Getting ready for a furry new addition at home involves some preparation and of course, some shopping. Our resident pet expert, Dr Ben Willcocks, shares his top tips for preparing for your new best friend.
Once you make the decision to get a kitten, you can become so overwhelmed with excitement that planning goes out the window. So here is a short list of the bare essentials you need to purchase, prior to your kitty’s imminent arrival!
At a young age, kitten’s grow at an extraordinary rate, and require a high energy diet to maintain this growth. Therefore, nutrition is exceptionally important at this stage of their lives.
Premium pet food companies, such as Hills and Royal Canin, sell pet food scientifically formulated to provide complete and balanced nutrition for your kitten, so I would probably start there, and ensure you have at least a week’s supply of food
Food and Water Bowls
The important thing to remember here, is that the bowls need to have low enough sides, and be shallow enough to allow for your kitten to physically eat and drink. If it is too deep, they may be dissuaded to eat because their sensitive whiskers brush the side of the bowl.
Make sure you have a litter tray, a litter scoop and enough litter to last a week at least. Ensure the walls of the tray are low enough for your kitten to comfortably get in and out, yet high enough to stop the litter going everywhere.
Also, where possible try to have 2 litter boxes for the one kitten, and place them in locations away from public areas, but accessible to your kitten
Kittens are full of beans, and require regular play to expend that built up energy. So ensure you have a bunch of different toys. The key here is variety. You need to choose toys which are very different from one another, ie one that rolls, one that rattles, and so on. This is important as many kittens will have a preference for one particular type of toy.
Obviously try to choose toys which would be hard to swallow, and always remember that cats are quite different to dogs, and often won’t voluntarily play with a toy. You need to actively encourage your kitten to play with the toy.
It’s important you purchase a cat carrier, and use it from the day you bring your kitten home. Kittens need to be associated with carriers from day 1, so it isn’t a nightmare to use them later in life.
The important thing to remember with carriers, is that you need to make the experience a positive one as often as possible. Put comfortable bedding, toys and treats in the cage, and don’t always bring out the cage when something negative is going to occur, for instance visits to the vet, groomer, and so on.
To get your cat used to being brushed and groomed, purchase a brush and use it regularly from day dot. It’s important for hair health, and to reduce the amount of malting that occurs, and if done correctly can be a fantastic bonding experience for you and your kitty.
Trust me, get a scratching post. They may not be the best looking thing in your apartment, but they will save you endless hours of financial and personal distress when your cat decides to scratch apart your new lounge.
Identification tag (name, number, and address), collar, and your local Veterinary clinic details
This is important in case your kitten escapes, doesn’t have a microchip yet, and needs to be identified. Also, you want to book an appointment and a health check with your vet asap.
Hopefully this short checklist has you well prepared for the exciting arrival of your new kitten. Have fun.
Do you have a question for Dr Ben? Ask him here