I have been caring for cats since I was a young kid. When my family first got Gizmo she was a young adult. I was also way too young to actually know what was going on.
But as I've grown, I have looked after and rescued many a kitten and have learnt a few things here and there.
So what to do when you finally make the decision to get a new cat?
Where do I start?
Going into a cat or any pet ownership may seem like it's picking the little guy up, and off you go. But this is further from the truth. Having the right tools ready before you bring your kitten home, gives you the best chance of success.
What should I feed?
This is quite a difficult question to answer, hopefully, the rescue will give you a small amount of food to start with but this will last a day or two.
You'll need to make an informed decision about what to feed. I personally go for Canagan Free Run Chicken. Canagan take nutrition seriously and I think going for this company will set you up for real success, but there are a hundred and one different companies out there vying for your custom. Look for a food that has a good amount of protein and if you can, go for a food with either a single source protein or a good quality meat protein.
In all honestly, though, the more expensive food may be off-putting but they usually have a higher meat content. Cats need taurine in their diet and can only get this from meat. Feeding cheap food usually has lower levels of meat, using derivatives instead with Taurine added to make it healthy for cats.
My kitten needs to drink
Obviously, you need to provide fresh water for your little furry friend.
Kittens are small so it's best not to provide a deep dish first which normally wouldn't be a problem for an older cat, kittens have small heads and are not very good at working out where to put themselves and are still learning how to fend for themselves.
Don't get me wrong, kittens aren't too stupid but accidents can happen. Having a shallow dish helps your kitten keep hydrated without the risk of dunking their head. If you're considering a water fountain, which I can't recommend enough, for a kitten I would wait a few weeks or until your cat is big enough to use one.
My kitten is going to poop.
Absolutely, your mini cat is going to need an area for the most natural act.
Having a litter tray is a must, but be prepared, your little kitten may not be used to litter trays yet so be patient. Getting multiple trays is always smart especially if you have a multiple-cat house. When placing the litter tray the best place is away from food and rest areas, cats are naturally clean animals. Watch how much they groom. I must say having the tray next to food or water will raise their stress levels which is never good.
The litter I recommend using is clumping litter this makes cleaning and removing any waste easier. I personally use Catsan, it's not clumping but it's amazing stuff. No smell and is antibacterial, you can see easily see if your kitten is using the tray.
The litter I must beg you not to use is a silica-based litter. It has a tendency to stick to your kitten and be ingested while he grooms which can lead to issues. Just don't use it.
Now the fun part. Your kitten needs toys! There are hundreds of toys out there. Lasers, chasers, kickers the list is endless.
Kittens have tonnes of energy and need to burn this off. Playing with your kitten before they eat improves their appetite, and can help if you're trying to change over their diet. There's no right or wrong with this subject. I would recommend small toys at first. Getting a kicker twice the size of Mittens, might be too daunting.
Cat scratchers or trees?
Why not both? Cats naturally love being up high and this is no exemption for young Toe-Beans.
Going for a cat tree may be a little excessive and confusing at first, but trust me, stick your kitten on one and it will go nuts! Cats use scratching as a way to scent mark and sharpen their claws so providing a few areas for your cat to scratch will reduce stress, allow it to stretch out and avoid destroying your furniture. Put a tree next to a window and watch little Toe Beans watch the world go by.
Getting the jabs.
No matter what, your kitten needs its vaccinations. These jabs are designed to help with cat flu, cat leukaemia and cat enteritis. Even if you plan on never letting your cat out you still need to vaccinate your kitten. The risk is high so don't run it. Note: your cat will need boosters after a year and will continue to for the rest of its life. Your vet will go over this with you, so don't panic.
This needs to be done at a vet so it's time to contact your local surgery and book them in. Have a google for your local veterinary surgery unless you already have one then the job is done. When you visit the vet before they do anything they'll do a quick check-up. This is a great time to ensure everything is in tip-top shape and in perfect condition.
Do I need to bother with insurance?
I would if I were you. Anything can happen and you'll kick yourself for not getting it.
On your first visit the insurance company won't cover you, but getting coverage is essential. Have another google for the best insurance company out there.
If you do need to use an insurance company just bear in mind you'll likely need to pay upfront and the company will reimburse you or you'll need to pay the excess.
Time to get your Kitten.
Going to a cat rescue or buy?
I personally will always recommend going for a rescue kitten, they will have been vet checked and possibly had their jabs (depends on the shelter) if they haven't you've already prepared to book a vet appointment, so no worries.
If you want to buy your kitten that's entirely up to you just be mindful and look at reviews of who you're picking up from. Kitten Farms are a real thing and they are only in it for profit which equates to a lack of care which can lead to a lot of vet visits.
You don't want your first time getting a kitten to be stressful. It should be a fun and exciting new addition to your family.
Congratulations on getting your new kitten! You're both going to have a lot of fun together. This list is not exclusive and there are many things I have missed out or forgotten, but the basics are there. If you have any questions or need advice. Message me and I will be happy to help!