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Kittens are great! They’re fun, cute and have a lot of love to give. But they can also be a lot to manage, which is why it’s imperative that you clue yourself up before getting a kitten.

If you’re already asking “what do I need for a kitten”, you’re doing the right kind of research. James Wellbeloved can help with that, providing a one-stop guide for getting a kitten to ensure you’re fully prepared for your new feline friend’s arrival.

CHOOSING THE RIGHT KITTEN FOR YOU

There are many things you need to consider before getting a kitten. Surprisingly perhaps, breed is not a major concern, as all cats are roughly the same size at each life stage – and breed doesn’t guarantee behaviour. It’s time and energy you need to think about above all else. Very young kittens often require feeding up to four times every day, as well as hours of play per week, so make sure you’re ready for the commitment.

Take into account factors such as your family or any current pets when deciding which kitten is for you too. How they will adjust to the new family member is key to providing a great forever home.

WHAT DO I NEED FOR A KITTEN?

Now that you’re ready to get a kitten, you’ll need to stock up on a few things before bringing them home. These include:

  • A clean, comfortable bed
  • Litter box and plenty of kitty litter
  • Age-appropriate toys
  • Brushes and flea combs
  • Scratching post
  • Food and water bowls
  • High-quality kitten food

Making the effort to purchase essential items for your kitten in advance will help when it comes to looking after their general wellbeing. Remember, you can always talk to a vet for recommendations as far as kitten care is concerned.

FEEDING YOUR KITTEN

By the time you bring your kitten home, they will likely be weaned (at least eight weeks old) and used to eating solid foods. Make sure what you feed your kitten is high in calories, protein-rich and easy for them to digest. A mixed diet is preferable as dry food will help with their oral care and wet will help to increase their water intake.

Of course, there are also foods that kittens shouldn’t eat because they’re dangerous, including:

  • Raw meat and egg whites
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Chocolate
  • Avocado
  • Nuts
  • Grapes – raisins and sultanas too

Ensure your kitten has plenty of suitable food, as well as fresh, clean drinking water. Also, in case you were wondering, do NOT give your kitten cow’s milk; in some, this leads to chronic diarrhoea. Instead, they could be offered specialist “cat milk” that is available in retailers if they enjoy this type of treat.

 

KITTEN TRAINING AND SOCIALISING

Kittenhood is a time for learning, and your new furry friend will be looking to you as a guide for how they should do things. This means that it will be your responsibility to show them everything from using the litter box to how the scratching post works. You should also take time to introduce them to other cats in the right way, thereby your kitten to acquire social skills.

Young kittens are fast learners, so it may also be a good idea to start training and socialising them as soon as they come into the home. Remember, though, that they are still experiencing the world for the first time and patience is invaluable – perhaps with the help of some carefully measured treats as well.

Positive reinforcement training can work wonders with some kittens. Try allocating a portion of their daily food allowance (no more than 10%) to reward them where appropriate.

MUST-KNOW KITTEN CARE TIPS

If you own a kitten, it’s worth heeding advice such as:

  • They’re not an adult cat yet – like any infant, your kitten needs as much love and care as possible in order to thrive
  • Prioritize preventive care  – this includes vaccinations and routine appointments with the vet
  • Don’t leave them unattended – kittens should be fully vaccinated and at least five months old before they go outside on their own
  • Remove any dangerous plants from around your home – lily of the valley, Christmas cherry, castor oil plant, avocado plant, rubber plant and ivy are all potentially poisonous to kittens
  • Introduce toys – these will help keep their playtime interesting and fun
  • Discourage biting or scratching people – if your kitten won’t stop, redirect attention to a toy or their scratching post; similarly, don’t use your hands when playing with a kitten so that they learn it’s not ok to chase and bite fingers/feet/etc.
  • Arrange for microchipping – this can be done from five weeks old and is a definite must before your kitten goes outside for the first time, helping them be traced back to you should they ever become lost or stolen

Whether you’re a new kitten owner or an experienced hand looking for your next forever friend, a few helpful tips can make it easier to provide support and care to the latest pet member of your family.

Getting a kitten isn’t always sunshine and rainbows, but this guide should hopefully make the process a little easier and much smoother for both you and your furry friend. Likewise, you can always consult with a vet if you have any concerns about getting a kitten and how best to prepare.

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