I don’t know anyone who can pass by a kitten without saying “aww, how cute.”
If you’re thinking about adopting a kitten, prepare for a fun time. As tiny as they are, they tug at our hearts.
You can adopt a kitten from an animal shelter or, if you prefer a purebred, choose a reliable breeder.
The first 6 weeks of a kitten’s life brings rapid growth and changes. Before bringing kitty home, you need to kitten-proof your house and purchase some items.
Kittens and cats are very curious and determined when something catches their interest. Electrical cords, outlets, cabinet doors, closets, bric-a-brac, counter tops – all these need to be secured or cleared for your kitten’s safety and your peace of mind. And remove any plants that can be poisonous to your kitten.
Purchase at least 2 food dishes. You can choose from ceramic, plastic or stainless steel. If you are not home to change the water a few times daily, you might consider purchasing a cat drinking fountain. Initially they cost a bit more, but your kitten will always have fresh water available.
You’ll need a litter box and litter. There are many styles to choose from, just keep in mind that some cats don’t like change. When you need to replace the litter box, they may balk at a new style and will need retraining to use it. There is a new type of litter box where all you do is plug it into an outlet and it cleans itself. The special litter needs replacement every 6 months.
Grooming supplies are necessary as well, especially if your kitten is long-haired. The basics are a brush, a comb, nail clippers, shampoo (yes, cats need baths sometimes), a special toothbrush and toothpaste made for cats. It’s best to get your kitten started early with grooming. The kitten will become used to your handling and it’s a great bonding time.
By the time you take your kitten home, he/she should be used to eating on its own. To make chewing a bit easier you can moisten dry cat food or add some canned wet food to the kibble. Wait until it’s well-moistened and serve. Your kitten will need to eat 3-4 times a day. Choice of food is up to you. There are many kitten formulas available or you can cook your own food. Since cats are true carnivores, choose a food high in protein. Treats are okay, but make sure your kitten doesn’t become a fat cat.
Kittens begin playing as early as 4 weeks old, so add toys to your shopping list. Be sure to check for any loose parts or strings that can be hazardous to your kitten. Introduce your kitten to a scratching post – it will save your furniture.
Socialize your kitten, getting it used to other family members and visitors.
Take your kitten to your vet for a thorough checkup sometime during its first 2 weeks at home. Ask your vet about vaccinations and flea and tick control. My cats never went outdoors, but fleas and ticks found their way inside.
You’ll discover that kittens are so much fun, you might want more than one.