If you’re considering bringing a new furry friend into your family, you’ll want to grab all your new kitten essentials that you’ll want to buy before you rush out to the shelter! As tempting as it is to adopt first and shop later, a little bit of planning will go a long way to making kitty’s transition into your home as smooth as possible. Besides, once you get that bundle of fuzz into your arms, you won’t want to leave him to run out and buy everything he needs! To help you prepare, check out the list of the most important new kitten essentials below.
1. Number of a good vet
Research local vets and choose one before you even think about bringing kitty home. Emergencies can happen in the blink of an eye. The last thing you want is to be scrambling to find a good vet while your cat is howling in pain. Ask pet-owning friends and family for recommendations or call your local shelter and find out who they use.
2. Kitten Food
Do you know what the best kind of kitten food is? Here’s a hint: you won’t find it in a bag. Vets recommend feeding kittens wet food (the kind you find in a can or a pouch). Ideally, you’ll continue feeding wet food to your kitty throughout his entire life, as it’s better for his kidneys. You can supplement with a really good grain-free dry food as a treat. You don’t always have to buy a specific kitten canned food, just opt for brands or varieties with about 35-40% protein content.
3. Food & Water Bowls
Now that you have the food, you’ll need a place to put it! Go with small non-slip bowls for now. You can always upgrade to cuter bowls and fun fountains later. Make sure you’re putting the bowls far away from your cat’s litter box, your kitten will be greatful. Just like humans, kitties don’t really like to eat in their bathrooms!
4. Small Litter Box and Scoop
If you’re bringing home a young kitten, start off with a small litter box. Not only will it save you time during scooping, but it’s also not big enough for your kitten to play in. Yes, they WILL play in their fun little “sandbox” if they have enough space! While you’re shopping for the box, grab yourself a scoop, too. Stainless steel scoops are great because the litter just slides right off.
5. Kitten-friendly cat litter
All cat litter is not created equal, especially where your kitten is concerned. While clumping clay litter is by far the easiest to deal with, many brands are also potentially harmful to your teeny cat. Like all babies, kittens explore with their mouths, so at some point he’s going to try to eat it. Even if he doesn’t, he’ll end up breathing in dust when he kicks around to cover his business. So, make sure you buy a brand that’s 99% dust-free (finding 100% dust-free litter is incredibly difficult).
6. Kitten-proofing essentials
Now that you have all the basics set up, it’s time to look around your home and identify things that could be dangerous for your new kitten. Make sure you look up as well as down. Put away any dangerous (or precious) knick-knacks that a curious kitten could knock over. Hide your electrical cords or invest in pet-proof covers for them. You may also want to grab some furniture guards, at least until your kitty learns to use a scratching post. Which brings us to…
7. Scratching posts for those claws
If you buy just one piece of cat furniture, make it a scratching post. Kittens instinctively need to sharpen those claws, and you don’t want them doing it on your expensive sofa, door frame, or antique coffee table. Go with a sisal-wrapped post. Sure, a carpeted post looks nicer but sisal or other strong rope is just more satisfying to scratch for your kitty.
8. Flea and tick medications
Even if you’re planning on having an indoor-only cat (which you really should consider doing), you’ll still want to talk to your vet about the best kitten-friendly flea and tick medicine. Unless you live in the Arctic Circle, at some point during the year you’re going to come into contact with these nasty critters. They’ll hitch a ride into your home on your clothes, then hop onto your kitten first chance they get, where they’ll make her miserable and multiply by the thousands. Before you know it, you’re calling an exterminator to bug bomb your home. So, do yourself a huge favor and just get the flea and tick medicine, even if you really think you don’t need it.
9. Fun cat furniture for climbing and playing
These last two things aren’t necessarily vital to your kitten’s well-being, but they definitely make life more fun for him! Cat trees come in all shapes and sizes, from space-savers that fit snugly into a corner to cat mansions that take up half the room. The overall size is up to you, but as you shop, look for trees that have alternating levels relatively close together so your kitten can make the leap with her itty-bitty kitty legs.
10. Enrichment Toys
Last but far from least, grab a couple of fun toys for kitty to play with. Interactive cat toys are a good choice, but you don’t’ have to spend a fortune on high-tech gadgets to have fun with your kitty. A plain old stick with feathers attached to the end or a crinkly ball is just as fun if you’re at the other end.
Sure, you can buy all of these things after you bring home your new kitty, but if you plan ahead and at least get the food, litter, and medical necessities out of the way, you’ll have a lot more bonding time after you bring her home!
About the Author:
Nicole is a writer and editor at CatVills.com, a site dedicated to helping both new and seasoned cat parents lead the very best lives possible with their kitty companions. She’s currently a pet parent to three cats and two dogs.
All images are from CatVills.com.