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6 tips for adopting a new kitten

Deciding where to adopt is the first step to obtaining a new kitten

kitten playing with ball
Photo (c) nensuria - Getty Images

Bringing home a new kitten can be super exciting, but it also comes with lots of responsibility. Here are six things to consider and do to prepare for your new feline friend’s arrival.

1. Decide where to adopt

You can find kittens for adoption all over the place — the newspaper, social media, local bulletins. Kittens are easy to find, but adopting from an animal shelter is often the best choice — they typically do full checkups and provide any necessary shots. If you go this route, you can be more confident you’re getting a healthy kitten. Otherwise, it can be hard to know.

2. Think about cost

Caring for a kitten – or any pet – isn’t cheap. In addition to the initial adoption costs, you might also end up paying for:

  • Vet visits
  • Spaying or neutering (if not done at the shelter)
  • Food and feeding supplies
  • Grooming tools
  • Toys
  • Litter boxes and litter
  • Flea and tick prevention
  • Cat bed

These are the most common immediate costs, but this isn’t a comprehensive list. You can expect to pay several hundred dollars a year to provide great care for your new cat. Not everyone can fit this into their budget, especially all at once.

If your financial situation isn’t conducive to owning a kitten now, don’t give up. Take a little time to prepare first — you can save up or buy the stuff you’ll need one by one — if you need to.

3. Consider: One kitten or two?

Once you start looking for a kitten, you might find it difficult to adopt just one. Two kittens together can work well; they can keep each other company and encourage exercise and play. However, two at once means more cost and commitment.

It’s best to determine before looking whether you want just one kitten or more. If you know you only have room in your budget, home or life for one, harden your will, or you might give in at the shelter.

4. Determine if they’ll be an indoor or outdoor cat

Before you bring home a kitten, you need to decide whether you’ll keep it completely indoors or let it roam outdoors. Starting your kitten out in the space you plan for them to stay in is much easier than trying to transition later on.

Many experts suggest keeping your cat indoors, as they tend to live longer away from the elements. If you choose to keep them inside, though, it’s important that you keep them stimulated and provide plenty of toys. Window perches are also helpful.

5. Prepare your space

Before bringing your kitten home, it’s important to do a thorough cleaning.

  • Make sure there’s nothing lying around they could swallow and choke on.
  • Put away any chemicals so they don’t knock them over and get into them.
  • Keep toilet seats closed to prevent them from falling in.
  • Tie up any long cords they could strangle themselves with (or just tear to pieces!).

6. Load up your supplies

There are several things you might need or want in your home when your new kitten moves in. A few items you’re likely to appreciate having around:

Toys

You want to keep your kitten stimulated and engaged. There are several great options for this, such as the Petstages Tower of Tracks Interactive 3-Tier Toy or the Youngever Cat Toy Assortment. Additionally, a scratching post can help prevent your kitten from scratching at your furniture, clothes and other belongings.

Litter box and litter

There are countless options for litter boxes out there, including those with lids. These are great for larger cats, but kittens often have a difficult time getting into them because of the higher step threshold. It’s better to choose a litter box with a short side for a kitten, like the Suhaco Large Cat Litter Box with Lid or the KittyGoHere Litter Box.

Crystal litter or non-clumping clay litter tend to be easiest to deal with. It’s less likely to stick to the fur and paws, meaning there’s less of a chance your kitten will ingest it while grooming or spread it all over the house.

Food and bowls

Like human babies, kittens need specific nutrients to support the healthy development of the brain, eyes, teeth and bones. Kitten food should be high in protein and calories, preferably with natural ingredients. Hill’s Science Diet is one brand highly recommended by vets.

It’s also important to keep fresh water available as much as possible. A food bowl with an automatic water supply like the Aqueous Plastic Cat Bowl is excellent for keeping your furry friend hydrated, especially if you’re often on the go and can’t tend to a water bowl frequently. And cats love running water.

Cat bed

Your kitten will appreciate a comfortable and secure place to sleep. The Tempcore Cat Bed is a great choice — it has overstuffed walls, a dangling cat toy and a water-resistant bottom. It’s also machine-washable.

Bottom line

Adopting a new kitten can be exciting for you and your entire family. If you’re ready for the commitment, considering the tips above can lead to successful adoption and a well-adjusted kitten.

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