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New Kitten Checklist: 9 Must-Haves And Other Essentials

We dare you to go to your local animal shelter during kitten season and not come home with an adorable little furball (or two) to call your own.

If you're thinking about getting a new kitten, try to avoid an impulse adoption before you have a chance to buy some basic supplies, kitten-proof your house, and check with all other members of the household that a new pet would be a welcome addition.

Here's a handy new kitten shopping list to take with you to the store when you pick up your new kitten supplies!

Checklist Essentials

So you've taken the first steps toward pet parenthood. You've done your research, browsed through kitten photos, and finally decided on a new feline companion. But before you can officially welcome your little furball into your home, there are a few things that you must do to prepare. Don't let this checklist overwhelm you; we're here to help you make sense of it all.

1. Food And Water Bowls

Experts recommend choosing stainless steel or glass over ceramic and plastic. Plastic and many ceramics are porous and can trap bacteria (especially in those scratches you tend to get with plastic bowls).

Cats can be prone to chin acne, and dirty bowls are a prime culprit. Make sure you run your bowls through the dishwasher every day to get them as clean as possible. Consider getting your new furry friend some cat treats too!

Alternatively, you can look for some automatic feeder that would help you set up some sort of feeding schedule for your cats.

2. Appropriate Dry And Wet Kitten Food

Gray kitten eating from a red bowl

Talk to your vet about recommended brands and the pros and cons of dry vs. wet food. Many cat nutrition experts encourage feeding kittens nutritious wet and dry cat foods . . . but if your kitten grows up to be a little on the chunky side, you might want to cut back on dry food later on.

You might want to consider looking for cat treats with catnip, too, so you can spoil your feline friend from time to time. Make sure to always keep your kitten healthy!

3. Litter Box Essentials

What type of kitten litter and litter box is best for your new cat? There are many choices out there, including traditional clay, non-clumping formulas, and eco-friendly litter made from things like grains or wood shavings.

Cats tend to prefer the fine texture of clumping cat litter in litter boxes, but wait until your kitten gets a little older because there is some risk of ingestion with this type.

4. Kitten-Friendly Toothbrush And Toothpaste

Start getting your kitten used to toothbrushing every few days. Be sure to use toothpaste and a small toothbrush made for cats. Many come in a set and also include a fingertip-style toothbrush if you prefer using that.

Like people, some kittens just grow up to be adult cats with bad teeth and gums, so start the toothbrushing routine early.

5. Grooming Essentials

Like toothbrushing, you can get your fur baby used to regular claw trimmings if you start them out young. Sometimes it helps to have another person to hold the kitten while you do the trimming. Look for little scissor-like tools with a hole cut out in the blades to insert the nail.

Whether you choose a comb or brush depends on your cat's fur. While slicker brushes are fine for shorthaired cats, many groomers like good-quality steel combs for longhaired cats.

6. Scratching Post

The combination of regular nail trimmings and providing your kitten with a good quality scratching post will go a long way towards saving your furniture. Avoid posts that are covered with carpet and go for the ones covered with sisal or other similarly rough material. In nature, cats look to very rough surfaces like tree bark to scratch on, so be sure to provide your kitten with the right post.

7. Toys And Treats

Orange kitten playing with feather toy indoors

Kittens love to play with almost anything, so buying toys is easy. Look for ethical cat toys your pet can entertain themselves with when you are away, as well as interactive toys you can play with together.

Try wand toys, ping pong balls, mice, larger plush toys they can grab and kick, and puzzle-type toys to keep your kitten engaged. Stick to all-natural treats like freeze-dried chicken or salmon and avoid highly processed, high-calorie supermarket-type treats.

8. First Aid Kid And Pet-Friendly Mess Cleaners

You can buy a ready-made pet first aid kit or make up your own. A basic cat first aid kit should include things like gauze pads and rolls, adhesive tape, antiseptic wipes, cotton swabs, hydrogen peroxide, rubber gloves, scissors, saline solution, and tweezers.

Clean up kitten messes with pet-safe cleaning products from the store or homemade ones using vinegar or baking soda.

9. A Durable Carrier

Getting a carrier isn't just about making sure your little furball is safe and sound on car rides. It's also about making sure they don't go renegade and run away when you reach your destination.

So, what should you look for? A spacious carrier that's both sturdy and light. And while it may be tempting to "go big" when shopping for the perfect cat carrier, remember that the larger it is, the heavier it'll be to carry around. Unless you plan on using a wagon to lug your cat around, you'll want to keep things light!

Finally, make sure the carrier has proper ventilation and an easy-to-open door—it'd be inconvenient if your cat managed to escape every time you opened the carrier door! We don't want any fugitive cats running around now, do we?

Ensuring You're Buying High-Quality Cat Products

Because all we want is the best for our furbabies, here are a few tips for finding high-quality, safe products for your new pet:

Read Reviews

Always check reviews before buying! This can help you understand what other customers think of the product. Plus, it's an easy way to spot any product flaws or questionable ingredients.

Ask Questions

Don't be afraid to ask the store clerk or manufacturer questions about their products. After all, your kitten's health and happiness depend on it!

Research Brands & Ingredients

Do some research on the brands and the ingredients of their products. That way, you can make sure that they don't contain any unnecessary fillers or preservatives that could harm your kitten's health.

Finding A Vet

Kitten on the arm of a vet

The next step on your kitten checklist? Finding a veterinarian! Adopting a new furry friend is an exciting moment, but don't forget about the most important part—kitten healthcare.

Your new cat needs vaccines and parasite checks, so make sure you get them veterinary care as soon as you can. It's important to find a vet who's knowledgeable and experienced in feline health. After all, kitties don't usually enjoy a trip to the veterinarian, so you want to make sure it's with someone they can trust—and who you can trust too!

Invest In Pet Insurance

Pet insurance—it's like a safety net tailored to your little one's every need. From vet bills to medical expenses, it'll give you a sense of security that your furry pal is taken care of. Sure, you may already have a first aid kit at home, but nothing beats a good pet insurance policy.

Plus, the reassurance that if something does happen to your little furball, you won't be out of pocket for all their treatment costs will bring much-needed peace of mind.

How To Kitten-Proof Your Home

When you think of bringing a new kitten home, you might imagine nothing but warm, fuzzy cuddles and impossibly cute poses. But the truth is that getting a kitten means more than just that—you'll also need to prepare your home so it's safe and sound for your new little furry friend.

Here are some quick tips to keep your home in tip-top shape for when your kitten moves in:

  1. Secure windows and doors – Keep all screens secure and look for areas where kittens can climb out of the house through open windows or sliding glass doors.

  2. Ensure electrical cords are secure – Kittens love chewing on cords, so keep them by tying them down or encasing them in a heavy-duty protective material.

  3. Remove potential hazards – Things like small objects and plants should be kept out of reach as these can cause choking if swallowed by a curious kitty.

  4. Install locks – Cabinet locks deter snooping cats, who will surely find all sorts of trouble with household items like cleaning supplies and medications.

  5. Set up escape routes – Prepare places where kittens can escape when they feel scared or threatened; this could include kennels, litter boxes, or other designated hideouts.

Once you've taken care of all these tips, you'll be ready to welcome your new kitty into the household with open arms—safely!

New Kitten Checklist FAQs

Is pet insurance worth it for cats?

The short answer is yes! Like humans, cats can get sick or hurt, requiring costly vet fees. Pet insurance helps alleviate any worries and protects lump sum payments in case of emergency.

How can I prepare for a new kitten?

We recommend setting up the basics, like food, water bowls, and litter boxes, before bringing them home so they feel comfortable from day one. And don't forget about toys—creature comforts like cat trees, scratching posts, and plenty of cozy places to hide can go a long way in making them feel secure.

Additionally, consider getting an outdoor cat enclosure or installing an indoor window catio for your pet so they have the option to play outside!

Where should a kitten sleep on the first night?

It's important that your new feline pal feels safe and secure when settling into their new home. Cat beds or a cardboard box (with lots of cozy blankets) in quiet areas of your house make excellent spots to relax after all that excitement during the day.

Easily distracted by cats? Embrace your inner feline & shop our entire cat collection - 25% of all proceeds go directly to no-kill animal shelters!

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