So, you’re thinking of getting a new kitten? Congratulations! Adding a kitten to your home is an exciting adventure, but it’s best to have everything prepared before you bring home your new friend. To help you get ready for the arrival of your new fur-baby, we've created this guide with tips and tricks to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible.
First things first, here's a few things you're gonna need:
Before bringing your new kitten home, you'll want to have a designated space prepared for her. Place a bed, litter box and food dishes in an isolated part of your home where your kitten will feel safe, perhaps in a bathroom or spare bedroom. If you have other pets, this will give them time to get used to all the new smells and sounds in a controlled setting, while allowing the kitten to acclimate to her new surroundings. Most likely, your pets (and any children that may be in the home) will want to investigate their new friend, so it's important to promote a positive atmosphere through controlled interactions. The first few times your kitten meets other members of the home, keep a close watch to make sure everyone is getting along. Encourage children to be quiet and gentle when meeting the kitty to avoid frightening her. If your dogs tend to be excitable or aggressive, keep them leashed during introductions, or allow everyone to meet for the first time through the door of a crate or carrier for full protection. Being prepared even if you don't anticipate conflict will help ensure a positive interaction, which will go a long way in promoting healthy relationships.
Tips for Success: Put vanilla extract in between the shoulder blades of all of the animals before they meet. This way, they’ll all smell the same, making them seem less threatening to one another and also providing an interesting scent for everyone to investigate.
Dirty Little Secret
While your kitten is little, you'll want to choose a litter box with low sides, something that she can easily climb in and out of. As she grows, you'll want to transition to larger boxes. If you're a multi-cat household, a good rule of thumb is one litter box per cat plus one additional box. So if you have two cats, you should have three litter boxes throughout your home. This will keep the boxes from filling up as quickly so your cats always have plenty of room to do their business. Some cats will avoid a litter box that is full, which means bad news for your carpet and furniture!
Try not to feel too overwhelmed with all the options in the cat litter aisle--clay, paper, wood, walnut, etc. With all the choices there are today, it's best to take a trial and error approach. You may have to try a few different kinds to find what suits both you and your kitten, because there's no one litter that will work for every home and feline. For more on different types of litters, check out this article.
What will your new kitty eat? Again, this will be a game of trial and error to find what your kitten likes. If you have older cats that are on an all life stage diet, you're in luck because their food will also be appropriate for the new kitten. So, if the new kitten will eat their food, it will simplify the food-buying process and also save you money because you can buy larger bags for a less expensive price per pound.
If the older cats are not on a food that’s for all life stages, or if you don’t have other cats, a kitten formula or an all life stage food is your best option. Choose a premium food that is meat-based--this will ensure your kitten is getting all the nutrients she needs for healthy growth. Your kitten is, after all, a carnivore, so look for a quality, protein-rich diet and avoid foods with corn, wheat, soy and artificial colors and flavorings. Visit Feeders Supply for more info on kitten foods--we'd love to help!
Tips for Success: One of the best things you can do for your kitten is to introduce her to a variety of textures and flavors from the beginning. Wet food is the easiest way to accomplish this because there is so much variety--pate, shredded, minced and virtually any flavor. Exposing your kitten to different foods early on is the best way to prevent them from becoming a picky eater--cats can be very stubborn and unwilling to try new things as they get older, so your future self will thank you for it!
Speaking of wet food, we always recommend wet food for all cats. It's an easy way to help your kitty stay hydrated due to the high moisture content in wet food. Cats are notorious for not drinking enough water, which can lead to kidney or urinary tract problems, so the more moisture you can give them, the better. Another option that can help increase their water intake is a fountain. Moving water stimulates a cat's interest, which promotes more drinking and better health. So keep an eye on how much your kitten drinks, and if they're not getting at least 2-4 ounces of water per day, then a fountain may be a life-saver, literally.