Getting a new kitten is an exciting time for any family. Cats can be really great pets for the right people, but it’s important to be as prepared as possible.
There are lots of things you should do when you’re preparing to bring a new kitten home.
What to think about before getting a kitten
If you’re thinking of getting a kitten, make sure you’re fully prepared to take on the responsibility. You’ll need to make sure you can meet your new pet’s welfare needs and think about:
- Cost – can you afford everything your cat needs (to set up and for ongoing care)?
- Your home – is it cat appropriate? What will need to change to become cat-friendly? Can they access quiet rooms and will they have a safe outdoor space? Do you already have other pets who might not get on with a kitten?
- Time – have you got the time to spend with your new kitten? You may find that an adult cat would better suit your current lifestyle.
- Vets – do you know where you would register your kitten? You can find a local vet online and pop in before you get your kitten as your vet can advise you on what they’ll need once they’re home.
You can read more about everything you need to think about before deciding to get a kitten on our pet care pages. You can also download our full checklist for getting your furry friend.
How to prepare for a kitten
Once you’ve decided to get a kitten and found a good place to get them from, you can start to prepare for their arrival:
- Buy any supplies they need. This could include:
- Cat beds
- Kitten food
- Food and water bowls
- A puzzle feeder
- Litter trays and cat litter
- Plenty of toys
- Scratching posts, mats, boxes or frames
- Cat furniture like cat trees
- A large, secure carrier for transport (one with a hard shell and an opening on top is best)
- A brush or comb for grooming
- Make any home adjustments, which could include:
- Installing a cat flap
- Setting up their bed areas
- Setting up their food, water and toilet areas, which should all be in different places
- Cat-proof your house by removing hazards and poisons, or safely securing them away out of paws’ reach.
- Speak to your local vet about any preventive treatments your new kitten will need and how much they will cost. They may be able to offer a care plan.
- Start to compare the cost of insurance, as insuring your cat will help with any unexpected vet bills.
What to do when you bring your new kitten home
Once your kitten is home, it’s important that you get into a routine. Cats like consistency so try to keep feeding them at the same time every day. Use the same food and litter as the breeder or shelter at first and gradually change them over. If you can get a blanket or towel that has the smell of the breeder’s home on it, that can help your new kitten feel safe in their first days in a new home where everything is different.
Even if you plan on letting them have the run of the whole house and outdoors, keep them to just a couple of rooms at first so they don’t get overwhelmed and you can keep an eye on them. For the first few days, let them explore at their own pace and don’t bother them too much – stay around but let them come to you. Remember to play with your kitten lots to keep them active but let them sleep if they get tired. Once they’re feeling a bit more confident, you can introduce them to other rooms of the house.
Get them a vet check soon after bringing them home. Make sure your kitten is fully vaccinated and neutered before you introduce them to the outside world. It’s a good idea to get them microchipped too, as then if they get lost or go missing you have a much better chance of being reunited. Neutering can be done from four months old and will help prevent any unwanted litters and can protect them against certain cancers and reduce their risk of fighting with other cats.