5 Steps to Kitten Success

Adopting a kitten can be an exciting experience for everyone—humans and pets—and some careful planning can make all the difference between a smooth transition and a cat-astrophe. If you are planning to bring home a tiny feline friend, check out our Woodinville Veterinary Hospital and Mobile Service team’s five steps to kitten success.

#1: Kitten-specific shopping list

Ensure you have all your kitten supplies before bringing home your itty-bitty kitty. Having everything you need before you need it enables you to focus on your kitten, and helps you both transition more easily. Before bringing home your kitten, ensure you have these essentials:

  • Crate for home use
  • Cozy bed
  • Food and water bowls
  • Hard-sided travel carrier
  • Low-sided litter box
  • Non-clumping litter
  • Adjustable breakaway collar
  • Identification tag
  • Kitten food 
  • Scratching post or pad
  • Various toys (e.g., balls, stuffed animals, interactive wand toys, food puzzles, motorized mice)
  • Grooming supplies (e.g., nail trimmer, brush, comb for longhaired kittens)
  • Enzymatic cleaner for accidents outside the litter box

Great, now all that’s missing is your kitten! But not so fast—you have one more task to complete before you welcome home your tiny furry treasure.

#2: Kitten-proof your home

Kittens learn by exploring their environment and expressing natural behaviors such as scratching, climbing, pouncing, and biting. In short, prepare your home for your kitten’s arrival—or the results could be cat-astrophic. 

Determine where your kitten will initially be spending most of their time. A confined— but centrally located—area (e.g., a small room, an enclosed playpen or cage) is best. If you have a multi-cat home, plan for a more gradual introduction process. Check out this American Association of Feline Practitioners step-by-step cat introduction guide for additional helpful hints. After deciding on your kitten’s introductory living area, identify and remove any potential hazards, including:

  • Electrical cords
  • Breakable items
  • Valuables
  • Small items your kitten may chew or swallow
  • Curtains or blinds
  • Trash
  • Pet-toxic plants

Be sure to observe the introductory space from your kitten’s view—on your hands and knees—to detect potential hazards. Ensure you provide your kitten with various toys and a scratching post to redirect biting, chewing, and scratching away from furniture, drapes, and carpeting. To prevent your kitten from escaping their new home’s safety, secure your windows and doors. In addition, stabilize cabinets so your tiny fragile feline cannot tip them, trapping—possibly crushing—themselves beneath. Also, lock cabinets to prevent your kitten from accessing a potentially dangerous item. 

#3: Taming the beast—train your kitten

Yes, you can train your feline friend! Kittens are keenly intelligent and eager to learn. Kittenhood is the best time to teach your tiny furry feline to eliminate in the litter box, come when called, or stay off the furniture. Using a clicker and some treats can help you teach your kitty additional skills such as come, nose touch, and name recognition. Check out this p-awesome kitten clicker training article.

Cat training definitely requires you to think outside the box. You are likely unaware that you have already learned one important teaching method—environmental arrangement. By controlling and manipulating certain components in your kitten’s space, they cannot—or would find it extremely difficult—to make a bad choice. Successful kitten-proofing reduces your tiny furry feline’s ability to practice bad or dangerous behavior, and makes doing the right thing (e.g., scratching a sisal post rather than the couch leg, or eliminating in the conveniently located litter box) easy. 

#4: Take meow-t: socialize your kitten

Puppies do not have a monopoly on socialization. Properly socialized kittens are less likely to experience fear-related reactions to common life events such as travel, boarding, and veterinary care. Well-adjusted cats are generally healthier and less susceptible to stress-related disorders such as feline idiopathic cystitis (FIC). Gradually expose your kitten to new experiences each day, including:

  • Subtle environmental changes (e.g., a new cardboard box, play tunnel, or stuffed animal, or cat grass)
  • Grooming and handling 
  • Tooth brushing
  • Household noises
  • Crate training
  • Car travel 
  • Pet-savvy friends, including adults and children 

#5: Purr-fect health—your kitten’s veterinary care

Your kitten’s early veterinary care establishes a foundation for lifelong health. Only your veterinarian can address and prevent your kitten’s present and future health risks, including infectious viruses and parasites. Each kitten visit includes vaccinations to educate your kitten’s immune system and protect them from disease, a thorough exam to ensure they are growing and developing properly, and a parasite check to detect intestinal and external parasites—some of which can infect humans. These early visits are also a great time to learn about your kitten’s nutrition, behavior, health, and parasite prevention. Our veterinary team is pleased to offer you personalized guidance regarding your one-and-only kitty’s wellbeing and health maintenance.

Our veterinary team recommends having your kitten spayed or neutered before they reach 5 months of age. In addition to preventing unwanted litters, reproductive cancers, and hormone-related behavior issues (e.g., fighting, roaming), spaying or neutering is the most effective way to ensure your cat lives a long and healthy life. 

Your kitten won’t be tiny for long, so treasure these adorably mischievous moments while they last by beginning each day with a good dose of patience and a strong sense of humor. However, if you have been experiencing cat-astrophes, contact our Woodinville Veterinary Hospital and Mobile Services team—your kitten care experts.

By |2024-02-15T00:00:19+00:00March 1st, 2023|Uncategorized|0 Comments

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