The Most Important Thing to Have When Bringing Home a Kitten


The holidays are a popular time when people adopt and bring home a new pet.  Getting a new kitten is exciting, but there are some things you will need to have before your new kitten comes home.

kitten in basketNote: Kittens need to stay with their mother until they are 10 weeks old or older. It’s important for kittens to spend this time with their mom to interact with siblings and mom. Kittens will experience extreme separation anxiety if they are taken from their mother too soon. She might be frightened or skittish around people and other animals. They might try to scratch, bite or run away from people.

Dr. Kathryn Primm, owner of Applebrook Animal Hospital in Ooltewah, TN, has some great advice: “Avoid toys that are covered in animal fur (she has has surgically removed a few of those toys from cats). Make sure you have the time to devote to the kitten every day to burn down his energy and help him be calm and sleep well.

I guess the most important thing to have ready for your new kitten is your expectation of what life will be like.

He is going to be rowdy, playful and somewhat nocturnal! He will jump and climb to places you never thought. Put away all fragile items (I had ceramic candle stands in my window once….) but be ready to laugh at his antics”.

When your kitten does arrive she will still be a little unsure of her surroundings, and she will most certainly miss her mother and siblings. Make the transition smooth and comfortable for her.

Things You Need For Your Kitten

Cat Carrier: You will need a carrier to take her home in, and to use when taking her to the veterinarian.

Food and Water Dish: Make sure they are low enough for your little kitten. Stainless steel or porcelain is preferred as plastic can be harmful to their oral health.

Cat Litter Box, Litter, Scoop: Remember your tiny kitten will grow, so get a large litter box. You will also need litter and a scoop.

Cat Blankets: Kittens and cats tend to love blankets, and you can find some made just for them at your local pet store.

Cat Bed: She’s going to need a place to sleep, and where better than in her very own bed?

Wet and Dry Food: Ask the person or place you are getting the kitten from what kind of wet and dry food she has been eating. You need to get the same brand and kind of food she’s already used to and likes. She may not be eating dry food yet, so ask if she is.

Treats: Good quality treats are a kitten’s best friend. Use these to praise her, but stick to no more than two to four a day. Don’t forget the catnip.

A Variety of Cat Toys: Kittens need toys. Grab a stick with a feather or ribbons on the end of it, some mice that crinkle, toys with catnip, balls with bells inside them, and anything else you find interesting. Make sure you have some toys that you can use to play with her. The sticks with ribbons or feathers on the end are great for playtime.

Scratching Post: To avoid having your furniture and carpet scratched up you will need a scratching post. Sprinkle a good amount of catnip on it so she’s attracted to it. When you see her scratching anything but the post go pick her up and put her paws on the scratching post. She’ll get the hint in no time.

Cat Toothbrush and Toothpaste: Cats need their teeth and gums taken care of, and it’s much easier to start brushing her teeth as a kitten than it is when she’s all grown up. Don’t use your own toothpaste as that will be toxic to a kitten. You can find toothbrushes and toothpaste made for kittens at your local pet store.

A Veterinarian: This is extremely important. Choose a veterinarian you are comfortable with, and that isn’t too far from your home. Make an appointment for your kitten’s first well check. If she’s coming from a place where she has already seen a vet bring the paperwork with you.

Grooming Brush: Kittens need to be groomed. Choose a comb or brush that is specifically made for kittens, not adult cats.

Place your kitten’s food and water dishes and litter box where you want them to be forever. She won’t like it if you move any of these after she’s been there. Choose now. Have food, water and the litter box ready for her before she arrives. Spend some time getting to know each other and enjoy your new kitten.

Photo: Thinkstock

Are you planning on adopting a kitten?

Nicky LaMarco has been a freelance writer since 2001. Nicky is an experienced ghostwriter and copywriter. She also writes for a variety of magazines. Nicky lives in Maine with her husband, two daughters, and two cats. Learn more about her at