Welcoming a new kitten into your home can be a wonderful experience. These tiny furballs offer friendship, companionship, comfort and endless entertainment with their playful antics. When you open your home to your new best friend, it is wise to be prepared by having the essential cat supplies on hand.
The Right Cat Food
Quality cat food and plenty of drinking water should be at top of your cat supplies list. Choose a diet specially formulated for your young charge, such as Purina Kitten Chow Nurture dry cat food. A cat water fountain will help ensure your kitten stays hydrated.
“Some cats and kittens are finicky eaters while others are not,” says Gary Latos, DVM, of Calabasas Animal Clinic in Calabasas, California. “You may have to experiment with different varieties, but be sure to feed high-quality kitten food, and be careful not to overfeed as approximately 50 percent of adult cats are overweight.”
In addition to cat food, consider picking out some nutritious cat treats. Soft cat treats fed by the hand a few times a day can help create a very positive bond between you and your new friend.
For a more entertaining mealtime, add cat food to an interactive cat toy, which also serves as a cat slow feeder. The Petsafe SlimCat interactive cat feeder is designed to keep kittens curious, active and slim.
You can find a cat litter box in any shape or size, and just as many varieties of cat litter to put in them. Felines can be picky so you may need to experiment a bit to find the right type of box and litter that work best for your cat.
Don’t forget a litter scoop as well! It’s important to keep your kitten’s potty clean daily so she’ll keep up the good habit of using it alone.
Enrichment or “Catertainment”
Kittens naturally scratch surfaces with their claws to stretch, mark their territory and condition their nails. Offering several in-home scratching options, such as a Frisco cat tree, gives your small friend approved places to express her nature instead of your carpets or furniture.
Most effective is providing multiple shapes and sizes of scratching products—horizontal and vertical with varying textures like sisal rope and cardboard—throughout the home. This creates an attractive and interesting environment for you pet and her natural and healthy cat behavior.
Kittens also use their claws to catch prey. In the wild, your kitten might snatch a bird or a mouse with a quick claw grab.
For our indoor pets, you can simulate prey snatching through toys, like a Pet Fit For Life feather wand, which is designed to mimic a bird’s motions. Interactive cat toys like this help create quality playtime together and teach your kitty to use claws on toys and not human playmates.
“Kittens and cats need their claws to defend themselves, to catch toys, to mark territory and to climb,” says Jennifer Conrad, DVM, founder and director of The Paw Project in Santa Monica, California. “It’s a good idea to teach a young kitten to have her claws trimmed willingly as they will not wear down in a home environment in the same way that they would in an outdoor habitat.”
Cats also have excellent hearing, and many locate their prey through sound as well as sight. With a toy like Frisco’s foldable crinkle play tunnel, your kitten can create stimulating sounds while playing inside with the attached toys and indulge the feline need for cover.
For even more “catertainment,” catnip is a fun option. This apt-named herb has a scent that attracts almost all cats. In fact, many cats go a little crazy over it!
In its dried form, catnip can be used a variety of ways. Try sprinkling some on the ground for your cat to roll around in or on a cat scratcher to encourage scratching.
Catnip cat toys shaped like mice and stuffed with catnip are ideal. The toy’s size, shape and alluring catnip scent will draw your kitten for endless swatting and chasing. Some kittens even pick up and carry their catnip toys or play fetch with their humans.
Nooks for Napping
Kittens sleep a lot—16-18 hours out of 24! When your lap is not an option, providing a cozy pet bed, blanket or mat is a great second choice.
To provide your pet with a view and warmth from the sun, consider placing a cat condo or mounting a kitty perch below a window. Napping or bird watching? Take your pick!
Safety and Peace of Mind
Basics to keep your new kitten safe in an emergency are a cat carrier, a breakaway cat collar and identification tags.
For trips to the vet or an evacuation due to natural disaster, an appropriately sized carrier is critical to have on hand to transport your pet safely. The collar and identification tags make it much more likely that your lost cat can be returned to you. Even if your feline is indoors-only, accidents happen and she could get outside and lost.
Last but not least, on your list of cat supplies is the control of external parasites. To keep your pet safe from fleas and ticks, choose a flea and tick treatment formulated specifically for kittens. Onguard flea and tick treatment is one such option designed to kill all life stages of flea and ticks on cats and kittens from 8 weeks and older.
By being prepared with the right cat supplies, you can make your new kitten feel right at home. Before you know it, your kitten will make her home in your life and your heart!
As a cat behavior consultant, Mollie Hogan brings 25 years of animal training and her lifelong love of cats together to provide a unique and positive experience to both felines and their companions.
Featured Image: Via iStock/lisegagne