The Ultimate Guide to Getting a Kitten
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I truly believe a house isn’t a home without a cat. A lot of people don’t like cats, and although I get it, I have, for the most part, only ever had absolutely lovely cats. When it comes to whether you should get a cat or not, if you are able to give it a stable and loving home, I am always going to tell you to go for it!
Where should I get a kitten?
The first road you should go down is adoption. Websites like Blue Cross can give you an idea of what kittens are available in your area. As you can imagine, kittens are really popular, so it’s likely that Blue Cross, or any other animal charity you wish to adopt from will want to do some checks first. Our kitten situation for the last two we got has fallen somewhere in-between adopting and buying. We ended up getting Albert because my friends Mum’s cat had kittens (beautiful half Persian ones), and the lady that was supposed to have him let her down last minute. They say everything happens for a reason and nearly nine years later, he is treated like a prince. We had a similar situation with Alfred, the kitten we got recently. Someone at my Mum’s work had a cat that had two kittens and his sister died at birth. She couldn’t keep Alfred herself, because she had too many animals, so lo and behold I was sitting working from home one day and I got a text from Mum asking if we should give him his forever home.
There also might be an occasion where you need to buy, to ensure you get a kitten. Mixing kittens and adult cats is delicate work, and as I mentioned kittens go fairly quickly at rehoming places. If you are going to buy from a breeder or someone who has just had their adult cat have a litter, the main thing I can advise you is to get them to the vets for a little check ASAP. Unfortunately, people can lie about whether they have de-flead or de-wormed kittens and also about their general health, so a trip to the vets won’t hurt.
What do I need for my new kitten?
When I made my “What’s in my Fridge?” post you could be forgiven for thinking all of my leftovers were for the cat. Unfortunately, feline friends have very delicate little tummies, so if you are going to get a new kitten, you will need to get some stuff initially to prepare for the day you bring them home. One of the great things about getting a kitten is that you don’t need to necessarily buy loads of expensive stuff for them, just a few essentials and you will be fine.
Litter and a litter tray
The main thing you need to ensure you have is somewhere for your kitten to go to the toilet. Until it has been vaccinated, you can’t let your new fur baby outside, so you will need to invest in litter and a litter tray. You really don’t need an expensive litter tray, one like this Bob Martin litter tray is fine. You’ll also need to get litter, and take it from someone who has cleaned kitten poo, it’s better to get a premium litter brand, like Catsan litter.
Like an actual baby, you will not be able to give your kitten adult food from the get go. All of the major cat food brands now sell food specifically for kittens. You will also need to make sure you get specific kitten biscuits. If you are a household with more than one cat, it can be really hard to separate the food, and if it is, it’s worth remembering kitten specific food is not as harmful to an adult cat as adult food can be to a kitten.
A cat bed
When you bring your kitten home, it is highly likely that they will be nervous and scared. If you want to make your new kitten as comfortable as possible, it is definitely worth investing in a cat bed, so they have their own little space. This is especially useful if you have other cats/animals in the home.
Flea and worming treatment
Although this can be purchased in most pharmacies, my best piece of advice for flea and worming treatment would be to get it from the vet. Many now do monthly subscriptions to both flea and worming treatment so it comes through the post and eliminates the possibility of you doing it late of forgetting altogether.
Is it likely that your new kitten will discard the toys you buy to play with thins like hairbands and the cardboard middle of toilet rolls? Probably, but essentially kittens are playful, curious little children and you should invest in a pack of toys for them to play with.
A cat carrier
Your new fur baby will need to go backwards and forwards to the vet quite a lot in the first few months of being with you, so a cat carrier is essential.
Bringing your new kitten home
Once you have everything in place, you have the excitement of bringing your new kitten home! The main thing to make sure you do is give your kitten freedom to explore. In a new environment, your kittens first natural reaction might be to hide. As much as you will probably want to pick your kitten up and kiss him or her for hours, you need to give your new addition time, space and freedom to explore. The best way to get a kitten used to a new home is giving them access to a couple of rooms initially and then more and more as they get more comfortable.
Meeting the family
If you have children, they will absolutely be excited about the new kitten. Getting a child a pet like a kitten teaches them so much, and the great thing about cats is they are not as “excitable” as dogs. When you are preparing your kids for the kittens arrival, ensure they know they need to be calm and give the new kitten some space.
Introducing your kitten to another cat
If you already have a cat, there isn’t any reason your cat and kitten will not become fast friends. When we introduced Alfred to Albert he was a bit much for him at first, but now they sleep together, wash each other and play together (which is great for our adult cat Albert as he is quite lazy, he has got so much more active since we got the baby). Here are a few quick tips on introducing kittens to adult cats:
- Make sure both have their own space. You might want to set up a bed in a separate room for the kitten at first so that it does not encroach on your older cats territory.
- Enforce exchanging scents. This can be as simple as swapping blankets over so they both get used to each others scent before they meet each other.
- When you do finally let them meet, be patient. They will need some time to figure each other out. Don’t be disheartened if they initially don’t like each other. Cats are territorial animals, but if you introduce them slow and steady they should become friends.
I am NOT a vet. These are tips from my own experience with cats.