10 New Kitten Supplies To Have Around

It’s a weekend afternoon and you venture out to find the purrfect kitten at your local pet store, breeder or reputable rescue center.  Congratulations! The decision to be the owner of an adorable kitten can be a huge commitment. Having a domestic feline at your place of residence can truly be rewarding and fun for both of you.  Here are a few things you should have readily available for your new kitten when you bring them to their new home.

Housing and Bedding – Sleeping is something your kitten will do a lot of during the day, as much as 16 hours! Comfort is key. Their bed should be located in a warm, dry area that is away from drafts and elevated if possible. A soft cushiony mat in the window box, or near a window where the sun shines in and they can peek outside, is ideal.  Cave beds, hooded beds and even heated ones are among the most popular.  Other options include a cardboard box with low-lying edges, flannel blankets or polyester kitty mat. The key is to have a designated space for them rest where they feel comfortable, safe and secure at home.

Source: dogster.com

Food – A combination of wet and dry food should provide your kitten with the nutrition it needs to grow and remain healthy.  The amount you provide on a daily basis will depend on the size/weight of your cat, as well as the breed. Ask your Vet for recommendations when you go for your first visit.  Try to be consistent with meal times and maintain some portion control. Lastly, it’s well-known that cats love milk, but too much can lead to diarrhea and other issues; therefore, should you decide to give kitty a ‘treat’, do so in moderation.

Water Bowls – Hydration is essential to your cat’s health, and a plentiful water supply should be refreshed daily. Cats who are on a dry food diet will consume up to 2x as much water as those on wet canned food. Pet Water Fountains and other enticing drink wells are popular, providing a continual source of fresh water for kitty.  Keep the bowl clean and be sure to pay attention to your kitty’s intake to be sure they stay hydrated.

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Cat Litter and Litter Box – This is an essential item to your kitten’s daily life and you may need to spend a couple days training them to use it if they are not familiar.  Try not to put the litter box near the cat’s food whenever possible.  Clean the litter daily and be sure to change it out with fresh litter a couple times a month.  Some cats may require you to change it more often. Be aware that they can be finicky when it comes to the type of litter, so be sure you use an easily accessible brand, as changing the type of litter can lead to them doing their business somewhere else.  There is no end to the options available for the litter box itself.  Self-cleaning electronic boxes are making waves, as are ‘hidden boxes’ that are more discreet and ideal for small rooms or apartments.  Check out this excellent article on  “Litter Box Training 101” to get the real ‘scoop’.

Toys to play with – Interaction with your cat is important to their overall health and well-being.  Having appropriate toys around will be one of the best ways to bond with your new kitten. This activity provides much-needed exercise and stimulation to avoid obesity, especially for indoor cats.  Start with a variety of inexpensive play mice, feathers and ball toys made for cats. Catnip is usually a great stimulant, but not all cats will respond to it. If your kitten gets bored quickly, introduce different toys and experiment over time to find the right ones that will keep them stimulated. It only takes a couple minutes to enjoy playtime with kitty and you will quickly learn the likes and dislikes of your new furry friend.

Source: mnn.com

Scratching Pads and Posts – One of the biggest complaints that cat owners have about their pet is that they tear up the carpets and furniture around the home with their claws. That’s why one of the best investments you can make for your new kitten, is a scratching post or scratch pad.  Despite popular belief, you can train your cat by reinforcing a behavior using treats, very similar to training a dog. Use a firm, but not too loud voice. A quick ‘hiss’ to get them to stop, then lead them to the “Approved Scratching Area” and reinforce their actions here with treats or a higher pitched, gentle voice.  The biggest mistake is to allow them to get into the bad habit of scratching and clawing at anything they want. Getting them to routinely scratch here, instead of on your furniture, will be well worth the effort.

Other important factors to keep in mind:

Indoors or Outdoors – This is always a personal choice for a cat owner. While cats naturally love the outdoors, the lifespan of your kitten will greatly increase if you keep them indoors. Keeping them indoors will make them less likely to experience fleas, ticks, injury or abuse from other felines, and avoid traditional incidents, like getting stuck up a tree. The key for indoor cats is exercise and stimulation, which will help to avoid obesity.  Should you choose to let them roam outdoors, consider safe alternatives like a “Catio” or enclosed area for your cat in your yard.  Purchase a ‘safety collar’ that has a break-away feature,  so they don’t choke themselves if the collar were to get snagged on something. Additionally, be sure the collar tag has the appropriate information on it like your cat’s name and your phone number or address. If you live in the city or area of high traffic, we recommend you raise your kitty as an indoor cat.

Source: Amazing Animal Photos

Routine –  Your new kitten will quickly become a creature of habit and will thrive in an environment that has routines and schedules.  In most cases, they adapt to your schedule and build their routine around yours, so try to be consistent.  If your kitty is acting up, it may be because their environment is constantly changing and they are not feeling safe, secure and comfortable.  What may seem like a small change to you (ie: the store didn’t have the cat litter you’ve been using, so you bought another brand) but can be a big deal to your cat.

Grooming – Cats are naturally equipped to clean and care for themselves on a daily basis. Their barbed tongues provide for a “built-in” washcloth (thank you Mother Nature),  but your help may be required from time-to-time. The amount of grooming you will spend on your cat will depend on the breed.  Most long haired cats, like Angora Persians, need to be groomed using a pet hairbrush a couple times a week. This will help avoid piles of loose cat hair around the house and the dreaded hairball hacks.  When you find your cat licking and grooming you, know that you have done well, as they are showing you deep affection and approval.

Source: mnn.com

Handling your Feline – Cats are very affectionate and if they learn to trust you when you pick them up, your relationship will truly flourish.  Place your hand gently under their body, while lifting, use the other hand to support their hind end.  It is not recommended to pick your cat up by the scruff or neck.  Be gentle, and know that once you earn their trust, they will be more receptive to your affectionate touch and desire it more and more over time.

Spay or Neuter – Last but certainly not least, this is one of the biggest decisions you may have to make as a new cat owner.  Spaying or neutering your feline will help to prevent an abundance of homeless and abandoned cats.  A common myth is that your feline will become fat and lazy if you have this procedure done.  This is not true.  Your pet will remain fit and trim as long as you continue to provide exercise and monitor their food intake. For your cat, consider scheduling the surgery as early as 8 weeks and before the cat reaches 5 months in age.

Having a new kitten in your life can be one of life’s many rewarding experiences.  Using these tips, you can set the tone early for a long-lasting, healthy relationship.

Written by: Anthony Black


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