Spring is the perfect time to go to your local shelter and adopt a new kitten. However, being a kitty parent is much harder than falling in love with their little fluffy faces—young cats demand patience, a lot of supplies and even more love. So, if you think you might be out of your depth, here is a guide that will turn you into an amazing cat owner.
Kitten-proof your home
Just like when you’re bringing a child home, you need to baby-proof (or in this case kitten-proof) your home. Try to eliminate all possible hazards like cords, items that can be knocked over and broken, toxic cleaning supplies, pesticides, hanging strings, human food and everything else that can harm a kitten.
Make scratching posts
You can expect that your kitten will ruin your furniture unless you provide them with a place they can scratch as much as they like. Scratching posts come in all sizes and with various attachments and toys (you can even make your own). These will help your cat get some exercise, reduce stress and keep their claws functional. If you get a scratching post and your kitty still prefers to sharpen their claws on your table legs, you can solve this problem with some rope. Wrap the rope around your table or chair legs and let your cat go wild without damaging your possessions.
Protect your precious plants
Cats love to make a nest in plants, so make sure to protect them in advance. Luckily, cats have a pretty bad relationship with pines. For some reason, they will avoid them and leave the place full of pinecones alone. So, put a few in your planter and your plants will be safe.
Opt for high-quality food
In order to keep your kitten healthy, strong and looking snazzy, make sure to provide her with some high-quality cat food. Make sure to offer your cat different sorts of foods to avoid your kitten growing up into a very picky eater. Cats are quite picky when it comes to tastes and textures, but introducing them to a variety of foods when they’re young can help.
Don’t forget about water
Cats often forget to drink water if it’s not right under their noses. This bad habit can cause various health issues in the future, so make sure to provide your kitten with a lot of water. A water fountain is one of the best solutions since it circulates water and ensures it’s always fresh.
Make a kitty toilet
Before your cat arrives, make sure to have a good litter box and plenty of quality litter. The kitty toilet should be placed in a quiet and private part of the home, to prevent distractions (and people tripping over it). Even though cats naturally feel the urge to go in the litter box, make sure to bring the kitten to the box and allow her to feel the litter under her feet. Also, if you have a big home, you can invest in several litter boxes, at least in the beginning. Kittens have small bladders and can have an accident if they can’t find or get to the toilet in time.
Develop healthy grooming habits
If you start grooming your cat when they’re small, they will accept it much better. Make sure to have a grooming brush and claw clippers for keeping nails at bay. One other thing you can start doing from the moment you adopt your cat is to touch their paws. Once they get used to it (and most cats don’t naturally allow having their paws touched) claw trimming will be much easier.
Use online services
Your kitty will need a lot of things: food, treats, toys, litter and many other things. So, if you have a pet shop in the neighborhood, you will find yourself spending a lot of time there. However, there is a much easier option to get cat supplies—online services. There are online pet stores such as Net to Pet that can deliver a wide range of products directly to your doorstep. It will save you a lot of time, plus online prices are often even lower than retail prices.
Make playtime fun
If you want to have a happy and healthy kitten, make sure to keep them well entertained with various cat toys. However, avoid those with small pieces that can be ingested and don’t leave string toys unattended.
Nap time is important
Cats, especially kittens, are big sleepers, so you need to provide them with a cozy place for naps. Again, if you have a big house, getting a few cat lounges is an idea your kitty will love.
As you can see, being a kitten parent isn’t exactly brain surgery, but it does require a lot of patience and a healthy dose of common sense. If you ever get overwhelmed, you can always ask additional advice from local animal shelters and rescue groups who love to help responsible pet owners in need. And don’t forget to cherish every second of your cat’s childhood!