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Planning on bringing a kitten home? These are the 7 items you ABSOLUTELY need to have for your new arrival.
Hi, proud new kitten owners here. We brought Frodo home from a local rescue center in August. It was SUCH an exciting time, and as an experienced cat owner (we had 4 cats throughout my life in my childhood home)….I knew how important it was to be prepared for our new furry family member.
Adopting a Kitten: What We Did First
We spent quite a bit of time as a family practicing to welcome our new member. We visited a local cat cafe, and practiced how to interact with a new feline friend. In hindsight, I'm so glad we did this….it really helped to to prepare for our own kitten's arrival.
I had a fair amount of experience with cats, and with pet care in general. But my 8 year old? This is her first time having a pet. It was important that we prepared for the cat, and also that my daughter was prepared for what the first few weeks would look like.
The First Night
In fact, even after all that preparation….she still went to bed the first night saying she didn't realize how much work a pet was. Granted, we adopted a VERY young kitten. An older cat would have been a different transitional experience. Either way, I'm glad we were prepared. As Frodo gets older, I can see how comfortable he is in our home and I know we'll thank ourselves for years to come.
Preparing Your Family
Whether you are looking at kittens, adult cats, or an older cat…..you want to prepare your environment and yourself for their transition to their new home. Cats are extremely sensitive, especially when introduced to new surroundings. So my biggest suggestion? Prepare their new environment in advance and have a discussion as a family about what the first day, and the first week will look like.
Bringing a Kitten Home: What You Need at Home
Before you go about bringing a kitten home (from a rescue center or a previous home), you'll want to prepare. This is especially important if you have young children, they'll need to know what to anticipate and how to give a small kitten what it needs as it adjusts to it's new home.
Want to see ALL the supplies we purchased? This is a complete list:
When bringing a new kitten home, you'll want to start them in a small room (they'll discuss this with you upon adoption as well). An entire house can be VERY overwhelming to a small animal, so young kittens tend to do best adjusting to smaller space (like a laundry room or guest bedroom) before adjusting to the rest of the house.
We used our laundry room for Frodo's first few days after coming home from the animal shelter. We visited him in there, played with him, and let him get used to US. After a few days, he was VERY clearly comfortable and trying to get out of the room. Then, we let him explore the rest of the house.
That room was equipped with the basics. We had a cat bed (filled with soft blankets and towels). We also were prepared with food bowls and water bowls that were refilled multiple times a day with fresh water and kitten food. And lastly? A basic litter tray with unscented cat litter and a cat tree.
How to Get More Affordable Pet Supplies
One thing that I didn't remember from pet ownership as a child (ha, probably because I wasn't the one footing the bill)…..was how pricey pet supplies can be. Before we brought our new pet home, I did a little research. I thought it was a good idea to budget out everything first.
What I discovered has made a NICE difference each week. We've been getting all of Frodo's kitten's food and safe toys , cat litter and everything we need for a healthy cat from Walmart. Did you know that they have private brands developed especially for their stores by experts? Vibrant Life and Pure Balance are both made with high quality ingredients and I've been VERY impressed with their prices.
In terms of food, we've found that nutritional needs are met for our new kitty by serving Frodo Pure Balance Kitten Pate. Our vet suggested that until Frodo reaches 6 months of age, that we do ONLY wet food. Once he's grown a bit, we can do two meals of wet food (morning and night) and leave dry food in his bowl midday.
Bringing a Kitten Home: Play and Good Behavior
shop items for play and behavior
One of our biggest priorities when we brought Frodo home was to have a smooth transition (or as smooth as possible). We wanted to have everything we needed to support positive behavior. Kittens have pretty typical behaviors, so it was easy to pinpoint what we needed to have before the first time Frodo came home with us.
Our main four items? A safe place for Frodo to be. A cat tree or scratching post. Kitten appropriate treats for positive reinforcement. Toys for play time.
A Safe Place
Having that quiet area to slowly roll out our introduction process really helped. I've noticed that even after all this time, when there is a new person in the house…..Frodo runs right back to that quiet place where he feels the most comfortable.
A Scratching Place
Scratching furniture (or people) was a huge concern of ours….so we wanted to be prepared for this from the VERY beginning. We got a nice cat tree with a scratching post built in. And trust me, it's gotten PLENTY of use. Vibrant Life from Walmart has some REALLY nice looking options (let's be honest, no one wants an ugly cat tree sitting in the middle of the house).
A Play Place
Kittens LOVE to play. In fact, more behavior issues arise when they (like kids) don't have a way to let out their energy. Our vet suggested a minimum of 3 play sessions a day with a kitten. While we do play with Frodo throughout the day (it helps that I work from home)…..Lydia's responsibility is to do at least two of those play sessions (one in the morning and one in the evening). I've found having cat toys on hand helps. We keep a few wand teaser cat toys on hand (Walmart has the cutest options and they're under $5).
Bringing a Kitten Home: What to Bring With You
shop items for the journey home
Now, to be honest, this is where we fell a bit short when we brought Frodo home. His rescue center satellite location happened to be inside a pet store. So, rookie mistake? We decided to just buy a cat carrier while we were there. Fun fact, most of the time cat carriers aren't assembled. Fast forward to us looking everywhere for a screwdriver to assemble the carrier in the middle of the store. Do no recommend. In hindsight, we should have ordered a cat carrier in advance, and assembled it before the day of our kitten's arrival.
Whether this is your first step into cat ownership or your tenth, I hope that this list of items you need when bringing a kitten home has been helpful! If there are any items that have been a support to you in this process, please leave them in comments so we can all benefit!