Welcoming a kitten into your home is exciting, but doing so also involves responsibilities to ensure your tiny feline friend thrives in their new environment. Our Rustebakke Veterinary Service team wants your kitten to start off on the right paw, and we offer tips to set up your whiskered friend for success.

#1: Kitten-proof your home

Preparing for your kitten starts before you bring them home. Kittens are mischievous chaos creators, and you must ensure your home is safe for your new feline friend. Recommendations include:

  • Remove fragile objects from shelves your kitten can reach.
  • Put away small objects, such as strings, twist ties, hair ties, rubber bands, and board game pieces, to prevent a foreign body ingestion.
  • Check all plants to ensure they are cat-friendly. Lilies are especially toxic to cats.
  • Keep the toilet lid closed.
  • Secure your garbage in a closed container.
  • Ensure your kitten can’t reach your window blind cords.
  • Cover electric cords.
  • Block access to stairs.
  • Properly lock window screens.

#2: Schedule a kitten wellness examination

During their first few months of life, kittens need frequent veterinary care to ensure they receive essential vaccinations and parasite prevention. Soon after bringing home your kitten, schedule a wellness examination with our team so we can meet your new feline friend and establish a good healthcare plan. In addition to administering regular vaccinations, we can offer advice on the following:

  • Nutrition — Kittens need a special diet to meet their nutritional needs, and our team can recommend appropriate kitten food.
  • Dental care — Most pets have dental disease by the time they are 3 years old, and we recommend daily toothbrushing to help prevent complications associated with poor dental hygiene. This is best started during kittenhood.
  • Nail trimming Nail trimming is another important grooming element that is best started when your cat is young, and we can demonstrate how to trim your feline friend’s nails safely.
  • Parasite prevention — Our team recommends year-round parasite prevention to protect your cat from dangerous parasites such as fleas, ticks, heartworms, and intestinal parasites.

#3: Socialize your kitten

Proper socialization helps your kitten grow into a well-adjusted and well-behaved adult cat. In addition, socialization can help prevent behavioral issues. Tips include:

  • Introduce your kitten to new people, environments, and experiences gradually to help them feel confident and comfortable with the situation.
  • Encourage positive interactions with family members, visitors, and other pets in the household to prevent fear or aggression.
  • Provide opportunities for your kitten to explore and engage with different textures, sounds, and stimuli in a safe and controlled manner.
  • If your kitten acts stressed or fearful, remove them from the situation and try again later at a slower pace.

#4: Provide appropriate resources for your kitten

Cats need appropriate resources so they feel secure in their environment. Ensure your home has the following supplies:

  • Scratching posts — Cats need to scratch to stretch their muscles, leave scent messages, and maintain nail health. Provide numerous scratching posts in different orientations and surfaces throughout your home to meet your kitten’s scratching needs. If you don’t, your furniture and curtains will likely suffer.
  • Vertical space — Cats enjoy relaxing and viewing their environment from an elevated position. Clear high shelves and provide your whiskered pal with cat trees to provide them with vertical space.
  • Hiding spots — Even the most cuddly kitten needs a hiding place if they feel stressed or overwhelmed. Provide enclosed cat beds or cardboard boxes so your kitten can escape when necessary.

#5: Ensure your kitten’s litter box setup is acceptable

Kittens typically learn how to use the litter box quickly, but if the setup isn’t to their liking, they may find another place to use the bathroom. Considerations include:

  • Place litter boxes in quiet, low-traffic areas your kitten can easily access.
  • Provide at least one litter box for every cat in your home, plus one extra.
  • Scoop litter boxes at least twice per day and replace the litter once per week.
  • Use unscented, clumpable litter.
  • Ensure litter boxes are large enough for your cat to turn around when in them.

Congratulations on your new feline friend! Our Rustebakke Veterinary Service team can’t wait to meet your kitten, so contact us today to schedule a kitten wellness examination.