Adding Kittens to Your Home

Veronica #2, Bieber, Kyon, Dacota & Hank the Tank 03 (0516)

Kitten season is upon us. Be sure you have everything ready before bringing your new kitten home.

1. Litter box – 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.

2. Cat carrier – 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.

3. 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.

4. Kitten food – 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 pounds.

5. Water bowls – 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 dish.

6. Cat proof – Put away cleaners and pick up anything they could swallow. More information on properly kitten-proofing your home will be posted later this week.

7. Perches & toys – Kitties enjoy looking out windows and watching the birds. Cat stands and window beds allow your pet to be safely entertained by birds, rabbits and other wildlife. They also provide a safe place to get away from other pets in the house. Cats and kittens love to play. Ensure that you have safe toys for your pet to play with. Even commercial cat toys should be checked for loose strings, holes and small pieces that can come off (e.g. eyes and noses). Some cats will eat these small items which can be dangerous.

8. Scratching surfaces – 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.

9. Play – Be prepared to 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 accidently hurt someone.