Bringing home a new kitten is a really exciting time for your family. They are cute, cuddly and can be wonderful companions. It is important, however, being prepared and understanding what to expect before bringing home your new furry feline.
Must have kitten supplies
- Cat scratch post – Pick a post that is high enough so your kitten can stretch out and scratch, and place it in a location where the kitten will spend most of its time
- Bedding – Choose a soft, comfortable bed in a warm location.
- Water and food bowls – Choose a water and food bowl of a sturdy, easy to clean material like stainless steel. Place the bowls in a different room to the litter tray, as cats do not like to eat near their bathroom!
- Litter tray and litter – Provide your kitten with a litter tray in a private, quiet location. See below for more information on litter trays and litter types.
- Grooming supplies – A soft bristled brush will help you to teach your kitten to be groomed regularly. Avoid brushes with sharp wire bristles as they can hurt their skin.
- Toys – See below for information on toys for kittens.
- Food and treats – Continue with the food your kitten was eating before, as a sudden change in diet will cause a stomach upset. Choose a high-quality complete and balanced dry food, such as Royal Canin Weaning, and gradually change the diet over a week.
My kitten is on heat. What should I do?
Kittens can reach puberty as young as 4 months of age, around their last vaccination. During puberty, kittens will start acting like teenagers and you will notice the following:
- Desire to roam
- Increased marking behaviour, including scratching and spraying
- Calling behaviour to attract all tom cats in the area
- Potent urine smell where tom cats are spraying outside your house
- Cat fights between tom cats attracted to your female
You cat will roll around on the floor moaning and crying in a sorrowful way. She may also start spraying and back up against you or other items wanting her rump and under the tail rubbed. This is a distressful time for your cat.
Please don’t allow your cat outside at this time. She may be set upon (often forcibly) by several tom cats in a row and end up pregnant very quickly.
To avoid this situation, book your cat for desexing at your earliest convenience before she reaches puberty.
What toys are safe for my kitten to play with?
Your kitten or cat can never have enough toys! Ideally rotate toys daily to keep the amusement going.
- Laser light
- Feathery toys
- Wind up toys that move
- Bouncy balls
- Empty boxes
- Toilet rolls
- Cotton buds
- Hanging items
- Dragging items. For example: a string with feather at end attached to your pants as you walk around the house
Cats like fast movement and bouncy things, so think of this when buying/creating your kitten or cat’s toys.
There are some very clever puzzle toys available, such as CatAmazing, on the market that will entertain your cat.
What kind of cat litter tray is best?
Cats are by nature very clean, so it’s crucial to use a good quality litter tray and litter that your cat likes. Daily cleaning is essential.
For adult cats: A large, deep tray, around 1.5 times the length of your cat and 7 to 10 cm (3 to 4 inches) deep
For kitten and seniors: They may need a tray with shorter sides for easy access.
Plastic is a common and suitable material for the tray. Some trays come with a cover. This may contain the sight and odour of the tray, but not all cats are comfortable using these.
What type of cat litter is best?
For many cats, two trays are best. Some prefer to do no.1 in one tray and no.2 in the other, or just have choices!
There are many different types of litter that are both good at absorbing urine and decreasing smell:
- Clumping cat litter
- Crystal cat litter
- Recycled paper litter
- Gravel based litters
- Scented litter
Some can be scooped regularly (clumping and crystal) and emptied to clean and disinfect the tray weekly or less. Other litters need to be emptied completely and the tray disinfected daily.
Either way, please ensure that your cat has access to a clean litter tray at all times. If in doubt, most cats will like using the finer gravel or clumping types of litter. Just watch that they don’t try to eat it in the beginning, especially a young cat/kitten.
Your cat will prefer a quiet and safe area for its tray, including the laundry, bathroom, spare room or a quiet hallway. Make sure it is an easy area to clean.
How do I clean a cat litter tray?
To clean your cat’s tray, empty all the dirty litter into a garbage bag (try not to breathe in any dust particles while doing so). Scrape the litter on the bottom into the bag if needed.
Scrub the tray in warm water and detergent, rinse thoroughly and leave to dry. For disinfection, bleach can be used according to the instructions on the bottle. Ensure your rinse the tray thoroughly after disinfection.
Don’t let your cat drink any detergent or bleach solution you are using. Please note: Many cleaning chemicals are toxic to cats, so choose carefully.