So, you have a new kitty -- congratulations! Cat ownership is a life altering, rewarding experience. Fortunately for the newbie cat person, cats and kittens are very self-sufficient and independent by nature; and, luckily, they will almost always be litter box trained. This makes them relatively easy to add to your life and adapt to your household.
When you bring your kitten home, she will most likely hit the ground running and take over her new domain. If you have other pets, especially another cat or two, but even dogs or other animals, it is best to confine the new kitty to its own safe space for a few days. This may be a spare bathroom or bedroom, or a section of your home that is fenced off.
You may need to consider putting a pet safety gate in place if you can't shut doors to separate and protect the new cat. The other pets will be curious and even excited, dogs more so than cats, but the latter may be hostile to a new cat or kitten. Felines, like most canines, are territorial with their own species. Even if
If you have never had a cat or even if you have, here is a helpful 10-point checklist with product suggestions that you and your new "bff" might need to consider:
- A comfy bed, or two or three – cats are epic, super sleepers and love comfortable cat beds. Most cats as they mature will have a spot-du-jour; it may change from week to week. Many cats enjoy a bed that has space to burrow inside, to nap and feel safe. Laps, however, are often the preferred venue especially for small kittens who feel very secure and warm with their person.
- A litter box with unscented litter (don’t forget to get a scoop). A practical option might be a waterproof portable litter box that you can take with you on road trips, family vacations, storm evacuations, etc.
- Appropriate kitty food – kitten food for kittens. There are a lot of brands and the choice may be overwhelming. We recommend starting a kitten right with a canned wet food such as this one, and an equally good dry kibble meal, each once a day.
- Food and water bowls - cats prefer and do best with shallow raised bowls for their wet or dry food and water. A raised feeder may help prevent indigestion and stomach discomfort and helps moderate the cat's finicky digestion process. Best practice is to wash the bowls daily with soapy water. Staying hydrated is important for any animal, and some cats can be reluctant to drink water. Many experienced cat keepers opt for an automatic water fountain. Cats are attracted to the sound and love to bat at the water so this way, they stay both entertained and well hydrated.
5. Invest in a practical, comfortable cat kennel or carrier. You'll need to take your kitten or cat to the vet every now and then, and both of you are much safer with kitty kept contained inside your car. If you ever want to travel further away with them, there are airline-approved carriers and portable kennels that are easy to pick up and use, or store when you're not using. Some cats (and dogs) enjoy their carrier-kennels so much they will sleep in them at night if you leave them open and available in their sleeping areas.
6. Scratching posts - all kittens and cats need to maintain their nails, and they need suitable “cat furniture” for this. Nip any furniture shredding problems in the bud by having a scratching post or two in the cat's domain. A scratching post should be large and stable; your kitty will grow into it. It is a very good idea to have more than one scratchable surface. Adding a cardboard scratch pad is easy and inexpensive - they will be used.
7. There is also anti-scratch tape to protect your furniture, as cats will inevitably try to sharpen their claws a time or two on the arms of your couch or chair. The tape has adhesive on both sides, so it sticks to your furniture at the same time as discouraging them from scratching by sticking their claws temporarily. They'll get the hint fast and scram.
8. Toys-toys-toys - typically, kittens are adept at amusing themselves — any object within reach they can swat or bat is fair game, but they especially enjoy catnip toys, ribbons, balled up paper, shiny flying feathers, high pitched noises and colorful bird- or mouse-like toys.
- One of the joys of cat ownership is interacting and playing with your cat. Look for small balls or cubes with noisemakers inside that they can bat around and chase.
- Cats enjoy playing with cat wands, a stick with a feather or other eye-catching amusing objects attached to the end.
- A laser pointer is a good choice for interactive hunt and catch play time. They also adore hiding in bags and boxes of any shape or size.
Cats and kittens, for all their cuteness, can be little terrors. They are basically fearless, always alert and cautious, and will explore, climb or chew anything. They comfort, purr and sleep a lot, play a lot and love their owners deeply. Welcome to the world of cats. Your life will be forever transformed.