Now that you’ve picked your perfect kitten, it’s time to get everything ready for the new arrival!
There’s lots you’ll need to keep your new kitten comfortable and happy in their new home. Here are some essentials:
• Sturdy cat carrier, lined with a small cat cushion or towel
• Food and water bowls
• Litter tray and litter scoop, plus a bag of cat litter
• Kitten food for at least one week
• At least one cosy kitten bed
• Sturdy scratching post
• Kitten grooming brush
• Kitten toys
• Contact details for your local vet
Make sure you have a sturdy cat carrier to bring your kitten home safely, and to use for travelling later on. Get your kitten used to the carrier – if you only use it for trips to the vet, she’ll vanish whenever you bring the carrier out!
A good way to do this is to put the carrier in the middle of the room and leave it open. Put a towel or small cushion inside for comfort. You could even pop in the occasional treat to prompt your kitten’s curiosity!
Food and water bowls
Small kittens find it difficult to eat from bowls that are too deep. In fact, most cats don’t like eating out of deep bowls – those high sides interfere with their sensitive whiskers. Use a shallow dish or saucer instead.
Get a litter tray ready for your kitten, together with a supply of cat litter. You’ll also need a litter scoop to help you remove your kitten’s waste each day. There are many types of litter to choose from.
Try a small litter tray to begin with – your kitten’s little legs might struggle with high-sided adult litter trays. Make sure the tray has at least one low side that she can easily climb over. It’s a good idea to put newspaper under the tray – or a mat that’s easy to clean – to catch any stray litter granules.
If you have more than one kitten, they may be happy to share a litter tray to begin with. But remember that they’ll need separate facilities as they get older.
If your kitten has already been litter-trained as part of the weaning process, then you’re ahead of the game. But if you do find she needs a little extra help, you’ll find more details in our article Litter Tray Training.
Because kittens grow so quickly, your new feline friend will need more fat and protein in her diet than an adult cat. She also has a tiny tummy, which means you’ll need to feed her a little and often throughout the day.
Make sure you feed your kitten a complete and balanced diet – Whiskas® Kitten food is specially formulated to provide your kitten with all the energy and nutrients she needs to stay fit and healthy up to the age of 12 months. When you change her food from kitten to adult, wean her gradually over the course of 5–7 days.
Remember – some cat treats and foods aren’t suitable for very young kittens. Always check the label and feeding guidelines before you buy.
Fun and games
Every kitten needs toys! Not only are toys great for entertainment – for you as well as your kitten – but they’re also important for exercise and development. Cats love to play with anything that resembles prey, or which moves unpredictably. A scratching post is also a good idea – anything to keep those sharp claws away from the furniture!
Cat toys don’t have to be expensive. You can make a great kitten playground just by cutting a couple of holes in a cardboard box. As a bonus, your kitten will also love the way the box creates a safe, private space.
Other great home-made toys include cardboard tubes, scrunched-up balls of newspaper or tissue paper, cotton reel bobbins and plastic bottle caps. Never let your kitten play with wool or string, and make sure anything you use is big enough not to be swallowed, and is free from small parts that might be chewed off and eaten.
In order for your kitten to play try clearing some space on a high shelf. Cats and kittens like perches where they can survey their domain. Window sills are especially popular – the older they get, the more your kitten will want to look outside. If your window sills aren’t big enough, you can buy an easy-to-install cat perch.
You’ll find more details in our article on kitten play.
Home at last
When you bring your new kitten home for the first time, she’ll probably be nervous of her new surroundings. Don’t worry – it’s perfectly normal. Your house will be full of strange sights, sounds and smells, and your kitten will need time to adjust. You can help her feel settled and safe by providing a cardboard box or a cat carrier with the door removed which can act as a little ‘cave’ for her to retreat to for some quiet time.
Keep your kitten in a warm, quiet room for the first two or three days. Give her easy access to a litter box, feeding and water bowls, a cosy bed and a few toys to keep her entertained. All these things will help your kitten adjust to her new environment.
At this stage, it’s a good idea to arrange a visit to your local vet, to get your kitten checked and treated to prevent fleas and worms. and to plan vaccinations. If you have other pets, make sure the vet gives your kitten a full health check before you introduce them to each other. You’ll find more details in our article Visiting the Vet