Image of a kitten sleeping in a blanket

Article

Preparing for a New Kitten

Michael Hayek, Ph.D.

Director Companion Technical Solutions

Deciding to add a new four-legged family member to your home can be a very exciting time. Taking steps to prepare for the homecoming day will allow for a smooth transition for you and your new kitten.

Preparing your home: Kittens are very curious by nature and tend to get themselves into trouble. Their natural chewing behavior can compound this problem. It is important that you evaluate your home to eliminate potential harmful situations. Be sure to look at your home for concerns through the eyes of your kitten. It may be worth getting on the ground level to identify potential issues that you may not normally notice as you walk around. Be sure to secure any electrical cords from tiny teeth Assure that all household chemicals and cleaning supplies, laundry detergents and fabric softeners are out of reach. Lidded garbage cans are preferable to open ones. Some houseplants can be poisonous to cats so make sure they are out of reach as well. Have a ready supply of appropriate toys available for your kitten to play with and satisfy their natural curiosity in a constructive manner.

Supplies: There are several supplies you will need that you may or may not already possess. Your new kitten will need a safe place to stay out of trouble when you are not able to provide supervision. This can be a small room or section of your house. If you choose a room you may need a gate to keep her in the designated area. You will also need bowls for food and water. It is advisable to have a pet ID tag on your kittens’ collar with her name, your name and phone number in case she accidentally gets loose. Many folks find metal skid resistant bowls a good choice to limit moving, spillage and falling over. Other items for your shopping list may include a litter box, litter, cat carrier, leash, collar, nail clippers, high quality toys and stain remover for accidental soiling’s.

Veterinary Care: It will be important to have your kitten undergo an examination soon after she arrives (within 48 hours if possible). You may want to have a veterinarian in mind if you are not already working with one. If you know the date for your kittens’ arrival you can make an appointment ahead of time to make sure that your first visit gets conducted as soon as possible. Be sure to bring as much information to your visit as possible such as kitten’s birth date and any vaccinations that have been received.

Food: It is important that you provide a high-quality food that is appropriate for your kitten. When possible determine what your kitten has been eating and continue that diet during the initial transition to her new home. If you decide to change her diet be sure to do this slowly so that the change does cause digestive upsets. Below is a table that provides guidance for a smooth transition.
 

Feeding Rates When Switching to a New Kitten Food

Day % of Current Food % of New Food
1 – 2 75% 25%
3 – 4 50% 50%
5 – 6 25% 75%
7 0% 100%
 
The big day has finally arrived, and you realize all this preparation has paid off. You have provided as smooth a transition as possible and two of you can relax and enjoy your new adventure.