7 kitten essentials: getting your kitten off to the best start
Congratulations on your decision to welcome a kitten into the family! Getting a kitten is an exciting time for everyone involved, but it also requires some preparation. Have a look at our kitten care checklist to see if there’s anything you haven’t thought of…
Of course no new-kitten checklist is complete without a comfortable bed! Whilst cats are free spirits who like to sleep in a lot of unusual places, you can’t go wrong with providing them with their own bed. Cats like warm sleeping areas, so a bed that retains heat well is a wise choice.
Food and treats
Choose a high quality, vet-approved kitten diet and you can’t go far wrong. One key element of kitten care is training, and treats are a great way of rewarding positive/desirable behaviour (like going to the toilet in the right place).
Your kitten will need bowls to eat their food out of, and for water. Ensuring that water is available throughout the day is a key element of responsible kitten care, so be sure to provide your kitty with at least two bowls. Note: plastic bowls can make water taste funny to cats and often stop them from drinking it, so it’s best to avoid this.
When getting a kitten used to using the toilet, you might want to start with a makeshift, slightly smaller litterbox. Your kitten will feel more comfortable using it if it’s the correct size. As they grow up, you can provide your kitten with a full-size litterbox. Keep the litterbox away from your kitten’s food and water or they won’t use it. If you already have a cat, they will need a litterbox each and an additional/communal one.
Note: before taking them home, it’s a good idea to speak to the breeder about where your kitten is at with their toilet training. If your cat has stopped using their litterbox, read more here.
Scratching is normal feline behaviour, so providing your cat with something that’s supposed to be scratched is a wise decision when it comes to kitten care. It doesn’t have to be an expensive scratch post; your kitty will be happy with cardboard or an old piece of carpet, a rug or something similar.
Playing with toys is good for getting a kitten used to their new environment. It’s also a great way of bonding with your new feline friend.
Sadly, you can’t stay with your kitten all day every day. Puzzle-based toys are great at keeping cats entertained when they’re home alone, so will make a great addition to your list of kitten care essentials.
You’ll have a hard job getting a kitten to and from the vets without a carrier, so this is another essential kitten accessory. Cats often hate their carriers but there are ways to prevent this! Instead of only getting the carrier out when it’s time for the vets, try leaving it somewhere accessible where your cat spends a lot of time, such as the living room. This will help them to see the carrier as a normal part of their environment – they might even spend time there willingly!
Top tip! A cat carrier that comes apart or opens from the top will come in very handy because it’ll be easier to get your cat out of it at the vets!
If you’ve bought all of your kitten essentials and it’s time to collect your new pet, click here to read more about introducing a new cat to your home.
Need more advice about getting a kitten?
If you’d like further info on kitten care, speak to your vet. They can provide advice for your specific pet and situation.