New Kitten Preparation Checklist
Before you bring him or her home, there are some items you'll need to stock up on. Having these items on hand in advance will help ease your new kitten's transition into your home.
- Food and water bowls: These bowls should be dishwasher-safe, durable and easy to clean to cut down on bacteria. The water bowl should be large enough to hold a one-day supply of water for your cat.
- Pet bed: Having a comfortable place set up for your new kitten to relax and sleep will help ease his/her transition into your home. Also, since kittens spend up to 18 hours a day sleeping, it's important that your kitten has a comfortable place to do so!
- Pet food: It's important to feed your kitten quality food, tailored to his/her age and energy levels. Your vet can help you pick an appropriate food for your new kitten, based on these factors. If at some point you decide to switch foods, it's important to slowly integrate the new food into the old since switching your kitten's foods too quickly can lead to dietary upset. For more information, read our Kitten Feeding Guide article.
- Toys: It's natural for kittens to want to play, chew and chase things. Providing your kitten with appropriate toys may save your hair ties, clothes and other items from becoming kitten toys. Toys and play-time can also be good outlets for the boundless energy your kitten may have at times.
- Treats: Having some tasty, low-calorie treats on hand makes it easy to reward your kitten. Some cats tend to be a bit shy or picky, so using treats can be a good way to encourage your cat to socialize or try a new food.
- Flea and tick preventatives: Your kitten was likely treated for fleas and ticks already, but with so many pets around, he/she may bring some home as well. Starting your kitten on a flea and tick preventative right away can reduce the risk of pests and prevent an infestation. Learn more in our Controlling Fleas on Kittens article.
- Heartworm preventative: Heartworms are transmitted to cats when an infected mosquito bites a cat. Unlike heartworm infections in dogs, heartworm infections in cats cannot be treated and may be fatal. Your cat can be infected at any time, so it's best to start your pet on a heartworm preventative right away and keep him/her on it. Heartworm preventatives are prescribed by vets, so ask your vet about starting your cat on a preventative during your first visit.
- De-wormer: It's also likely that your new kitten was dewormed; however, kittens can be born with intestinal parasites that are passed to them in the womb by their mothers. Intestinal parasites can lead to a host of problems, including vomiting, diarrhea and weight loss, so it's best to de-worm your kitten several times or start him/her on a worming product (such as Profender Cat Wormer).
- Litter box: Your kitten is likely accustomed to using a litter box already, but to help him/her out, you should have the litter box placed prominently in the room that your kitten will be staying in. Over time, you can slowly move the litter box until it is located in your preferred area. The litter box should be large enough for your kitten to turn around in and should be kept clean. Also, if you have more than one cat, you will likely need several litter boxes. The rule of thumb is one litter box per cat, plus one extra.
- Litter: Look for a litter that is easy to clean, eliminates odors and doesn't stick to your cat's paws. Also, realize that your kitten may have a specific litter preference. There are many different types of litter including clumping, crystals and natural/bio-degradable. If your cat is amenable to change, try out a few types until you find a preferred type and brand.
- Litter box furniture: There are several options for concealing or covering a litter box. This can help a litter box blend in aesthetically to your home, and it can also make your cat feel more comfortable if he/she is shy.