Animal Friends Blog
So, you have decided to introduce a new family member into your home! It is a wonderfully exciting and joyful time, and the next few months will be full of furry, chaotic fun as you get to watch your kitten grow up into a regal and majestic miniature lion (trust us when we say it happens extremely fast – so get a tonne of photographs and videos to record long-lasting memories).
We’ve come up with some tips for you if you have never owned a kitten before. There are a few things to be mindful of and prepare around your home to kitten-proof it before letting him/her roam free.
Here are our top tips to help make your new friend settle in safely.
Make your preparations prior to the big day
With all the excitement of your new arrival, the new routines, the inevitable cleaning up and everything else going on – there is going to be virtually no time to go out shopping or trying to prepare the house once they are there.
Make sure you have acquired all the supplies and equipment you need (see below), made any necessary changes to your house, and got all your planning done before your new feline friend arrives – it will make a huge difference and allow you to make the most of your first few days with the minimum of stress.
Another thing to consider early on is if you want pet insurance for your new arrival.
It’s worth doing a little investigation in advance into what type of policy would best suit your kitten as well as what level of cover you’d want or need. Get some quotes and compare the levels of cover, you might be quite surprised just how affordable it can be for the protection it provides.
You will also want to look at the main benefits and exclusions a policy may have to make sure you would receive the cover you’re expecting or want.
Here at Animal Friends, we offer 4 different policy types with 12 different levels of cover available. So, whether you would want Accident Only, Time Limited, Max Benefit or Lifetime cover, don’t forget you can get a quote before you bring your kitten home, but you won’t be able to set up a policy until you get your new pal.
Get the right supplies and equipment
One of your tasks when getting your house ready means preparing their environment and stocking up on any supplies you may need, to ensure you are not caught short and in need of a pet store visit.
- Litter tray & lots of kitty litter
- Scratching post
- Kitten food
- Bowls for food and water
- Toys, lots and lots of toys
- Cat carrier for the car (legal requirement)
Close all the exits
Even if he/she is an indoor or cat or outdoor cat, make sure windows and doors are kept secure for the first two-three weeks. Your kitten will need time to settle into a new environment and adjust to new smells before they are let outside.
Shut the cupboards and secure harmful substances
Keep cupboards securely shut – it’s amazing the small spaces where your kitten can crawl into! This also ensures harmful substances are kept locked away.
During the winter months especially, please be careful where you keep anti-freeze, as the smell is very appealing to cats but can be fatally toxic if ingested.
Remove choking hazards
Watch out for trailing wires and anything small lying around that could become a choking hazard – for example, hair ties, rubber bands, even used tissues (felines can be very strange…)
There are certain houseplants and garden plants which are poisonous to cats. Some of the common ones found in your house and garden include lilies, chrysanthemum, ivy, ferns, azaleas, tulips and poinsettia.
Reduce noise levels
Be mindful of the noise levels when bringing lots of people or young children into your home during the settling in period, as this could be overwhelming for your kitten. Have a designated room during this time which is off limits to kids and other pets.
Be mindful of the litter box location
Keep your kitten’s litter box in a quiet area, in a place which is always open and accessible. If you have small children, ensure they are not going to interfere with the litterbox – as the consequences will usually be pretty unpleasant!
Be careful of strong smells
Don’t spray aerosols or strong fragrances near their food, water bowl or litter tray.
Be very mindful of small spaces
Kittens love small, enclosed spaces. When they first arrive, they will be timid and, in some cases, will be unwilling to come out of the cat carrier for up to an hour. Have a cardboard box lined with soft blankets and toys (this will also help them become familiar with your scent).
But also, be aware that this same love of enclosed spaces can expose a kitten to danger – either getting stuck somewhere or finding their way into a hazardous location (eg. washing machine) with traumatic or potentially fatal consequences. Think about the various places a kitten could explore and get into trouble, and if needs be take the appropriate action to block access to those locations.
Lots of attention
Some kittens require frequent attention, and it’s important for them to keep active and healthy. Play with your cat daily and if you are at work during the day, have a shop around for interactive toys that will provide endless hours of fun until you return home.
Kitten claws are SHARP. Make sure to invest in a heavy-duty, rough scratch post, to help keep their claws worn down and prevent possible snagging. To entice him/her to use it more often, why not spray on some catnip?
The danger of milk
No milk! It may be seen as traditional to see a cat drinking cowls milk from a bowl, but this can, in fact, be very harmful to young kittens. Stick to fresh, clean water which is topped up every day.
Choose a vet & register your kitten
It’s a good idea to speak to your local vets and get your kitten registered. You can do very early on and that means they can talk you through any appointments you will need, such as vaccinations etc.
Patience is a virtue
And finally, remember to be patient – it will take time for him/her to get used to his or her new surroundings. They may be timid/hide to start with, sometimes for up to a few weeks. Try not to force them into coming out from their safe spaces – let them take it slowly and explore by themselves.
We have a range of pet insurance policies to suit your needsGet a quote
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