If you’re following me on social media you’ll know already that we recently brought home a six month old kitten. Hell, he even has a name and a Twitter account put aside for the devilish antics I know he’ll be getting up in our house. I’ve wanted to have my own cat for an exceedingly long time but for whatever reason that dream just hasn’t worked out so I’m really excited to have our new baby boy: Kipper.
Growing up we had four cats at home so I was always surrounded by furry, purring friends to keep me company at night. It worked out that each member of the our family was ‘adopted’ by one of the cats and mine is a little tortoise shell tabby called Phoebe who I have, unfortunately, had to leave at home living with my parents when I moved to Cardiff because she’s getting a bit too long in the tooth now for a complete upheaval of her living environment. I was really sad to leave her behind but she still comes to me for fuss and love whenever I visit my parents and even though I get covered from head to toe in cat hair, I still wanted to experience the love of a feline pal in my own home.
About a month ago Rick and I started looking around for somewhere to adopt a cat from and we soon came across Friends of the Animals RCT on Facebook via a friend of a friend. We filled out a form, had a home inspection and were soon granted permission to take Kipper home with us once he had had his injections. Being as I’ve had cats in my home for nearly all of my life and practically feel like some sort of expert on how to raise them from kittens I thought I’d share some of my best tips on how to prepare your home for a new pet if you’re thinking of getting one:
Buy the essentials, but don’t go overboard
There are a few things a kitten really does need when it comes to live in your home and number one is a litter tray. Kittens need somewhere to do their business so stock up on littler tray liners, cat litter and a scooper. Most kittens will be litter box trained by their foster mums but that doesn’t mean they won’t make a mess if they have a poorly tum. We picked up everything we needed from a Poundworld but the litter tray we brought is 100% kitten sized only. Cats are really funny about where they do their toilet so make sure when your kitten grows you get him a big enough sized poo palace.
You can go mad on buying the essentials but make sure you only buy what you need. You could spend loads on a bed for your feline and then he’ll sleep somewhere totally random and enjoy it much more. We’ve brought Kipper a specific fizzy blanket and have a spare basket that’s just the right size hanging around the house because if experience of living with cats tells me anything, they will usually sleep anywhere but their own beds.
Research things like pet insurance and a local cattery
We knew straight the way that we wanted to pay for pet insurance for our kitten because not only can their required injections and check ups cost a bit but if they get themselves into trouble then you could end up footing a massive bill to save your precious animal’s life.
There are times when we’ll be away as well and we can’t take him with us so we researched local catteries and their prices. Generally it’s a very good idea to get a scope of what’s local to you like the vets, especially if you rely on public transport like we do. Getting details like these sorted before you adopt are ideal because then all you need worry about is booking your animal in for his first check up and going from there – and it really helps to get to know the staff at your local vets too because they can give you all sorts of advice.
Make sure to kitten-proof your home
Kittens are basically very playful baby cats so they will want to get into everything and play with things they’re not meant to as well. Go around your house and start picking out loose wires and small bits that a kitten will be likely want to play with and chew that could be dangerous for them.
Your furniture is likely to become your kitten’s new favourite scratching post so you should buy them one they’re actually meant to scratch at now before they come to live with you. We searched everywhere for one that could fit in our property and look exciting enough for Kipper to want to play with and we settled on a simple cardboard curved piece from Home Bargains for as little as two quid.
Your new furry baby will know where he isn’t allowed to go in the house if you set the right boundaries but he will want to play with everything and anything whilst he learns to become a household hunter and as he grows up his baby teeth will fall out and his adult teeth will come through so he’s going to start chewing and gnawing a bit more. Best to be prepared now than sorry later.
Don’t buy any food until you know what they’ve been started on
Little kitten’s tummies are very sensitive so mixing up what they eat as well as introducing them to a new place to play, sleep and poop can be pretty crappy. Try researching what you think you’ll want them to eat such as wet food or dry and only stock up after you’ve adopted. For example I know that our kitten can only take dry kibble at the moment so we’re going to feed him on that first and then maybe introduce wet food when he’s older. Waiting a little while can save you having cupboard full of snubbed cat food you can’t get rid of.
You should think about how you’re going to feed your cat now too, they always need to have fresh water they can access but do you want to get them used to something such as a timed feeder? We will probably feed at breakfast and dinner but we’ll always be wary of what cats can and can’t eat because as cute as it seeing a cat try to lick up a bowl of mashed potato, it’s really not good for them.
Be prepared for your new baby to completely snub you
When you first adopt a kitten they’ll be really nervous and excited about their new home as well as extra curious. When we brought Kipper home we just let him explore every room at his own pace, we left all of the doors open to rooms because we wanted him to get familiar with his surroundings and were completely at peace with being ignored for the time being. Luckily his foster Mum did a great job of making sure he wouldn’t suffer too much anxiety on coming home with us so he’s been quite happy sniffing around and then curling up with us when he felt like it. It’s really important to just let your kitten get on with it and find out for himself the places where he likes most to settle and he will soon come to you for attention.
This morning for example I woke up with the Kipper asleep between both of our pillows as he’d snuck up there in the night seeking for company after he’d ignored us pretty much all evening. I was quite happily pawed in the face by an excited feline who wanted to be fed and fussed. I’d like to think that once he’d got used to the idea of being in a new home he soon figured out how was the primary food provider.
That’s it for my tips on how to prepare yourself for a new kitten baby – I hope you find it useful. Have you got any cats or kittens at home? Let me know in the comments.