How To Prepare For a Kitten

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So you’re getting a kitten, (eek, how exciting!) but are wondering how to prepare for a new kitten. I mean – what do you need to know, get and do, before they arrive? How can you make sure you have everything they may want or need? And what should you – as a new cat owner – expect from having a new kitten? (As that certainly all ties in with preparing for a kitten, too!) Well my friends, you’re in luck! As, in this post, we’ll cover it all and more, with our quick guide on how to prepare for a kitten – in 5 key steps. So let’s start from the top shall we?

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How To Prepare For a Kitten

Preparing for a kitten is fairly simple, but can tend to take a little more time and work than you perhaps may have expected.

For this reason, I recommend turning this post into your checklist and working through it, bit by bit, before you bring your new furry friend home! So, how to prepare for a kitten…

1) Understand What It Means

The best way to prepare for a kitten, is to go into it with your eyes open, knowing that:

1. You definitely want a kitten.

It’s not just a spur of the moment decision. Kittens are for life, remember. It’s a big decision and not something you should make overnight.

(Although I’ve got to be honest – I didn’t really follow this “rule!” The thought of getting a kitten came to me on the Wednesday, by the Thursday I’d decided on the breed, by the Friday I had found little Cody online and by the Sunday, we had viewed him & secured him with a deposit. Eek! But that’s my personality to a tee! I’m spontaneous and go with my gut. I still research like crazy and weigh up everything before making a decision, but if it feels right – I just go for it. So that sped up our decision. I do however, recommend taking the time with yours, so that you definitely know it’s what you want; 100%; for sure!)

When you do this, you also give yourself more time to understand what it entails…

2. You’re ready for a kitten.

Having a kitten is similar to having a baby in many ways. They’re not quite as demanding – but they do take time.

There’s feeding, playing, cat-litter changing, vet visits, more playing, attending to them when they’re “crying” and making sure they’re happy. It’s pretty time consuming at the beginning, and – it’s worth knowing – during the beginning, a kitten that’s less than 4 months old shouldn’t actually be left alone for more than four hours!

As your kitten gets older, and becomes a more independent cat, they can of course, be left alone for longer, and occupy themselves easier. But even then, the happiest of cats, still need a lot of love and care!

Does this fit in with you, where you’re at and your current lifestyle? Are you ready to take that on, and take that on for many many years?

3. You’ve got the time for a kitten.

As mentioned, kittens take a lot of work and time. Is it the right time to bring a kitten into your world right now? And are you ready to give it everything it deserves?

are you ready to get a kitten?

4. You can afford a kitten.

Now it’s not just about the time, but also – unfortunately – the money. It’s said that, the typical annual cost of a cat is around £1500 per year. This can be more or less, depending on the cat breed and what they may face.

But then of course, there’s the upfront cost of buying your kitten and getting in everything they need!

Now what I would say – is they are hands down, worth every penny. Especially if you’re going into Pet-Parenthood properly (as you get out what you put in, like many things in life!)

But it is worth being aware that there’s more costs than you may think.

5. You have the right home for them.

Last but not least then, as part of knowing if you should have, and can have, a kitten – you have to weigh up your home.

Now, surprisingly, the biggest consideration isn’t how much space you have. I mean, we explored why you can have a cat in an apartment – in this post. (It’s not actually about how much room you have, but how you use it and how you look after your cat.)

Other things come into it too. For example – will you have an indoor cat or an outdoor cat? Do you plan on harness training your cat, then walking them on a leash, or not? And would that fit with where you live?

Are you the only person living there, or do you have house mates? And how does that affect the environment you’re in?

There’s so much to weigh up here, but as you weigh it up – in most cases – you’re only finding solutions, to help you then better prepare for a kitten. (Which is ultimately a win!) This leads me onto my next recommendation when preparing for a kitten…

2) Do Your Research

So once you’ve decided that yes – this is 100% what you want, you can then prepare for a kitten by doing further research.

The more you know about Cat Parenthood before you get your kitten, the better prepared you are when you then pick them up… and the more excited you’ll be! I mean, look what happened when we brought our Maine Coon home…

This will soon be you my friends, this will soon be you! But make that new transition, the smoothest and easiest it can be, by swotting up as much as you can before they arrive, and putting yourself, “in the know.”

I mean, to get you thinking of just a few basics:

  • What’s their diet currently like? What are they eating? And what’s the best diet for this cat breed? And what are the foods cats can’t eat? The things that are poisonous to them?!
  • How about cat litter? What cat litter are they currently using? Is this the best cat litter? And by using it, will it better help to keep them litter trained?
  • Will you need to litter train your kitten? And if so – how do you litter train a kitten?! (As this is quite essential for making sure your home doesn’t become a mess!)
  • What else might you need to think about? Well… PROTECTION?! How will you protect your furniture, or stop them from scratching the carpet? What measures can you put in place?
  • How will you also protect your new kitten? What things do you need to be aware of? E.G. Is polyester toxic? Is this material in cat toys? And how can you make sure that what you’re buying is good enough quality? Similarly, what do you need to do before they arrive, to cat proof your home? How can you keep your kitten safe? This leads me onto my next point…

3) Make Your Home Kitten-Friendly!

One of the biggest fundamentals when it comes to preparing for a kitten, is making sure that you kitten proof your home.

Now don’t worry, we’ve actually made this super easy for you, by creating a separate guide for How To Kitten Proof Your Home – all you have to do is click that link and work your way through. (Woohoo!)

In a nutshell however, it’s all about making sure there’s:

  • Nothing dangerous or toxic left lying around.
  • Your space is safe and friendly.
  • There’s no risks or hazards.
  • And you’re simply left with a safe, friendly place for your kitten to stay and play – both when you’re there, and if you’re ever not.

4) Get All The Essentials In

The next big thing when it comes to preparing for a kitten, is making sure you have everything that they need, already in. So as a starting point, here’s what you must, must, must, buy for a kitten:

What You Need To Buy For a New Kitten:

With each of these, there’s going to be lots of different options. Especially when it comes to food! But that’s why our previous “research” part is so important when it comes to how to prepare for a kitten.

After all, once you’ve swotted up, you know the best options for your furry friends and are therefore buying the best things for them.

should you get a kitten

What You Need To Buy For a Kitten (Extended!) Shopping List:

Once you’ve got the core essentials in, as listed above, you should also try to get as many of the following.

(These are things your kitten should have, or needs to have, but it’s slightly less urgent, so you could also add to your pool of “cat things” once they’ve started to get settled in.) So for this we’ve got…

  • A cosy cat bed. (We have this donut calming pet bed, as it’s large enough for our Maine Coon to grow into, whilst remaining super snug! I recommend this donut bed for cats that are more of an average size!)
  • A cat tree to get them climbing, scratching, and give them another place to sleep! The best ones can be a little pricey, but they’re multi-functional and well worth it!
  • A grooming brush. Initially, as a kitten, they may not shed that much. But it’s good to get them used to it early on, it does smooth out their fur and you can use it to get out any knots or things that may get stuck in their fur!
  • A kitten calming diffuser to give out anxiety-releasing pheromones that settle your new kitten in their new home.
  • Cat toys that kittens can play with by themselves, to keep them occupied when you’re busy!
  • A cat harness and leash if you’re looking to take your kitten outside. I recommend grabbing at least the harness early on, as getting a cat used to a harness makes it so much easier when it then comes to leash training. Plus, the earlier you start with both of these things, the more open your kitten will be to it!
  • Similarly, a collar, if you’re looking for your kitten to wear one.

How To Prepare For a Kitten

In case there’s any “accidents” you may also like to grab things like:

  • Pet Wipes (Because no, normal baby wipes are not okay on a kitten! You have to be super careful of what you put on them to avoid any reactions!)
  • Kitten-friendly Cat Dry Shampoo + normal Cat Shampoo. (I’ve linked to the ones we use, if you’re struggling for trusty brands. I know this one can be an especially tricky decision!)
  • Carpet cleaner. (Unless you have hard flooring and can whiz around with a steam mop for vinyl floors… That makes your job then FAR easier!)
  • Furniture cleaner. (Although you can also protect furniture with things like blankets, too!)
  • I also have a couple of these plug in air fresheners which keeps the place smelling fresh and clean. Highly recommend!

5) Have a Plan of Action In Place!

The final step to preparing for a kitten, is to then get a plan in place for not only just bringing them back, but also what you’ll do when your kitten is back. And – what you need to do.

  • So do you know how you’ll bring your kitten home, in terms of logistics?
  • Have you got the place ready for them, including their first allocated cat room?
  • Have you chosen a name for your kitten, so you can start to get them familiar with it from the start?
  • Where are you planning on having your kitten sleep at night? With you? In another room? And what if they start crying? What will you do?
  • Do you have any other pets that you have to consider? And how will you introduce your new kitten to them?
  • What about the vets? Which vets will you be taking your kitten to, and do they have availability to take new clients on?
  • What health checks have they already had, and what else do they need? Are they micro-chipped already? Have they had flea treatment yet, or worming? What about vaccines? What do they need and when?

You should also outline any key rules you want to have, if you’re living with others, to ensure you’re “raising” your new fur baby in the best possible way. For example:

  • Who is responsible for kitten care? From feeding to litter clean-up to grooming and vet care. Who is responsible for which “job”? And how will you go about it? What will be done, when?
  • Similarly, what will and won’t you allow your kitten (and then cat), to do? How will you stop them from jumping on counters? Are they allowed to sit on your brand new sofa? What about sleeping on your bed?

Map it all out beforehand to avoid any potentially issues once they are then there. That way, you really are – well and truly – prepared, and everyone is on the same page, then left to just enjoy the new furry addition to the family!

That’s All For This One

So there we have it – how to prepare for a kitten. (Eek!) I hope you found this valuable.

Got any questions? Be sure to drop them in the comments below. Enjoyed this? Then don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE for more.

Thanks for reading. Wishing you and your little furry friend, all the very best!

how to prepare for a kitten
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Ell is the Founder of Totally Purrfect & Cat Mom to Cody, The Maine Coon. Her areas of expertise lie in Cat Care, Enrichment & Training.

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