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Kitten Care: Bringing a New Kitten Home

Kittens are a lot of fun, and they seem to have boundless amounts of energy. Before you bring home a new kitten, take care to make sure that you’re ready—and your family and home is as well.

If you have never lived with a pet before, kittens are a great choice because they are so entertaining. That may be one reason why so many people live with them. More than 45 million households in the U.S. live with cats, according to the American Pet Products Association.

Kitten care

Some people have the misconception that cats are easier to care for than dogs. Although cats do not require walks, they do need just as much attention and care as dogs, and kittens require even more attention than cats. In addition to the following tips, you’ll want to visit your vet to discuss kitten vaccinations, spaying and neutering.

Think of a kitten as a baby. If your kitten is unattended, they will surely get into trouble. Kittens are incredibly curious creatures. They want to see what is in that partially closed box, and knocking picture frames, books, and breakable items off of a shelf can be a game for a kitten. They don’t know they are causing mischief.

Cat proof your home

Before you bring home a new kitten from a rescue or shelter, make sure to cat proof your house. Cats are great climbers and jumpers, so even an item high up on a shelf can still be reached! Until your kitten learns what is off limits, hide your valuables. Here are a few other tips to make your home a safe environment:

  • Check with your kitten’s veterinarian to make sure all of the houseplants in your home are non-toxic. You can also contact poison control for information on plants or other household items
  • Buy child safety locks for medicine cabinets and places where you store cleaning supplies.
  • Keep electric cords unplugged, so if your kitten chews on a cord, they won’t get an electrical shock.
  • Wrap the cords around the top of any blinds in your home so they don’t dangle.
  • Keep your washing machine and dryer doors closed. Kittens have been known to check them out.
  • Make sure your window screens are secure.

Items You Will Need to Buy

In addition to multiple cat toys, here is a partial list of what your kitten will need:

  • Water and food bowls
  • Litter box, litter scoop and litter. (The rule of thumb according to the American Association of Feline Practitioners is one litter box per cat, plus one.)
  • A cat carrier, which should be left out so your kitten will be comfortable going into it.
  • A brush
  • A scratching post or other cat furniture
  • Kitten food and treats
  • A collar and ID tag with your kitten’s name, your name, and your phone number on it
  • A bed
  • Cat toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Flea and tick preventative

When You First Bring Your Kitten Home

For the first few hours, keep your kitten company in one room. Let them get used to you and their new surroundings. Kittens, like all animals, need a bit of time to adjust. They may be shy at first, and it will take a few weeks for them to feel totally comfortable.

If there are other animals in the home, place them in another room during this time period to give the new one a chance to explore their surroundings. Then introduce your other pets slowly.

Spend as much time as possible caring for your new kitten, and they’ll begin to feel right at home before you know it.