Adding Kittens to Your Home

Before the Kitten Arrives
– The sides should be short enough that the kitten can easily climb in
and out.  Place the box in a quiet spot
and show her where it is.  If possible,
keep a litter box on each level of your home. 
You may need to have a litter box in multiple rooms on a single level
for your kitten.  Kittens are small and
may not be able to get to the litter box in time if it is too far away.  While they are new to your home, they may not
remember where the litter box is located.
– Your pet needs a safe place to be when being transported to the
vet or other destination.  Hard-sided
carriers are best as they provide better protection than a soft-sided carrier
if you are in an accident.
Cat bed
– Cats sleep up to 16 hours a day, kittens even more.  If you have a dog, it’s important to give
your kitten a safe and private place to sleep.
– Until they are 1 year old, kittens need up to three times the
calories as adult cats.  Look for food
made especially for kittens and feed the recommended amount on the label.  If you have a dog, place the food where the
dog cannot get to, as kitty food can upset a dog’s stomach and add unwanted
– Place several water bowls throughout the house.  Keep them clean and filled with cool, fresh
water.  If your kitten is not drinking
much, try a flatter dish that does not surround her small face.  Some cats do not like their whiskers touching
the sides of the bowl.  If your cat
prefers running water, a kitty water fountain may work better than a regular
& tags
Cat proof
– Put away cleaners and pick up anything they could swallow.
& toys
– Kittens (and cats) need to learn where it is OK to scratch.  To keep kitty off the curtains, give her a
sisal-covered pole to climb up.  Don’t
wand kitty clawing the couch?  Put up
scratching posts.  Show your kitty how to
use the approved scratching surfaces. 
Pretend to sharpen your claws on them, or sprinkle some catnip on the
surfaces.  Make sure that any posts are
well secured.  Bitter Apple or lemon-scented sprays
are both great for marking areas you want to be off-limits. Cats hate the taste
and/or scent of them.

– Gently play with your kitten each day. 
This keeps her fit, develops coordination and provides an outlet for
chasing and pouncing.  If she likes to
use her teeth or claws, give her something to bite on or cling to when
playing.  Do not use your hand as a
toy!  If she thinks that hands are toys,
she might accidentally hurt someone.
Kitten Proof Your Home
Here are some ways to kitten (and cat) proof your home to
keep them safe!
1. String
Keep string, ribbon, yarn, tinsel, rubber bands, plastic jug
rings, paper clips, pins, dental floss, and other temptations away from your
curious cat.  Anything string-like that
is swallowed by your cat can cause a partial or complete obstruction.  It can saw through the wall of the intestinal
tract and cause peritonitis, an inflammation of the membrane that lines the
abdominal cavity and abdominal organs. 
Keep sewing baskets behind closed doors.  Put dental floss and string in a trash
container with a secure lid.  Don’t use
yarn or ribbons to decorate packages. 
Hide rubber bands and toys with tails or streamers.  Keep shoes in closets to protect kittens from
ingesting the shoelaces.  Put away
decorative throw pillows, blankets bordered with tassels or fringe until the
kitten is older and less curious.
Toys that dangle from a string are great fun and an
excellent way to interact with your pet. 
However, these should never be left alone with the kitten because they
pose a risk if the string is swallowed or if it gets wrapped around the kitten’s
neck during play.  Put fishing-pole toys
in a closet with a closed door when you can’t be around to supervise playtime.
2. Cords and Curtains
Fold and secure your window blinds cord out of kitty’s
reach. If she gets tangled up in it, she could strangle.  It never hurts to flip your curtains up over
their rods for a couple months.  Tuck
electrical cords out of the kitty’s reach. 
Cover electric cords, such as the tangle from your computer, with covers
sold for that purpose.  Look for cord
organizers that enclose them in chew-proof tubes.
3. Medication
Never give a kitten any medication without checking with
your veterinarian first.  Be extra carful
to pick up any pills you drop. 
4. Plants
Kittens love to nibble on greenery.  Keep harmful plants like chrysanthemum,
azalea, tulip bulbs, oleander, sago palms, rhododendrons and castor beans are
just a few of the plants that can be harmful to your cat.  Lilies are particularly poisonous, and even
small amounts can make your kitten sick. 
Put away or throw away anything that might tempt a kitten to
eat it, including potpourri scented with aromatic oils.  It may smell wonderful, but it can be deadly
if your cat eats them.
5. Appliances, Furniture
& Crawlspaces
Kittens will explore, play or nap in small, dark places like
the washer or dryer, the sleeper sofa or under the recliner.  Always keep the door to your clothes dryer
closed, and double-check inside before using it. Be aware of where your cat or
kitten is before closing the refrigerator door. 
The food can be enticing, but they can quickly suffer from hypothermia.
Do a kitten search before folding up the sleeper sofa or
lowering the footrest of a recliner. 
Pets can become trapped underneath and be severely injured.  Keep your toilet lid down at all times, lest
kitty fall in or drink from it. Better yet, keep your bathroom off-limits to
your kitten unless you absolutely have to keep her litter box there.

      Consider purchasing inexpensive baby latches for
floor-level cupboards and closets.  An
especially curious cat may need baby latches on upper level cupboards as
well.  Be on the lookout for potential
access points that your kitten could sneak into.  Watch out for spaces under curios and
hutches.  Kittens can become trapped