If you are planning on bringing a kitten into your home for the first time, it is likely that you are excited, but it is natural that you might also feel a bit nervous. While it is true that cats are more independent than dogs, adding a new kitten to your family is not something that should be done on a whim. You need to ensure you have the time and resources to provide a suitable home for a kitten, as well as preparing sensibly for the cat they will become. Here are five essential tips to help you ensure your kitten gets the best start in life.
- Get your kitten kit ready
Your kitten needs equipment and supplies from day one, so you should go shopping before you bring the kitten home. You will need bowls for food and water, a litter tray, scratching post, toys, and a collar and tag. The collar should be adjustable so it can be expanded as your kitten grows. The scratching post and toys will entertain your kitten and prevent them from clawing at your furniture. You should also get a travel box, basket, or crate to bring them home in and for trips to the vet.
You might want to get a cat bed, but most cat owners will tell you that these are rarely used as cats tend to find their own spots in cupboards, under the bed, on the windows sill, etc. If your cat is long-haired, you should invest in a brush and other grooming supplies.
- Introduce the kitten to resident pets carefully
If you already have an adult cat or a dog, you need to introduce the new arrival with caution. To give them the best possible chance at happy co-habitation, the introduction should be done in stages with neither being forced upon the other. Find out how to introduce a kitten to a resident cat.
- Kitten-proof the home
Kittens are notorious for getting into mischief, so it is important that you remove as many potential dangers as possible. This includes choking hazards like cords or string or small toys – basically, anything small enough to fit in a kitten’s mouth should be kept out of reach. Lots of human foods (chocolate, coffee, grapes, raisins) as well as plants, such as lilies, are toxic to cats. Electrical wires should be protected and tucked out of reach. Kittens will also climb into whatever they can fit into, so always check the washer/dryer before turning it on.
- Take them to the vet
Soon after you get your kitten home, you need to take them to get their pet clinic vaccinations. The vet will check the kitten over to ensure they are in good health and administer their vaccinations. They will need to visit the vet annually for health checks, vaccination boosters, dental care, and neutering/spaying.
- Get insurance
It is important to take out insurance which will cover the costs of unexpected or emergency veterinary care should your kitten get into a fight with another cat or dog, catch an illness, develop a life-changing or life-threatening condition, or get hit by a car. The cost of treatment can reach thousands of dollars, so it is well worth getting insurance as soon as you can.