Getting a new kitten is definitely cause for celebration, but there’s still so much to do! No need to panic, we’ve got you covered.
Here are 10 things to know and buy before bringing your new kitten home:
1. Kitten food and treats
The first thing you need to know is that your kitten is actually a tiny little carnivore and has basic dietary requirements that need to be met (aka, they want MEAT). Because they’ll be on this diet up until 12 months of age, premium kitten food is the answer for proper growth development. It is well-balanced and meets all your new friend’s nutritional needs.
Now, the age-old adage: Should you buy wet kitten food or dry? Let’s weigh out the options, shall we:
Dry food is long-lasting, has great shelf life and won’t get stale by sitting out on the counter. With that said, you should still keep your kitten’s grub super fresh and moist by getting yourself a fancy new pet food container.
The fact that dry food holds out so long also makes it a tad more cost-effective. But before you cross wet food off your list, it has its fair share of benefits too:
Wet kitten food is incredibly hydrating, which is especially useful if your kitten is fussy and doesn’t drink a lot of water. Giving them these delicious meals will give them that added moisture they need to stay hydrated throughout the day. And seeing as kitties are prone to urinary issues, if your kitten refuses to drink up, this may be the way to go.
Added to that, this diet is super TASTY and palatable, meaning it’s guaranteed that your kitten will eat it.
With that said, the best thing to do is make use of the best of both dry and wet food. Spice up your kitten’s meal by throwing wet food into the mix. Check the feeding guidelines to avoid overfeeding, as sterilised kitties get chonky easily.
Speaking of chonky kitties …
At around 8 to 10 weeks, you can spoil your kitten with a tasty treat. Treat your kitten sparingly though, as they are prone to obesity—especially once they’ve been sterilised.
The best way to portion their snacks is to use them as a way to spoil your little guy or gal during the day, perhaps as a midday snack in-between meals, or even as a reward. You can also train your kitten to do tricks.
Yep, you read that right. Here’s a fun little fact for you:
Despite popular belief, cats are just as good at learning new tricks as dogs. All you need is a clicker, positive encouragement and tasty treats.
2. Kitten food accessories
Your kitten needs to be fed, and you wouldn’t believe how many options there are when it comes to feeding accessories, and each one serves a unique purpose. Let’s take a look …
Although felines rule the house, it’s advisable that you still get them their own dining set. From stainless steel to interactive, when it comes to cat bowls, you’ve got the pick of the litter.
Kittens may love meat, but they could do without the extra protein (ants). Invest in a pet food container to ensure your kitten’s chow stays fresh while keeping those pesky insects away.
Cats are prone to urinary issues, so in order to avoid your kitten from getting ill, pick out one of our stylish drinking fountains to keep them drinking all day long.
The free flowing water will also encourage fussy kittens to drink, helping them stay healthy and hydrated.
3. Kitten cleaning and hygiene
You’ll be surprised at all of the gross things that can come out of such a cute little body. From hairballs to tiny accidents (litter training is hard, okay), you’ll want to invest in cleaning tools, mats and deodorizers to keep things smelling fresh and clean.
Boxes and trays
Kittens need to go in a litter box before venturing outside. Ensure the tray is clean (they won’t go if it’s dirty) and low enough for them to step into. Remove solids daily with a poop-scoop or risk singeing your nose hairs.
TIP: Most kittens learn how to use litter boxes from their mothers, but it doesn’t come naturally. Spend some time showing your kitten where to go if you notice any frequent oopsies.
The best cat litter to start with is a soft-textured one that is gentle on your kitten’s paws. There are many soft litters out there, such as Cat’s Smart Biodegradable Clumping Cat Litter.
This litter is super gentle, clumps easily and best of all (drumroll, please) … FLUSHABLE. If you have a long-haired furball, you may have noticed some lovely dingleberries hanging from your kitten’s fur. Thankfully, with the Cat’s Smart litter, this won’t be a problem as the pellets are litter-ally too big to stick around.
4. Kitten health and wellness
Even the fanciest of kittens are susceptible to parasites. These creepy insects spread fast, and don’t think that just because you’re human that you’re out of the running. That’s why it’s important to act as soon as possible.
Start prevention as early as 8 weeks for ticks and fleas, and 2 weeks for worms.
Ticks and fleas
What are fleas, you ask? The medical term for them is ‘ectoparasites’ and they’re pretty gross. Basically, they live on the surface of the skin of their host and become very resilient homeowners.
Once fleas have bought a bond on their new ‘house’ (that’s your kitten), they’ll mate and the female flea will pop out between 20 and 50 little flea babies (or larvae) a day.
The flea larvae will then roll off your kitten and potentially get onto your bed, clothing, carpets, other pets, etc. and live there until they’re big enough to find their own hosts. And thus, the flea-pocolypse begins.
If you suspect your kitten of having fleas, you can check by coming through the fur (they’re quite easy to spot). You’ll also see signs, such as excessive scratching and hair loss.
Ticks are known as parasitic arachnids. They’re basically tiny little spider-vampire hybrids that feed off their host’s blood, which is terrifying. They also creep behind bushes and in between tall grass, waiting for unsuspecting pets to walk by before they attack.
They’re super patient and can go for a year without feeding while waiting. Once they’ve landed and bitten into your kitten, they they’re able to transmit diseases, such as Lyme disease, which can be fatal.
Thankfully, there are many ways to prevent your kitten from carrying fleas or ticks. You can start by scrolling through our range of cat tick and flea products, which include spot-on, tablet and chewable treatments.
Did you know? You can protect your kitten from ticks and fleas from as young as ONE day old with Frontline Spray.
Kittens are just as prone to worms as any other pet. Your kitten may come across parasite eggs or infected feces while taking a stroll in the garden. They can get infected once they start to groom themselves as they’ll likely swallow the eggs or fecel particles.
Once this occurs, your kitten could be contaminated with worms. You’ll know if they start showing symptoms, such as vomiting, diarrhoea, weight loss and poor skin conditions. As soon as this happens, seek medical attention immediately.
There is a way to prevent your kitten from getting worms altogether though, and it’s fairly simple. Start deworming your kitten from as young as 2 weeks with ePETstore’s selection of deworming essentials.
Your tiny little explorer is going to try and investigate (and squeeze into) every nook and cranny, both in your home and outside. Have a first-aid kit on hand in case any accidents occur.
Want to learn more about keeping your kitten nice and healthy? Here’s the lowdown:
5. Kitten travel and safety
Cats and kittens are nervous Nellies in general, but can be especially anxious when travelling for the first time. When those nerves get riled up, they can Houdini out of the situation and make a break for it. That’s why it’s important to get them used to a nice carrier before you take off to the vet.
A stressed or anxious kitten is nothing to trifle with. When a kitten is scared, they will trapeze themselves into any space they can find. This can be dangerous, especially when travelling, as they can get stuck in between the seats of your car.
Get your kitten to their destination safely with a nice, comfortable cat carrier. You’ll especially want to get them used to the carriers from the beginning, as you’ll be travelling quite often. This is because for the first 16 weeks of their life, your new kitten will be taking frequent trips to the vet to get routine vaccinations as well as sterilised.
It’s important not to miss these appointments, as it’ll allow the vet to spot any underlying issues, as well as protect them from life-threatening diseases.
Have some questions about vaccinating your kitten? Check out our blog for some answers.
6. Kitten grooming
Pretty kitties are made up of regular brush routines, adequate dental care and precise grooming. From 8 weeks, you can start introducing them to water gently with a lukewarm cloth. After, you’ll want to use a brush with soft bristles to comb out their fur.
Brushing your kitten’s fur is vital for a pawtastic bonding experience. It also gets rid of loose hairs and prevents hairballs. Use a soft brush to avoid any recurrence.
Get a good cat nail clipper and start trimming your kitten’s nails from 12 weeks of age. Limit cutting their nails to every 2-3 weeks, as they still need them for climbing.
At 6 months, you’ll want to keep your kitten’s breath fresh with a small toothbrush made for that tiny mouth. Use a kitten-safe toothpaste and enrol them in a 3x weekly oral care routine.
Although cats are good at grooming themselves, for those that aren’t, clean them with a kitten-friendly shampoo. Make sure they’re comfortable being handled when they’re dry first before just plopping them in a bath.
Did you know? Kitten’s have milk teeth that fall out, which is why experts advise that you only start brushing after the adult teeth have grown in.
7. Kitten behaviour and training
Kittens can get stressed out. New environments, people and animals can cause them to panic and flee. Because they’re amazing escape-artists, they’ll try and wedge themselves into any small space they can find. Keep them calm with yummy treats (such as catnip), affection and calming aids.
When your kitten isn’t napping, they’re hopped up on energy, and at times, anxiety. Make your new kitten feel relaxed and at ease with these MEOWgnificant calming sprays from Feliway.
8. Kitten toys and scratch posts
Kittens need toys to keep them physically and mentally stimulated, happy and healthy. Playing with your new kitten creates a bond with them and also allows them to wiggle those bums and embrace their hunting instincts.
When it comes to choosing a toy for your kitten, there’s tons to choose from. You can go for a ball or chaser to get those short little arms and legs moving. A chew toy will keep those sharp little teeth in check, by helping to remove plaque and tartar.
You can also invest in a catnip toy and watch them roll around, purr and live their best lives. Wands and teasers will get them hunting and also pique that curiosity that everyone keeps talking about.
Cats enjoy observing comings and goings from great heights, such as tall scratch posts. But that’s not the only reason why you should get these fabulous pieces that you can try and pass off as modern art.
Scratching has multiple benefits, including keeping their nails clean, allowing them to stretch and helping them express feelings of stress, frustration or excitement. It also keeps those little claws off your couch and rug, so best get one now, and get it FAST.
9. Kitten beds and blankets
Getting your kitten their own comfy bed and blankie is a must before bringing them home. Your kitten needs a nice cosy cat bed they can retreat to when they’re feeling tired or nervous. It’s important that they know they have a safe place to return to if (or when) they one day decide to go and visit your neighbours.
Provide your kitten with a soft bed or cushion for those essential cat naps and for when they’re feeling unsafe. At ePETstore, there are a range of cat beds to choose from. For example, you could get them a luxurious Kensington cat cave bed by Scruffs, which would even have the cast of Bridgerton glaring in envy.
You can also choose from beds with covers that allow them to peeka-boo in and out during the day, or a nice scratch post / lounger bed that lets them look down on their subjects while they snooze.
You can’t have a comfy bed without a snuggly blanket for your kitten to curl up in during those cold winter evenings.
10. Kitten collars, leads and ID tags
Okay, this cannot be emphasised enough: Before you get your kitten microchipped, you HAVE to get them a collar and ID tag. Here’s why:
Cat collars are necessary for ID tags, and containing bells that ward off any of your kitten’s prey. If your feline’s spirit animal is Dora the Explorer, invest in a lead and venture to the backyard
Although most kittens are homebodies (and travel via carrier), you can leash train the adventurous ones to stroll with you outside. This is also a great option if you live in a small apartment without a patio, and you want them to get some fresh air.
As mentioned before, kittens are great escape artists, and if they’re ever in a situation that they want to get out of, they might run away and get lost, which is why you need some form of identification. Thus, cat ID tags are an absolute must and they’re adorable to boot.