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If you’re excitedly counting down the days until your tiny new kitten arrives at home, then congratulations! It’s an exciting time and kittens can bring so much joy. Despite their small size, they need a surprising amount of gear!
If you’re not sure what to buy for your new kitten, then we’ve compiled a handy list of everything we recommend to get started.
We’ve also included a list of other things to know, such as arranging visits to the veterinarian and how to kitten-proof your home.
Two Is Better Than One
First, have you considered getting two kittens? They make great playmates, and many adoption centers and breeders recommend bringing home a pair of kittens. Besides playing with each other, they’ll also keep each other company when you’re not home.
Gear for Your New Kitten
If you haven’t had cats before, there are a few things you’ll need to buy to make your home perfect for your new kitten. You might have a few of these at hand if you’ve already got cats, but you might also choose to buy new ones for your kitten! Here’s what we recommend to get before your kitten arrives:
A good-quality kitten food will make sure your new kitten gets all the nutrients they need to grow big and strong. Kitten food is formulated differently than food designed for older cats. You can buy it in a range of formulations, from wet food and pâté to kibble. If your kitten is coming from a breeder, ask what food they already use and see if you can find the same brands, to avoid the possibility of an upset tummy as your kitten changes diet. If you’re not sure what sort of kitten food to go for, your veterinarian can help advise.
Having a small packet of treats for your kitten is a great idea. You can use them to encourage your new kitten to explore different places (like their carrier before a trip to the veterinarian) or to reward them for good behavior. Remember to account for treats as an overall percentage of your kitten’s daily rations to avoid them becoming overweight.
Food and Water Bowls
Make sure to buy separate bowls for food and water. Some kittens and cats prefer their water to be kept away from their food. Make sure that any bowl you choose is low enough for your kitten to eat and drink from comfortably and that has wide sides that won’t brush against your kitten’s whiskers. Heavier bowls are also a good idea, as they’re more difficult for an excitable and energetic kitten to knock over.
If there’s one thing that all kittens love to do, it’s playing! You’ll want to make sure you have a good selection of toys for your new kitten. Playing with your kitten is a great bonding exercise and can help you find out more about their personality. It’s a good idea to buy a range of different toys — some that your kitten can play with on their own, like ball runs, and others that you can use to play with your kitten, like feather wands or catnip mice.
Some toys, such as those with string, feathers, or anything your kitten could accidentally swallow, should be stored safely out of your kitten’s reach when not in use.
Collar and ID tag
If your kitten is going to be kept indoors, then this isn’t so much of a concern, but if they’ll be going outside, a collar with ID tag and bell is essential.
A wide, shallow-sided litter box is perfect for kittens. You’ll also need a scooper and a good supply of litter. There’s plenty of different types, and your kitten may show a preference for one type over another. It’s a good idea to buy small bags to start with until you figure out your kitten’s preferences.
Choose a bed that’s small enough for your kitten to curl into comfortably. Some kittens love a covered bed that gives them a sense of being safe and secure, while others will be happy with an open bed.
If you’re getting a long-haired kitten, they’ll need plenty of regular grooming sessions to keep their coat looking healthy. Even short-haired kittens can also benefit from a good groom during the times of the year when they shed their coat.
Scratching Post or Pad
Encouraging your new kitten to use a scratching post or pad from the start means that they won’t look twice at your furniture as they grow up — hopefully!
You’ll need a cat carrier for taking your kitten to vet appointments as they grow up. There’s plenty of different types to choose from, including rigid plastic carriers, soft-sided carriers, or even backpacks with a viewing area!
Things You Need to Know
Besides making sure you’ve got all the gear your kitten needs, there are also a few things to be aware of before you bring your kitten home. Here’s our list of suggestions:
Places to hide
Some kittens will be bold and brave when they arrive at their new home, while others will need a bit of time on their own. Either way, it’s a good idea to provide hiding places for your kitten to retreat to. You can buy a covered cat bed or make space to hide using cardboard boxes or your kitten’s carrier.
Introduce new people, pets, and spaces slowly
While it can be tempting to invite all your friends and family round to coo over your new kitten, it’s a much better idea to slowly introduce new people. You might like to set aside one room in your house for your kitten and gradually extend the rooms they’re allowed to explore as they become more confident.
Rather than inviting all your friends over at once, stick to one or two people at a time once your kitten is showing signs of feeling at home. If they go and hide as soon as new faces arrive, they might not be ready yet!
When it comes to other pets, the slow and steady method is best here too. Once your kitten is feeling more at home, you can gradually introduce other pets under supervised contact. Use a baby gate if you want to allow your pets to see each other without the pressure.
With all these interactions, it’s important to let your kitten set the pace. Watch them closely for signs of stress, and go back a few steps if it seems they’re not quite ready for the big wide world!
First Veterinarian Visit
You’ll want to schedule your kitten’s first trip to the veterinarian shortly after they arrive home with you. Your kitten might need vaccinations, and it’s also a good idea for your veterinarian to give them an overall health check. Kittens should be vaccinated against distemper, respiratory infections, and rabies. Sometimes a vaccination for feline leukemia is also recommended.
You’ll also want to discuss any medication that your kitten will need regularly, such as wormers and flea treatments.
Your kitten will have a passport or medical record that can be used to store information about what treatments they’ve had and when. Make sure you take this with you on all veterinarian visits.
If you have any questions for your veterinarian, it’s a good idea to write them down and take them with you. You can also bring kitten treats and reward your new kitten while they’re being treated. That way, they’ll have a positive association with these kinds of trips!
Kitten-proof your house
As well as being playful, kittens can sometimes manage to get into a spot of trouble around the house. Luckily, with a few adjustments, you can make your home as safe as possible.
Make sure electrical cables are either secured against a wall or taped down. Kittens love to use their sharp little teeth to chew on almost anything, and your electrical cables will be in the firing line unless they’re safely secured.
Remove any small items that your kitten might accidentally decide to play with. Earrings on nightstands, hair bands in the bathroom, or small items on the kitchen counter will all tempt your kitten. If they swallow a small object by mistake, then you might be in line for a costly and stressful trip to the veterinarian.
Check your houseplants. Some plants, including lilies, crocus, and daffodils, can be poisonous for cats. Kittens love to chew, so make sure to check your houseplants and those in your garden carefully.
Make sure plastic carrier bags are stored securely out of reach. You can purchase childproof (and thus, kitten-proof!) proof locks for cupboard doors that you don’t want your kitten investigating.
After making your way through our list of supplies and things you need to know, you should be fully ready to welcome your new kitten into your home! Spending the time and effort preparing everything first will make you feel more in control and result in a stress-free experience for you and your new bundle of fluff!
Featured Image Credit: Buenosia Carol, Pexels
Roland has been an animal lover all his life, with cats holding a special place in his heart. He is owned by three felines: Wheely, KitzKitz, and Nugget (all rescues) who bring all the laughter and mischievousness one can expect from the feline master race. As the creator of ExcitedCats, his mission is to assist in the search for the best gear to help improve the health and wellbeing of cats everywhere.