Posted by Emma Oldroyd, on
What to Buy for Your New Kitten? Your New Kitten Checklist
Kittens are a wonderful addition to the family, in fact, according to data from Cats Protection, 26% of UK households own at least one cat, with approximately 10.8 million pet cats in the UK. Whether you’re adopting a cat or kitten from a rescue shelter, or you’re buying from an authorised litter of kittens- it’s important that you’re fully prepared to bring a kitten into your home.
Bringing Home a New Kitten
You can start to prepare your new kitten for their new home even before they arrive! To make it easier for your kitten to transition, visit your new kitten with either a blanket or item of clothing that carries the scent of both you and your house. Cats rely heavily on familiar scents to feel safe, so starting this process before they travel to your home can help them feel more at ease throughout the whole process.
Your kitten should have dedicated spaces around your home, they will need a quite area away from the hustle and bustle of daily life at ground level. Remember, the more private the better- especially for the litter tray area. It’s also a great idea to give them a box or dome cat bed for them to be able to hide away when they feel overwhelmed.
When they arrive, it’s important to ensure they have plenty of time to roam and explore their new home. Always go at their pace too- if they choose to hide a lot in the early days, allowing them to hide and speaking to them gently is better than trying to encourage them out of their safe space.
Once your kitten is settled, you can introduce them to all their new toys, their food and water bowls etc.
Looking After Your Kitten
It’s important to discuss all your kitten’s health treatments with your vet as you prepare to bring your kitten home. From 9 weeks, the protection from their mothers colostrum fades, which can leave them vulnerable to disease, so it’s important that they receive their vaccinations at 9 weeks old. The vaccinations must be followed up with boosters at 3 months.
Kittens should also be microchipped before they reach 20 weeks old.
Fleas and worms also pose a risk to kittens, so they should receive a worming treatment every 2 weeks between the ages of 3- 16 weeks. They should receive kitten flea treatments monthly from the age of 10 weeks.
Kittens need different food from adult cats
As kittens are growing rapidly, and their digestive and immune systems are developing slowly, they have very specific nutritional needs that are different from adult cats. Kittens need a diet with a higher energy and protein content, plus immune-boosting nutrients and the right balance of vitamins and minerals.
Kitten food- birth to 4 months
- Their diet should be rich in antioxidants to help with their immunity
- Food should have a soft texture to help wean them off milk
Kitten food- 4-12 Months
- Higher levels of protein to help build muscles and grow
- Easily digestible foods
Once your kitten’s adult teeth are in place at around 12 months, you can slowly switch to adult cat food.
What about grooming my kitten?
It’s important to help your kitten get used to the grooming process; whilst cats groom themselves most of the time, regular professional bathing, grooming, and trimming can help keep your kitten happy and healthy as they grow. Especially if your kitten has medium-long hair, they may need regular grooms to help regulate their body temperature.
Regular grooming sessions at home are also a great bonding experience for you and your kitten, they get a full pamper with attention and you get to check up on their skin and coat condition.
Toilet training your kitten
To help train your kitten to use a litter tray, follow our top tips:
- Choose the right litter tray. It will need to be large enough for your cat to feel comfortable using it. We would also recommend having more than one litter tray around the house, so they have swift access when they need it.
- Find the right space. Like humans, cats don’t like to toilet close to where they eat, and they prefer a private area in the house.
- Choose the right litter. Ask us about the right litter for your household.
- Keep it clean! Giving the litter tray a scoop twice a day is advised, while the tray itself should be fully cleaned at least once a week.
- If your kitten isn’t toileting in the litter tray, carefully direct them there. Don’t punish them – shouting at your cat may make them fearful of you and will only make the problem worse.
It can be easy to buy too much for your new kitten, and whilst all the toys, accessories and treats are a great idea once they’re settled- it’s important to get the basics first as part of their introduction to your new home.
What does my kitten need?
- A food bowl
- A water bowl or fountain (place the food and water bowls in separate areas- this encourages them to drink more!)
- Food and water (initially, you should continue using the kitten food they are used to as they settle)
- A soft, comfortable cat bed and blankets (remember, gifting them a blanket with your scent before they come home will help them settle)
- A litter tray (with cat litter they are used to using) placed far away from their feeding area
- A sturdy scratching post
- A cat brush to help them get used to grooming
- A cat carrier (to bring them home in, this is also a great place to use blankets with your scent to help them settle)
- A variety of kitten toys and games
Questions about your new kitten? Our pet experts are always on hand to help with advice and suggestions on their nutrition, enrichment, and health. Pop to your local store for more information.