Helping cats and dogs live their healthiest lives.
Sacred Birman kitten and Yorkshire Terrier adult standing in black and white on a white background
Maine Coon kitten in black and white playing with a red ball

Preparing for your kitten’s arrival

Moving to a new home is a big change for your kitten. To help them settle and stay safe in their new environment, it’s really important to get prepared.

Getting ready for your kitten

Before picking up your kitten, there’s lots to do to ensure you’re ready for their arrival. As well as buying the right supplies, you’ll need to prepare your home and family too. Key things to consider are:

  • Kitten-proofing your home and yard
  • Buying the right kitten supplies, such as a carrier, litter box and toys
  • Choosing appropriate kitten food
  • Preparing your family, pets and visitors for your new addition
  • Finding a veterinarian
Sacred Birman kitten jumping in black and white

How to kitten-proof your house

Kittens love to climb, explore and hide. So it’s vital to do some safeguarding in your home before you pick up your kitten to make sure it’s safe for them. Here’s our checklist to help you get prepared.

1. Toxic house plants

There are some house plants, like lilies, for instance, that can be toxic for your cat. Ask your veterinarian for a full list and, ideally, remove them from the house before the arrival of the kitten.

2. Toilets and trash cans

To prevent your kitten falling into your toilets or garbage bins, make sure you keep the lids down. Also keep your kitten away from garbage bag strings as they may become tangled in them or swallow them.

3. Dangerous substances

Make sure medicine, cleaning products and other toxic substances are stored away safely. Some flea treatments for dogs are dangerous to cats; antifreeze is also particularly lethal for them.

4. Hiding places

Kittens tend to hide in places like laundry baskets, tumble dryers and under furniture. Spot the places where your kitten’s likely to hide and either block them off or be careful as you move around your home to make sure they don’t get trapped.

5. Electrical cables and sockets

To prevent your kitten from chewing on cables or getting tangled in wires, hide them away by using covers or cable ties. Also remember to shield plug sockets with covers.

6. Poisonous foods

Some of the foods that are healthy or enjoyable for humans can be poisonous for cats or cause digestive issues. These include onions, garlic, raw eggs, raw meat, chocolate, grapes and raisins. So keep your food out of your kitten’s reach and make sure your family knows they should only feed them kitten food.

7. Small objects

Put away any small items, such as buttons, needles, thread, dental floss, elastic bands, earplugs or children’s toys, that your kitten could swallow. Also be careful not to leave plastic bags or foam objects around as your kitten may chew on them and choke.

8. Burns

Find suitable covers for any electric outlets and keep your kitten away from irons. Also make sure that they can’t get near an open flame, such as on a fire or gas stove burner, as their fur may get set alight.

9. Heights

Cats don’t always have time to land on their feet when they fall and, even if they do, they may still fracture bones. So don’t let your kitten go upstairs to begin with and keep all windows closed or screened. You should also restrict access to balconies or fit them with a protective mesh.

How to kitten-proof your backyard

Your kitten won’t go outside initially, but it’s important to make sure your backyard's safe and ready for when they do. Here are the important things to take care of:

1. Fencing and gates

Your kitten will soon be able to climb over fences and gates. If your garden is fully enclosed, it’s worth making sure there are no holes they can escape through while they’re small.

2. Toxic garden plants

As with house plants, many outdoor plants are poisonous to cats. Even if your cat avoids them, they may brush against the pollen and lick it from their fur. To be safe, ask your veterinarian for a list and remove the plants that present a risk.

3. Hazards

Inspect your backyard for anything your kitten could injure themselves on or anywhere they could get stuck.

4. Ponds and water features

It’s safest to keep ponds with steep sides and water features covered to prevent your kitten falling in and drowning or drinking the water.

5. Tools and small objects

Check your backyard for small objects that your kitten could swallow or choke on. And lock away your sharp garden tools.

6. Dangerous substances

Store all garden chemicals, such as fertilizers, insecticides, paints and solvents, safely away in a locked area.

Things you'll need for your kitten

Before your kitten arrives, make sure you have everything you need to care for them and help them settle into their new home. Here are the essentials.

Create a safe and cozy place for your cat to sleep. Some kittens like to change their sleeping spots regularly, so more than one bed may be necessary.

Choose a stable case that has easily released clips, is dark or can be covered with a blanket, and will be large enough for when your kitten’s fully grown.

Most cats prefer porcelain, glass or stainless steel bowls. Again, especially for water bowls, more than one is recommended to give your cat choice. Cats prefer when water bowls are filled to the top so their whiskers don't need to enter the water.

At first, stick to the food your kitten’s been fed by their previous owner.

Make sure the collar has an identification tag and choose one that will adjust as your kitten grows. Breakaway collars are recommended to avoid your kitten getting stuck.

A covered litter box is best for minimizing spills and smells. Also buy a scoop to remove clumps and droppings.

Make sure you have non-hazardous, scentless cleaning materials on hand for any accidents.

Choose a brush or comb that’s suitable for your kitten’s coat and buy cat nail clippers too. Starting this habit early is helpful, particularly with long-haired cats who are prone to matting.

Buy a toothbrush and toothpaste designed for cats. A specific cat toothbrush may be best.

Help save your furniture by satisfying your kitten’s need to scratch.

A tree with at least two branches will encourage exercise and mental stimulation.

Choose toys from a reputable supplier that encourage your kitten to stalk, pounce and swipe.

The best kitten food to begin with

Your kitten’s digestive system will be very sensitive, so changing their diet suddenly could give them an upset stomach and may even make them wary of their food. At first, it’s best to give them the same diet that their previous owner gave them.

Choosing the right food for your kitten is crucial as it’s essential for their health and development. As they grow, they need a precise balance of nutrients at each stage, including protein, vitamins and minerals.

Grey tabby kitten standing inside eating from a stainless steel bowl

How to switch to new kitten food

A few days after your kitten's arrival, you will be able to gradually introduce them to new food. When switching to a new kitten food, make sure you take it slowly over a week-long period.

Read the article
how to transition onto new food illustration

Kitten feeding and nutrition

Setting positive feeding habits and ensuring your kitten is getting the right nutrients in their diet is crucial to building a long and healthy life together.

Feeding your kitten
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Choosing a veterinarian

Collecting and welcoming your kitten

The first days together with your pet are a chance to create a healthy foundation for their future.

Collecting your kitten
Sacred Birman Kitten in black and white playing with a ball

Find a veterinarian

It's important to have identified a local veterinarian before picking up your kitten. Find a veterinarian near you.

Find a veterinarian
Maine Coon kitten walking in black and white on a white background