Great news - the time has finally come when you can welcome your new kitten into your home! Just like bringing home a new-born baby, you’ll want everything to be just right so that they’ll settle in quickly and feel right at home.
Making the decision to get a kitten is incredibly exciting as not only will you be gaining a new furry friend, but you’ll also be getting an extra family member! Before bringing a kitten home, you’ll need to spend a bit of time preparing for them. That’s why we’ve created this guide to tell you everything you need to know about getting a new kitten, so you can welcome your new four-legged friend into a warm, friendly environment where they’ll feel safe, comfortable and right at home!
Before your new kitten comes home
Before bringing home a new kitten, there’s a bit of admin for you to do! Here are a few things to get sorted before they arrive:
- If you don’t already have a vet, ask local cat owners to recommend one, and get your new kitten registered straight away. It’s much less stressful to know they’re on the books already, as you’ll need to take them for their kitten vaccinations and neutering. It’s also worth it for the peace of mind in case they’re ever unwell.
- Once you’ve found a vet, chat to them about cat insurance policies that will cover any unexpected veterinary costs.
- While you’re there, arrange to have your new cat or kitten permanently identified with a microchip in case they ever get lost.
New kitten essentials:
Now the admin is out of the way, it’s time for the fun part – shopping for your cute kitten! These are a few of the essentials you’ll need when you get a new kitten:
- A secure cat carrier – cat carriers come in a wide range of sizes so make sure you get one that’s large enough for your cat to be comfortable.
- Two bowls – one for food and one for water. Opt for easy-clean ceramic or glass bowls over metal ones – some cats don’t like reflections or shadows in their bowl as they feed or drink. Make sure it’s wide enough for them to lean in and lap from without their whiskers touching the sides, as this can put some cats off.
- A litter tray and litter. It’s best to use the same type used by the breeder or rescue shelter, at least until they’ve settled in, so that they recognise it – and, importantly, know what to do with it!
- A cat bed – many prefer an igloo-style bed for snuggly security, or one elevated from the ground (e.g. as part of an activity centre).
- Grooming equipment, particularly if they’re longhaired.
- A scratching post made of tree bark or a sisal string-wrapped pole. Scratching helps keep your cats’ claws in good condition and a dedicated post should hopefully distract them from your furniture and carpets.
- A range of cat toys. Their favourite games will be ones that involve you, like dangly soft toys for them to chase and pounce on. This gives them a safe outlet for their natural hunting behaviours.
- Kitten food. Feed your new kitten the same diet they’re used to from their breeder or rescue centre for at least a week, and switch them gradually if you decide to change their food., taking at least a week for the changeover.
Kitten’s first week – how to settle a kitten
Now it’s time for your kitten to come home with you! This is a super-exciting part for you, but remember that your cat may be a little scared – it’s a new situation for them. It’s best to keep everything calm and gentle at first, rather than bringing your kitten home to a loud welcome party.
They’ll be up for plenty of play but will still need their naps, so give them a nice quiet spot where they can curl up without being disturbed. Remember that everything will be new, challenging and exciting for your new family member, which can be a little overwhelming.
Be prepared that they may be a bit withdrawn to begin with, but they should soon settle in their new home and family life. If they don’t seem to come out of their shell, speak to your vet.
Your kitten’s breeder and your veterinary practice will be more than happy to give you further help and advice about caring for your new cat, their health and settling them in to their new home. All you’ll have to do is enjoy getting to know them, and playing and having fun with your new furry friend
Now you know all about bringing home a new kitten, you’ll probably be wondering about the next steps – read our guide to kitten socialisation so you know how to safely introduce your new kitty to all members of the family.