Getting your new kitten is an exciting, but all of the essential preparation and important information before they arrive can be overwhelming. From guidance on accessories like bowls, beds and collars, to information on the best nutrition and what they’ll need for successful toilet training, we’ve made it easy with our kitten checklist.
What to buy before they come
Buying and organising all of the essentials a couple of weeks before your kitten moves in will ensure you’re fully equipped and have plenty of time to bond with your new furry friend. It’s also a great time to plan and make sure you won’t be left without something essential when they are finally here and need all of your attention.
Bowls for food and water
Collar and ID tag
Bed and bedding
A scratching post
A suitable case for travel
Litter, tray and scoop
Grooming products, including a brush and clippers
Getting your home in order
It’s important to make sure your environment is safe and ready for your new and most inquisitive family member.
Make sure there’s plenty of space for your kitten to explore
Make sure all electrical cords are out of the way
Fit your kitchen cabinets with safety latches
Cover potentially dangerous spaces that your kitten might hide in, like laundry baskets and washing machines
Make sure doors and drawers are shut, including wardrobe doors
Keep floors free of any small items that your kitten might ingest
Hot plates should be covered when not in use and monitored when in use
Decide who’s responsible for what
Shopping for everyday staples is important but there are other responsibilities and duties you’ll need to address before your kitten arrives that are equally as important.
Choose where your kitten’s toilet training spot will be. It’s best to pick somewhere quiet and accessible. It’s also a good idea to read about litter training now so you’re prepared and know what to expect
Arrange you kitten’s wellness exam with a qualified vet, finding a reliable vet now will make it easier to keep an appointment, and make them in the future
Decide who is in charge of feeding the kitten and changing their litter box. Establishing a routine immediately will help your kitten adjust
Preparing for when they’ve arrived
If coming from a breeder, bringing your kitten’s blanket might improve their transition as they get used to their new surroundings with a familiar scent.
Make sure you’ve arranged your kitten’s first vaccinations
If it’s not already been administered, flea and worm treatment will be needed
Make sure your kitten is socialising from a young age and being introduced to new people and situations, helping them feel comfortable as they grow
If you’re going to let your cat outside (never before at least one week after their second vaccination), take the relevant steps now to get your garden safe and ready, including a cat flap if desired
Appointments and vaccinations
Once they’ve settled in, make sure you’ve taken care of all of the necessary vaccinations, treatments and identification your cat needs. Some of them will require your kitten to be a certain age, but booking appointments in advance will ensure you don’t forget or struggle to get a slot when the time comes.
Diet and nutrition
Kittens have very different nutritional needs to fully grown cats. They’ll need food specially designed for growing kittens. Learning how much food your kitten needs is important, sticking to the moto of little and often. To keep things clean, put a placemat under their bowl in case they make a mess. Most kittens won’t need kitten milk, particularly if they’re old enough to go to their new home.
A quick guide on how much food your kitten needs
4–12 weeks of age = 4 meals a day
3–6 months of age = 3 meals a day
Over 6 months old = need 2 meals a day
Be sure that you feed your kitten the same food they’ve been eating at their vet or breeders for a few weeks after you bring them home. Any sudden changes in their diet, combined with any stress they’ve felt when adapting to their new home might cause stomach upsets or diarrhoea. If you want to change their diet, do so gradually over a few weeks. Do this by mixing their new kitten food with the existing diet. Like with all animals, your kitten will need a bowl of fresh drinking water available to them at all times. Amongst human foods that cats can’t eat, milk is a big no-no. Feeding your kitten milk might cause diarrhoea, but there are lactose-free options that can replace regular milk if necessary.