Regardless of how you end up with a kitten in your life, there are a few important yet not immediately obvious things you’ll have to do to make sure you and your home are prepared for the new addition to the household. This post will focus on bringing a kitten into a home with no other animals, introducing cats and kittens will be covered in next week’s posts. So, here are is our advice for bringing a new kitten into your home.
- Choose one room of your home for the kitten to live in for the first few days. As a tiny kitten an entire house is both exciting and daunting. To allow your new little adventurer time to settle in and get to grips with their surroundings, it’s always best to keep them grounded in one room before opening up your entire home to them.
- Prepare the chosen room. Kittens are surprisingly (or not) sneaky and curious. They will climb up the guitar case, they will squeeze underneath the book shelf, and they will chew those wires. Ensure everything in the room is okay for the little one to scratch and chew, tidy away all wires, and block any dangerous or small spaces they might escape to that you can’t reach into if they need help.
- Make a safe space. Although we said to block up small hiding spaces, your kitten will need somewhere to escape to if they feel overwhelmed or threatened. The best items we have found to use for this are cardboard boxes, or a blanket draped over their carry case.
- Heavy and shallow water bowls. Kittens will knock over light water bowls, ensure a strong and stable ceramic bowl that is shallow enough for your little one to drink from.
- Litter tray and puppy training pads. Kittens are instinctive, and we have yet to bring home a kitten that hasn’t used their litter tray from the off. However, if for whatever reason your little one has yet to master the art of the tray, have a few puppy training pads around the area you place the tray just in case. Make sure the tray is not hidden away, keep it easily accessible. Ensure it is low enough for the kitten to get into, and use good quality plant based litters – we love Cat’s Best Oko Plus.
- Entertainment. Ensure you have a few kitten toys ready for the new arrival. BUT, never leave your kitten unattended with toys that have long strings (such as cat dancers) or parts that could easily be chewed off and swallowed. Cardboard tubes (from kitchen or toilet roll) are always good for chewing and safe play. Always check over your kitten’s toys for damage.
- Scratching post. The most common complaint we hear about cats and kittens is about their destruction of sofas and other soft furnishing. To avoid this, purchase a cat starting post or tree that is tall enough for your kitten or cat to stretch out completely (they can be quite long when they go for it!). You can also buy scratching mats, boards, and other innovative products to keep little claws busy and away from your furniture.
This is all well and good if you know you’re bringing a kitten home in advance. But, what if you find a kitten unexpectedly? With both Kiki and Remi we were in no position to prepare in advance. For Kiki was had a couple of hours to prepare the apartment and get all of the necessities, but with Remi we had no time at all. However, there are things you can do to make the unexpected guest feel at home before all of the above steps are complete.
- Your kitten will be okay left in their carrier or cardboard box for a little while if there is no immediate safe place for them to go. Provide access to water and prepare as swiftly and calmly as you can.
- Bathrooms are often quick and safe places to prepare for your kitten. Ensure all dangerous objects are placed out of reach, clear the floor space and block any small spaces they may be able to squeeze in to – books, towels, cardboard boxes, if it fits it’ll do the job temporarily.
- Once the kitten is either being guarded by a second pair of eyes or is safely pottering around your bathroom now is the time to prepare the necessities:
- Water and food – a side or tea plate for food will often be ideal, and you can try a variety of containers for water. Almost everyone has a tupperware cupboard, raid it and find a small container or lid that can temporarily be used.
- Litter tray – if you can leave your home and purchase a tray and a small bag of litter do so. If you can’t leave the kitten alone lay our some kitchen roll as a temporary measure and ensure you buy a tray and litter as soon as possible.
- The box or carrier you brought the kitten home in will serve as a bed for the kitten, find a blanket or towel to line it with to make it comfortable and warm.
- Once the kitten is temporarily safe call your local vet as soon as possible. It is really important that you get the unexpected kitten checked out as soon as possible. We picked Kiki up at 9pm and took her to the vets the next morning, luckily for her we did as she had an eye infection and fleas. It is vital for both you and your kitten to ensure they are treated for fleas, worms, and any other unexpected ailments they may have. It is also useful at this point to age and sex the kitten .
Kittens bring so much love and fun into our lives, but they are hard work. Kittens should ideally stay with their mothers until they are at least 8 weeks old, preferably 12 weeks old. Always vaccinate your kittens, especially if you’ll be letting them outside when they’re old enough – although we strongly advocate for keeping cats indoors for a variety of reasons. Spay and neuter, always! And be patient. Cats can be moody grumps, they can be crazy too, but they can be so loving and when you earn their trust and love it is so rewarding.
If you have any other tips or pieces of advice about bringing new kittens home let us know!
Thank you for reading, see you next time!
Kiki, Lolly, & Remi