How To Prepare Your Home For The Safe Arrival Of Your New Kitten
Bringing a new kitten home is exciting and scary, especially if you are new to being owned by a cat!
From basic needs to play, sleep, and safety, there are many things to consider when preparing your home for a kitten.
So, what do you need to do to get your home in tip-top shape for your new fur baby?
Read on to find out what you will need to buy, what you will need to put away, and what you will need to cover up.
Every kitten needs a few basic items to get started.
Food and Bowls
It’s very important to start your kitten off on the right foot when it comes to her food.
Choose something that is filled with real meat, has limited carbohydrates, and is wet (i.e., not kibble, if you can help it).
Make sure your kitten's food and water bowls are shallow enough for her to easily reach the contents inside.
This is also important because many cats do not like how deeper bowls press against their whiskers when they’re trying to reach food from the bottom. Any steps you can take to foster a healthy eating habit early on will pay dividends later.
Litter and Litter Box
Make sure your kitten's litter box is short enough for her to climb into easily.
If cats find their litter box too hard to access, or too uncomfortable, they can resort to peeing outside the litter box - including on your carpets and even on any clothes you leave lying around!
When choosing the litter to fill the box, keep in mind that curious kittens sometimes eat their litter.
Choose a non-toxic variety, and avoid scoopable clay litters, which can expand in a kitten's stomach and cause blockages.
Keeping Kitty Healthy
A cat's health is most fragile during their first year of life. If your kitten has not received all her vaccines yet, keep her away from other animals in the home until she has been vaccinated.
Kittens are also more likely to experience allergies to chemicals in the environment.
Choose cleaning products that will be used around your kitten carefully. Avoid harsh chemicals and stick to natural cleaners like vinegar whenever possible.
Pest prevention is another health concern, especially if your kitten will be spending time outdoors, or if she shares a home with a dog who spends time outside.
Ask your vet for recommendations regarding flea and tick prevention. Some products are not suitable for very young kittens, but a bath and flea comb can remove most infestations with a little time and patience.
Hairballs may also be an issue for your kitten, especially if she has a long or thick coat.
Invest in a quality brush, and take the time to bond over a weekly brushing.
Kitten-Proofing Your Home
Safety is one of the most important considerations when bringing a new kitten into your home.
Covering up electrical outlets is a good first step, but you also need to cover or hide wires, since many cats will chew or scratch them. To a kitten’s eyes, they may look like a snake that needs to be pounced on and neutralized!
Other common safety hazards are poisonous house plants and sources of water.
Remove any plants that are toxic to cats, and make sure to drain bathtubs immediately after use and keep toilet lids closed at all times. If your cat falls into these unfamiliar waters, she may not be able to get out.
You also need to look for any places that your kitten could get stuck and take care to block them off so she can’t access them.
Common hiding hazards are below furniture, behind appliances and inside mechanical furniture like rocking chairs and recliners.
Food and medications that can harm your kitten should be kept out of reach. Be sure to immediately and thoroughly clean up any spilled medications, vitamins, or supplements. Small items like beads and ribbons that present a choking hazard should also be stored away.
Just like human children, kittens spend a lot of time playing. That means they need lots and lots of toys. Stock up on plenty of small toys like balls and mice that your kitten can chase and bat around.
Kittens also love toys that the two of you can play with together. Toys on strings and sticks are a great way to play with your kitten, but keep them put away when you're not there to supervise.
Large toys are also important for young cats. Get at least one cat tree or tunnel for your kitten to climb. Window seats and carpeted cat shelves are also fun for kittens.
The only activity kittens spend more time on than play is sleeping.
Kittens sleep for 16-18 hours per day, which means they need plenty of comfy places to nap. Cats like to rotate their sleeping places, so one cat bed may not be enough.
Get at least two cat beds and place them in a private, secure location where your kitten will feel safe.
The Need to Scratch
Cats have a strong instinct to scratch, and your new kitten will be no different. Keep a scratching post in each main area she spends time in.
Train your kitten to scratch her scratching posts instead of the furniture to prevent a scratching problem in the future.
Different cats have different tastes when it comes to scratching posts, so you might want to purchase several different kinds to start, in order to get an idea of what she likes.
Some scratching posts are made of cardboard, while others are covered in carpet or sisal.
Most cats enjoy scratchers that incorporate toys, such as the Kitty Tippy Round Cardboard Toy.
Scratching isn't the only risk your new feline friend poses to your furniture. Kittens are prone to accidents while litter-training, and can mark their territory with urine if not spayed or neutered soon enough.
If you’re worried about stains, protect soft furniture like sofas and mattresses with waterproof covers for the first little while.
Stock up on enzyme cleaners to remove stains and odors, because while Kitty may learn quickly, she’s bound to have a few mishaps along the way.
If you have any expensive rugs, you may want to roll them up until your kitten is fully litter trained.
Traveling With Your Furry Friend
Your new kitten will need a good cat carrier to travel home with you, to veterinarian visits and other places. Kittens grow quickly, so keep your kitten's future size in mind when choosing a carrier. Just because your kitten is swimming in her new carrier doesn't mean she won't grow into it soon.
And a quick pro-tip for making sure she doesn’t hate getting into her carrier later on when you really need her to: use it regularly!
Even if you put a bed inside it for her to comfortably sleep in, it will get her used to the idea that the carrier is not solely associated with stressful situations like car rides and vet visits.
Wrapping It Up
Here’s a quick recap of things to consider when bringing home your first kitten:
It may seem overwhelming, but by adopting a kitten, you’re taking responsibility for her life! By getting a good start to your relationship, you’ll be setting the stage for many wonderful years to come.