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The Essential Kitten Checklist

Insurance Ranked - Updated January 9, 2023
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The Essential Kitten Checklist

Bringing your new kitten home for the first time is an exciting moment and your new family member will bring you endless happiness and love in their lifetime.

However, there are some important steps to take before and after you bring your kitty home.

Make Sure You're Ready

Kittens are playful, full of energy, and need extra attention and care, which means you'll need the time and energy to do so. (And if you don't, there are plenty of senior kitties who would love a home.)

Before you bring your furry family member home, you'll need to be prepared.

  • If you have allergies due to pet dander, you can look for a cat breed that has a lower chance of giving you allergies.
  • Remove any small objects that could be a choking hazard and hide any electrical wires and cables.
  • Make a comfortable and safe space just for your kitten by letting them have their own unique space furnished with their bed, litter box, toys, food, and water.   Rearrange furniture to give your kitten space to run around and put up gates to keep them from potentially walking into an unsafe area.   If you're not sure what could potentially pose any danger, try getting a kitten-eye level view of the area and see what places your kitten could potentially get into -- vents, windows, small nooks, etc.
  • Get rid of any toxic plants or other substances. This includes being careful about items like cleaners and essential oils you put in your diffuser -- for example, eucalyptus and its essential oil are toxic to cats.
  • Keep your windows closed for your indoor cats and make sure to supervise them if you allow them to explore areas nearby.

When You Bring Them Home

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It's going to take some time for you and your kitten to adjust to your new situation. Here's what to do once you bring them hom.e

Microchip, License, & Register

It's essential to microchip your kitten as soon as you adopt them. This is typically required by shelters since it can help you find your pet in case they get lost. (Pet insurance can help you cover the cost of microchip implantation.)

Once your kitty is microchipped, you can register and license them (with the chip number included).

Housetraining

Kittens usually aren't adoptable until they are at least eight weeks old, when they are weaned, able to eat solid food, and can regulate their body temperature. If you do end up adopting a younger kitten or they can't eat independently yet, ask your vet how to best feed and care for them.

Until they are six months of age, kittens need to be fed up to four times a day with calorie-dense food that is high in protein. You may have to coax them to eat in the beginning, but eventually, you can just leave their food and water bowl full for them so they can eat when they are hungry.

As they age, they will only need around two feedings a day; they can transition to adult cat food once they get close to one year of age. Ask your vet what type of diet is best for your kitten and what brands of food they recommend.

Kittens usually don't have a hard time with potty training, since they learn how to use a litter box from their mother and can go on their own once they are weaned. You'll most likely have to show them where the box is and coax them to use it if they are not comfortable.

Kittens sleep for most of the day and night, so allow them to have their own comfortable space where they won't be disturbed. Cats are most active in the early daylight hours and they may wake up and mew for attention, but it's important to leave them alone (unless there is an emergency) and let them learn to sleep through the night.

Kittens are incredibly smart and learn new rules and boundaries with a little positive reinforcement, rewards, and praise. Use treats to reinforce good behavior and ignore any unruly behavior or give them their own space until they cool off.

It's important to introduce your kitten to new environments and experiences gradually. Playtime is the perfect way to socialize them with other people and pets (supervised, of course). You can also begin a grooming routine (brushing, bathing, nail care, tooth care) and get them used to activities such as traveling and being in a pet carrier.

Take Them To The Vet

Take your kitten to the vet as soon as possible for vaccinations, spay or neuter, and wellness checkup. Make sure you take any important paperwork regarding their medical history that you received from the shelter.

This is a great time to ask your vet for recommendations on food, treats, flea and tick prevention, and other kitten needs.

Finding a good veterinarian is important, so make sure you ask your friends, family, and shelter for recommendations and research nearby vet offices to find the best fit. You should also find an emergency clinic with 24/7 availability in case your kitty has an accident and your main clinic is closed.

Invest In Pet Insurance

Whether it's for an emergency, illness, accident, treatment, or wellness appointment, vet care bills are expensive. Some pet owners have a hard time covering high bills and may even have to refuse treatment due to the cost.

We believe that every pet should have the best treatments available. Pet insurance is one way in which you can reduce the costs and make veterinary care more affordable.

It's best to get pet insurance as soon as possible since pet insurance providers typically exclude pre-existing conditions, making comprehensive coverage difficult as your pet gets older and is more likely to develop an illness.

Pet insurance plans can cover a variety of health issues, such as exam fees, dental issues, hereditary conditions, physical therapy, surgery, and more.

Want to learn more about pet insurance and if it's right for you? Look to our top providers here.

What You Need: The Kitten Checklist

Your kitten will need some supplies along with the love and attention you'll give them:

  • Adjustable collar with a bell
  • ID tags with kitten's name and your contact information
  • Cat leash and harness for outdoor exploration (yes, you can train your cat to go on walks!)
  • Litter box and tray liner -- if you have more than one cat, buy separate litter boxes for all of them; the type of box you buy (open, closed, automatic, manual) depends on your kitten's preferences, though most cats prefer open, unscented litter boxes
  • Litter scoop
  • Cat litter
  • Kitten food -- ask your shelter and veterinarian for recommendations on what works best for your new kitten, since their nutritional needs change as they get older
  • Small treats that are soft or crunchy
  • Food and water bowl
  • Cat bed and bedding
  • Cat scratchers
  • Cat toys, such as those with features, catnip, or laser pointers
  • Cat trees and perches
  • Blankets
  • Travel crate
  • Pet-safe cleaning supplies such as an enzyme cleaner
  • Brush or comb
  • Nail clippers
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Kitten shampoo,  hypoallergenic and waterless
  • Cat cleaning wipes
  • Flea, tick, and worm treatments

Should I buy pet insurance for my kitten?

Yes! Pet insurance help you cover the costs of expensive procedures, treatments, checkups, and more. The best time to buy pet insurance for the best coverage is when your pets are young and healthy.

What should I do the first few days after I bring my kitten home?

There are some important steps you'll need to take once you bring your kitten home, such as buy the essentials (food, bowls, collar, tags, pet bed, etc), begin litter box training, and make sure they have a vet appointment to get an overall assessment of their health.

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