time and hard work, so if you are getting ready to bring a new cat home, here are some things you should consider.
If You Can, Consider Getting Twins
While taking on two kittens instead of one might seem like an even greater commitment, cats can benefit from having a playmate during their development. Check around your local shelters, and you will undoubtedly see no shortage of siblings looking for good homes.
Adopting kittens in pairs helps to keep them entertained as they grow, which can be especially helpful if you will be out of the house for hours at a time. If you regularly leave the house for extended periods (i.e. going to work), you might want to consider adopting a fully grown cat. However, if you have the time and the commitment to handle kittens, it can be the next best option to get two.
However, two kittens means double the bills, so you should ensure you have the budget for supplies and vet’s bills for your new pets.
Find Healthy Kitten Food
Kittens need different diets than fully grown cats. During their growth and development, kittens will need extra protein, fats, vitamins and minerals to ensure they mature into healthy and strong adults. While it isn’t the end of the world to feed a kitten adult food in the short term, it will not provide the essential nutrients it needs as it grows throughout the first year of its life. It is also worth noting, that different cat breeds often need different diets; this is something you will need to undoubtedly take into account.
As a result, you should ensure you find healthy food options for your new pet. There are a few things to consider here. For example, you will need to decide whether you plan on feeding your kitten wet food, dry kibble or a mixture of the two. When looking for the right food, it can be helpful to check out online shops and retailers. You will be able to find a wide range of kitten food and treats to keep your pet happy and healthy as it grows.
Get a Litter Box
Whether you plan on having an indoor or outdoor cat, you will need to get a litterbox for your new kitten. You will also need to buy some cat litter and a scoop to remove the soiled litter from the tray.
When shopping for a litter box, you should try to find something roomy to avoid your kitten spreading a mess around the house. Additionally, you need to ensure that you clean the tray regularly. Cats are naturally clean animals, so they are less likely to use the litter box unless it is clean.
Cleanliness is also essential because humans are at risk of contracting an organism called toxoplasma from cat faeces. While this is generally harmless, it can cause issues for pregnant women. Therefore, you should wear gloves while cleaning the litter box and always wash your hands afterwards. Also, you should bleach the tray about once a month to reduce the risk of transmitting pathogens.
Purchase a Bed
Most kittens like to have a bed they can call their own. They appreciate a space they know and feel comfortable in, especially when they have just moved into a new home. However, don’t be surprised if your feline friend decides to ignore their new bed.
As such, it can be a good idea to hold off on spending a lot of money on a bed until you know what your pet’s preferences are. If your cat is more comfortable sleeping in a cardboard box, there’s little use in investing a significant sum on a plush bed. It can help to line their bed with an old sweatshirt or blanket of yours. This will help them to become accustomed to your scent, and they will associate your smell with relaxation and safety in the future.
Toys and Scratching Posts Help With Exercise and Entertainment
Despite what you might have heard, cats don’t actually use scratching posts to sharpen their claws. Instead, they use them for exercise, to clean their claws and to mark their territory. Therefore, you should get your kitten a scratching post as soon as possible after bringing it home. Not only will this benefit your cat, but it will also save your furniture, as your kitten is liable to scratch this if it’s not given an alternative.
A great way of training your cat to use its scratching post is to play around the post as often as possible. This brings us to another essential thing for kittens; playtime. Cats use play as a means to develop and grow and get exercise in their youth. Therefore, you should take time to play with your kitten from the moment you get it. This will also strengthen your bond with your companion.
Therefore, you should purchase some toys to keep your pet stimulated as it grows. Cats are curious creatures and need toys that are engaging but safe for them to play with. Therefore, you should avoid anything that could splinter, crack or be swallowed. You should also avoid things like spools of string or thread, despite the cliché of cats playing with them. They can pose a choking hazard to your pet.
Overall, bringing home a new kitten is an exciting process. You have the opportunity to bond with a new companion as it grows and matures into adulthood. To give your cat the best start in life, consider following these suggestions.