Get ready for the arrival of your purrr-fect kitten
Are you thinking about adding an additional family member to your home? Providing a home for a kitten is an incredible thing, but you may have to paws for thought. You may be too preoccupied with the thought of how adorable your little critter will be for it to occur to you that you and your home may need to get kittey-ed out with the right equipment and know-how beforehand. Sure, kittens are adorable, but don’t let your little furball turn into a furry nightmare. Curiosity can get the best of them, hence the expression, “Curiosity killed the cat.” This article is specifically designed to make sure this expression is nothing more than a silly myth.
You may need to take into consideration where your kitten is coming from. Not in the sense of an angsty teenager, but whether or not your kitten has just left their mother will affect how comfortable they are with a new owner. It’s extremely important to make sure a kitten is comfortable in its new environment. Kittens are often adopted right after birth, but ideally you should adopt a kitten who is between 10 to 12 weeks of age. Kittens who are allowed those additional weeks with their mother and siblings are more likely to be well behaved. A kitten who is adopted before ten weeks is likely to be stressed and confused when being introduced to a new environment. The kitten may even develop a fear of humans, so we strongly recommend adopting a kitten who has had the time to gradually adjust to its surroundings.
Choosing the right food for your kitten
When taking care of a kitten, it is imperative to get the right food. Kittens grow exceptionally fast and it is important to make sure that during their first year, they are given proper nutrition. If it’s at all possible, find out what your kitten was eating prior to being adopted. If the food is of high quality, strongly consider sticking to it. Whatever food your kitten is eating, make sure it is high in protein. This will help their muscle and tissue development. Feed your kitten food that is specifically made for kittens, however much your kitten may seem interested in eating pretty much anything in your house, curtains and tin foil are not really good for cats. Finding food specifically designated for kittens is relatively easy. Pet food labels are required by law to carry a statement identifying the life stage for which the food is intended.
Wet vs Dry Food
This is the choice that every cat owner must make. Although many pet owners have their preferences, kittens can do well with both. Wet food has more moisture and helps kittens stay hydrated whereas dry food is more convenient and less likely to spoil. Dry food also allows your kitten to gain more weight as its content is high in carbohydrates. This is extremely important when your kitten is growing into an adult cat, but it is imperative to exercise portion control. Just as in humans, excess weight can have detrimental effects to your cat’s health. You wanted a cat, not a pet lion.
It’s important to keep your kitten looking clean and pretty. Kittens are natural beauties, so this only requires high quality clippers, flea comb, brush and wet wipes. Cats are naturals at grooming themselves so they don’t require much maintenance. Short hair cats obviously require less maintenance than long haired cats…the latter also have a tendency to shed so if you or anyone in your household has allergies or you just don’t want to deal with the mess, this may be something to consider.
Give your kitten a bit of comfort
You may want to invest in a small bed for your kitten. Your kitten will be accustomed to the warmth of its mother and siblings. Investing in a bed with warm blankets will remind your kitten of the comfort of being with its family. It will also provide security and comfort in its new surroundings. We recommend placing the bed in a quiet area away from disturbances. You can also place a ticking alarm clock under the blankets in the kitten’s bed when it is particularly young if you wish, as this will replicate the mother’s heartbeat and relax the kitten.
Training your kitten to use the litter box is fortunately quite easy. Cats are naturally very considerate animals, and instinctively bury their waste, so your only concerns should be where you place the box and what kind of litter you use. When choosing what kind of litter to use, you have the options of:
Clumping: Many cat owners prefer Clumping litter because its less of a hassle. Clumping litter allows you to easily scoop up waste, rather than dumping the entire try out and refilling it. Cats also prefer the feel and texture of Clumping Litter.
Non Clumping: Although cheaper, more is needed. If you are using non clumping litter, you will have to tend to the litter box more frequently; At least once a week.
Crystal: Many Cat owners love crystal litter because you only have to change it once a month. How great is that? The major downside of this is the danger that comes with if one of your kittens were to consume the crystals. This can be life threatening so although it is less of hassle, it’s not the safest option.
Get your house ready for the kitten invasion
Provide a distraction
You may need to equip yourself with items that will distract your kitten from destroying your home. Unless you like having your furniture destroyed and ripped apart and were going in for the deconstructed-chic look with your home decor, we suggest you invest in one or more scratching posts. Its great if your kitten has a few scratching posts in several areas of the home. It is not recommended that you declaw your kitten because scratching is necessary in a cat’s life. While it may not be so fun for you when you inevitably receive an affectionate claw in the [insert body part], regular scratching is like a trip to the gym for your kitten. It helps strengthen their muscles and saves you the task of clipping their nails. If you do invest in a few Scratch Pads, they should vary in size and shape. You have the choices of choosing between: Platform, Climbing, Corner and Wall.
Make your home safe
In addition to protecting your furniture, make sure your kitten is safe. Everyday household items may pose a threat to your little kitten. Make sure your toilet seat, lid and garbage lids are closed. Any chords, plants (especially lilies which are poisonous to cats), small items they can choke on, should be out of reach. If you have a home that is above the ground floor, make sure you leave the windows closed. To be extra safe, you might want to just keep your bathroom door closed as well. Cats are natural explorers… remember that old myth about Curiosity and cats?
Follow these tips and you and your feline friend will be purry happy together.