What do you need for a new kitten?

March 22, 2021 6 min read

What do you need for a new kitten?

Bringing home a new kitten is exciting! Many questions run through your head but definitely the most stressful is — What do I need for a new kitten?

I have created a quick and easy checklist for you to use before your bring home your feline friend.

1. Am I ready for a kitten?

Owning a kitten is becoming increasingly popular but it’s important to think through your decision carefully. While cats are very independent creatures, they still require plenty of time, love and care. If you are getting your kitten at 8–10weeks of age then you have a long journey ahead of you. The average lifespan for a cat is 10–15years and some species of cats can live 20+ years old!

2. When can I take my kitten home?

Kittens gradually wean off their mother’s milk and begin to be able to eat solid food from about 8 weeks of age, so this is considered the minimum acceptable age for them to be removed from their mother.

3. Indoor, outdoor or both?

The RSPCA recommends keeping cats exclusively indoors for many reasons, which mostly focus around safety from cars and other dangerous animals. Whichever decision you make, try to implement the living arrangements early on as cats are much more likely to cope if they’ve been trained from a young age. Cats that have always had access to the outdoors can quickly become distressed if suddenly kept indoors, which can lead to behavioural issues.

4. How much sleep is healthy for my kitten?

It’s perfectly normal for kittens to sleep 15–20 hours a day! Remember that your kitten is doing a lot of growing and developing, which means that he or she will need plenty of sleep at night and daytime naps.

5. Do I need to microchip and register my kitten?

Your kitten should already be microchipped before you adopt them. In fact, most states require all pets to be microchipped prior to re-homing by law.

6. Do I need to vaccinate my kitten?

Typical vaccinations for kittens involve 3 injections spaced approximately 4 weeks apart. These usually occur at 8 weeks, 12 weeks and 16 weeks of age, However, this can vary depending on your location and the type of vaccine your vet uses.

7. Worming, flea and tick prevention for kittens?

Kittens should be wormed every 2 weeks until 12 weeks of age. Then, monthly until 6 months of age. After 6 months of age, intestinal worming should be done at least every 3 months.

8. When should I desex my kitten?

Most vets will recommend desexing your kitten at about 5 to 6 months of age, although in some cases kittens can be desexed as early as 8 to 16 weeks depending on the size and breed of the cat. RSPCA Australia supports early age desexing as an effective way to reduce unwanted pregnancies and re-home cats as soon as possible.

9. How do I look after my kitten’s teeth?

Tooth brushing is the best way to help prevent dental disease and reduce the number of trips to the vet for dental procedures. Try to get your kitten used to having their mouth examined and handled from an early age.

10. Is pet insurance worth it?

20 years is a long time! We never want anything to happen to our pets but sometimes traumatic events happen which leaves us paying for it at the vet. There are heaps of options for pet insurance out there these days, and they can be a fantastic way to ease the financial stress of an expensive, unexpected illness or injury such as cat bite abscesses, snake bite or cancer. Just like health insurance for your family, do your research and pick what’s right for you.

11. When do I take my kitten to the vet?

If your kitten appears lethargic, off their food, has vomiting or diarrhoea or you suspect they may have eaten something they shouldn’t have, contact your local vet or after hours emergency centre as soon as possible. In many cases early treatment offers the most successful outcomes. Keep your vet and their recommended after hours service’s phone numbers on the fridge or in your phone so you can access them quickly when you need them.

12. What do I feed my kitten?

As a cat lover and owner, i’ve found that Grain Free kitten and cat food to be the best! Protein is especially important in cat food because, unlike many other animals, protein is a cat’s primary energy source. When you look at the ingredient list on the back of your non-grain free food, you will notice a lot of fillers in the form of rice, corn, wheat or other carbohydrates. Cats are carnivores, requiring up to twice as much protein as dogs of the same size. In the wild, you would find them hunting their prey for protein and they need this protein for lean muscle, strength, and energy and development in kittens.

13. What are the best toys for my kitten?

Our four-legged family members need mental stimulation, daily activities, and exercise, all of which responsible pet parents can provide by choosing the right toys. Interactive toys also provide valuable bonding time with your fur family.

14. Can you toilet train kittens? Which cat litter is best?

Cats naturally value cleanliness so toilet training is usually fairly straightforward. It’s worth asking the breeder or shelter whether your kitten was using a litter tray prior to adoption, as this will allow you to select a litter tray and litter they are already familiar with.

15. Do I need to groom my kitten?

Grooming your new kitten is a great way to spend time and bond with them. It also helps to control shedding, particularly during the warmer months and reduces the development of hairballs. Long haired cats are particular prone to the development of matts which can quickly become painful and difficult to remove, so best stay on top of this!

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