Adopting a new kitten? How exciting! Before you bring the cutie home, you will need to stock a few supplies beforehand. If you already have cats at home, you may have some of these items, but it is a good idea to have a checklist to make sure you have everything your newest family member needs.
1 Crate or Carrier
This is a must to safely transport your kitten to your home. There are a few things to look for when choosing a crate.
- Make sure it is sturdy with lots of ventilation and an easy way to allow your kitty in and out
- Try to get one in plastic with a locking door, a cardboard box isn’t the best option and temporary at best
- Cover the bottom with a towel or soft material so your cat feels as comfortable as possible while traveling
- You can also use a calming spray that helps reduce anxiety and calms your cat for the trip home
- Choose a crate that will accommodate your cats potential adult size, so your kitty can grow into it (you can ask your vet what size your cat’s breed will grow to)
2 Food Supplies
After bringing home your kitten they will need to eat food and drink water. These supplies include cat food made for kittens, food and water bowls, cat dental kit, and other supplies.
Food and water bowls
- A bowl that is weighted is a good choice, especially for kittens since it will avoid tipping over.
- Look for a kitten bowl initially since they will be shallower and smaller
- Make sure to clean the bowls daily
- Place the cat bowls away from the litter box as cats do not like to mix eating and the bathroom
Kittens need a special diet to get all the nutrition they need for their growing body – their weight can double or triple during the first few weeks. Kittens unsurprisingly have to triple the energy needs of an adult. Since kittens are small, they cannot get all the calories that they need in one meal and will need three or four smaller meals per day. In addition to calories, kittens also need more protein, amino acids, and minerals than adult cats. It is recommended they are fed kitten formula until age 1.
4 Cat Dental Kit
Kittens are like us, they have two sets of teeth during their lifetime. Kitten teeth are called primary, milk, or deciduous teeth. Kittens are born without teeth and they emerge around three weeks of age. They have all their primary teeth by four months old. Teething starts at eleven to twelve weeks old. At six or seven months old, kittens will grow in their permanent teeth.
During teething your kittens can become cranky, experience drooling, and have some difficulty eating. They will also want to chew everything (try to redirect chewing to acceptable and safe chew toys).
Some of the supplies for dental care include:
- Toothpaste and toothbrush for cats (don’t use human toothpaste!). Cat toothpaste is specially made for your cat and comes in yummy flavors like tuna or chicken. Brush your kitten’s teeth at least three times a week.
- Other supplies you can use are dental wipes, rinses, or pads
5 Cat Bed
Your kitten will sleep a lot! A newborn kitten sleeps about 90% of the day – or 22 hours of sweet dreams. As they age, they will sleep less over time, however even at six months old they will still sleep between 16-20 hours per day. Catnaps for your kitty are crucial to their growth including the development of the brain, central system, toning and strengthening muscles and bones and supporting immune system function.
So what to look for in a bed?
- Your kitten bed should be warm and soft
- It should be located in a safe and comfortable area
- Choosing one that traps dander and is easily washable is helpful
- Make sure it is large enough for your kitten to lay down
- Make sure it is small enough to make your kitten feel safe yet allows some room to stretch
6 Litter Box
There are so many choices out there! Litter boxes can be self-cleaning, open, covered, aesthetically pleasing, and more. Note: some cats are afraid of self-cleaning litter boxes – so it is a good idea to make sure you can return them if needed as they can be expensive.
- Choose a cat litter box that best fits your home and your lifestyle
- Litter – choose a litter that has odor control, dust-free, and helps train your cat to use their box
7 Collar and ID Tag
This is important to have on your cat at all times and includes your name, address, and phone number. In case your cat gets caught on something, the collar should have automatic release. The collar should fit well and not disrupt your cat’s breathing or swallowing (a good way is following the two-finger rule between collar and neck).
8 Cat Scratching Posts
Cats need to scratch and a scratching post is a great way to meet your kitten’s needs.
- The scratching post should have a base that keeps it from tipping over
- It should be a tall as your cat so they can stand on their hind legs and scratch (they have adjustable ones)
Kittens have a lot of energy and they love to play. Make sure your kitten toys are safe and do not have small parts that can come off.
Cat toys can include:
- Chew toys
- Catnip-filled mice
- Cat puzzles and interactive toys
- Cat tunnels with crinkle material
- DIY – Round shower curtain ring, ping-pong balls, paper bags (without handles), and empty toilet paper tubes