Kitten Corner with Hannah Shaw: How to Prepare for Your Newly Adopted Kitten
How to Prepare for Your Newly Adopted Kitten
Bringing home a new kitten is one of the most exciting moments a person can ever experience! Adoption day marks the beginning of a bond that will last a lifetime. But before you bring home your new feline companion, it’s important to know exactly how to prepare so that your kitten is safe, happy, and has the best start possible in their forever home.
Pick up a litter box and litter.
Make sure you have at least two litter boxes in your home; a good rule of thumb is to have one for every cat, plus one. Shallow boxes are ideal for kittens and seniors, while taller boxes might be preferable for young adults. Place the litterboxes in separate locations in your home. They should be easily accessible and in quiet areas of your home.
Purchase a high-quality cat food that is appropriate for the kitten’s age and medical needs.
The diet that you feed your kitten now has the potential to impact their long term preferences, so it is recommended that you offer both wet and dry food so that your kitten learns to enjoy different textures. You should also inquire about the diet they are used to eating—if you plan to feed a different diet, it’s ideal to gradually transition them from one to the other over the first two weeks. Kittens have specific dietary needs like increased fat and protein, so make sure you’re feeding a high-quality, kitten-specific food like Royal Canin Mother and Babycat or Royal Canin Kitten, depending on their age. And of course, purchase some food and water dishes—stainless steel and ceramic are ideal!
Provide your kitten with at least two soft cozy beds.
In different locations of your home, they always have a choice of places where they can feel safe and comfortable.
Pick out a variety of toys and enrichment items.
Like humans, cats want to stay physically and mentally stimulated, and when they’re living in our homes it’s up to us to give them activities that keep them active. Keep offerings on hand like small mouse toys, crinkle balls, wand toys, puzzle feeders, cat tunnels, and interactive track toys, and rotate them regularly so that they stay exciting.
Offer at least two scratching posts or scratching pads.
Some cats prefer to scratch vertically; others are horizontal scratchers. Giving your new cat a few options is a great way to help your cat meet their innate need to stretch, claw, and mark their territory—without destroying furniture!
Buy a large cat carrier to bring to the adoption.
Many people forget this important step! You’ll need a carrier to safely transport your kitten home, as well as to bring them to the vet. Line the bottom with a cozy blanket and give them a little toy to enjoy on the ride home.
Set up a room for their first days home.
To help your kitten adjust to their new home, it’s a good idea to set up one room where they can acclimate. Confining them to one room for even 24-48 hours can give them the opportunity to decompress, adjust to the unfamiliar sights, sounds and scents, and get their bearings. In this room, you’ll want to set out a litter box as well as the other supplies mentioned above. Once they’ve mastered the room and feel comfortable in their new space, you can introduce them to more parts of the home.
Kitten-proof your home.
Kittens are curious and can get into all sorts of trouble! Before bringing home your new kitten, be sure you’re taking precautions to make the home safe. Ensure that all windows are secured with strong screens. Get rid of toxic house plants, like lilies and lock away chemicals and cleaners that can be hazardous. Put away small objects that can become choking hazards like string and hair ties. Tie up the strings to blinds. Use anchors to secure bookshelves and other heavy furniture that kittens could tip by climbing. Close off any openings in the walls. You’ll be amazed by what kittens can get into!
For a list of toxic plants check out https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants.
Catify your home.
Preparing your home isn’t just about making it a safe space—it’s about making it a joyous one! Small things like placing a cat bed in a windowsill or moving a table or chair next to the window, can expand your cat’s visual field and make things exciting! Add a bird feeder outside and they’ll have endless entertainment. Cat trees and solid wall perches are also a great way to increase vertical space and give your new kitten a bird’s eye view of their territory.
Set up your kitten’s first vet visit.
At the time of adoption, it’s a great idea to have an appointment scheduled for your kitten’s first wellness exam! Even if your kitten has received vet care from the shelter or rescue organization, they may need additional vaccine boosters or support, so be sure to ask for their records so you can give them a healthy head start!
To find a Cat Friendly Practice® near you, visit https://catfriendly.com/veterinary-care/cat-friendly-practice/.
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