They look very cute – that’s undeniable. But kittens soon grow and are likely to be around for up to 15 years! Have you considered cost, their attention needs, other pets or children, vet care and what you’ll do when you go on holiday? Read our helpful guide for some things to consider before getting a new cat.
What type of kitten should I get?
There are so many breeds of cats that it is important to do your research before you set out with your cash in hand. Varying breeds have different personalities so this needs careful consideration.
Some hair types may exacerbate skin conditions in humans, such as eczema, so the best thing to do, would be approach a reputable breeder, rescue home or the RSPCA who can help you pick the best feline friend for you. It would also be worth contacting cat breed societies for advice.
Consider their background
If the kitten is coming from a rescue centre, they may have had a terrifying experience and may squeal or run away when they are touched. It may take a while for them to trust their new owners and everyone in your home should be made aware of that be sensitive towards the kitten’s needs.
Preparation for their arrival
You will need to ensure you have the following items at a minimum:
•A litter tray
You may need to introduce the pet slowly to other pets, as they may not like that their territory has suddenly been intruded upon.
Is your home ready for pets? It’s likely that a new kitten will be partial to your gorgeous leather suite- so it would be a good idea to buy some cheap throws and hide your best cushions before your new bundle of joy arrives!
Some houseplants such as amaryllis and cyclamen are poisonous to cats – be sure these are out of reach, or better still, removed from your home.
Training your pet
It is likely that your kitten may not have been trained to use a litter tray or a cat flap. You should spend time showing your kitten the tray and encouraging them to use it.
You may also find that cats start to jump up on everything – often in places where you don’t want them to for example, kitchen worktops. You’ll need to put in some ground rules and train your cat not to jump on these surfaces. Firstly, you should try to feed your kitten in a place other than the kitchen, which will help them to understand the kitchen is off- limits.
If this is not possible you could also try putting tin foil on the kitchen surfaces as cats don’t like the feel of this under their feet, and always make sure you clean up any food spillages from the kitchen surfaces.
It is important to plan your cat’s meals carefully to ensure they have a balanced and nutritional diet. Find out what they have been eating before they come to your home and very slowly, transition from this food onto a new food, if you want to change it.
Kitten’s should be fully weaned onto solid foods by the time they are about eight weeks old. They require about four or five small meals a day until they are 6 months old before dropping down to two meals a day after this.
It is easy to overfeed your cat which can cause health problems, so ensure you feed your cat their meals at set times of the day. Leaving the food bowl out all day will encourage cats to become fussy over what they eat when it is mealtime.
Kittens require regular deworming and flea treatment, and annual visits to vets for check-ups. If you think your kitten might be ill, it is always best to consult your local vet to get some advice.
Remember to insure your kitten, to protect yourself from any costly or unexpected veterinary bills.
Who will care for your pet when you are away?
If you don’t have a family member or friend who is willing to look after your kitten, this will mean putting him/her into a boarding cattery. Again, this can be costly, and before trusting a cattery to look after your cat, it is advised that you get a good recommendation on the quality of care they provide from someone with first-hand experience.