10 Things You Ought to Know as a First Time Kitten Owner

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    They’re cute, cuddly, and oh-so adorable: kittens! According to the World Animal Foundation, over 400 million cats are living in countries across the globe.

    If you’re a first time kitten owner, there are many things to learn about these fascinating animals and their care.

    Read on for a list of 10 things every kitten owner should know, so you can provide your furry family member with the best, happiest life possible.

    1. Prepare Your Home for Your New Arrival

    As a first time kitten owner, it’s crucial to prep your home before your brand-new ball of fluff arrives. Start by making sure you have all hazardous items like household cleaners and medications completely secured in a locked cabinet.

    Next, look for anything that little kittens could swallow or chew on. In other words, clean up the clutter and make sure that everything on the floor is either put away or out of reach.

    It’s also important to make sure that no toxic houseplants are in your home. Many plants are deadly to cats, so click here to find out which ones you should remove before your bundle of joy gets home.

    2. Find a Reliable Vet

    An essential part of cat health is having access to a trustworthy and reliable veterinarian. If you don’t already have a vet that you use, now is the time to set up an account with one in your area so you’ll be able to have cat vet visits as needed.

    Ask family and friends if they have a vet they recommend, or you can go online and read customer reviews. Take some time to research the vets in your area until you find one you’re comfortable with. Once you establish which veterinarian you’ll use, keep their emergency phone number handy just in case you may need it in the future. 

    3. First Time Kitten Owner Food Recommendations

    Kittens have special dietary needs, so it’s important to make sure that you stock up on healthy, nutritionally balanced cat food. Make sure the food is labeled for kittens specifically and not for full-grown cats. New kittens need more calories and have different nutritional needs. 

    It’s a good idea to purchase several different brands and flavors at first, so you can figure out which one your kitten will like best. Cats are quite picky eaters, so there may be some trial and error before you find the perfect fit. 

    Mix things up by serving your new kitten a combination of wet and dry food. Some vets have found that changing foods often at an early age may prevent your feline from being picky later in life. Make sure you’re aware of when your kitten should transition from kitten to adult cat food, too.

    4. Make Water Readily Available

    Cats get most of their water from the food they eat, but hydration is very important. Even if your new kitty loves wet food, you should always make sure that fresh water is easily accessible. This is particularly crucial for cats that prefer dry food.

    Some cats prefer to drink from running water, much like their ancestors did when they drank from rivers and streams. Consider getting a cat water fountain which may encourage your kitten to drink more water. Keep your cat’s water fountains and water bowls clean and filled with fresh water daily.

    Adequate water intake helps cats process their food more efficiently, and it also aids in digestion. Drinking enough water also helps to prevent possible kidney issues later in life. 

    5. Grab Some Litter Boxes

    Unlike puppies who need intense potty training, most kittens will naturally gravitate to their litter box when they need to go potty. Place at least two litter boxes in different areas of your home away from the kitten’s food and water.

    You can use clumping clay litter, pellets, or even shredded newspaper for litter. Put the boxes in a quiet area away from noise, since most cats prefer to use the bathroom somewhere safe and private.

    Always scoop your kitten’s litter box daily to keep it clean. Not only can this help to prevent disease, but most cats (just like us humans) prefer to use a clean litter box versus one that’s filled with poop and pee.

    6. Grab a Scratching Post

    Kittens (and cats) have an innate desire to scratch. Before your bundle of joy comes home, make sure you invest in at least one good scratching post. A cat tree with a scratching post gives your little one a place to hide, scratch, and perch.

    Not only will having at least one scratching post protect your furniture as a first time kitten owner, but it will also allow your kitten to release pent-up energy. Scratching is a natural part of normal cat behavior and cat grooming since it keeps their nails trimmed. It can also help to relieve things like stress and boredom, so giving your pet an outlet helps everyone live together in harmony.

    If you still have issues with scratching, you can add special furniture protectors to the corners and sides of your chairs and sofas. However, most cats will learn to gravitate to their scratching post with a bit of redirection. 

    7. Provide a Soft and Comfy Bed

    Although your new kitten will likely lounge anywhere (including on top of your pile of dirty clothes), they should have access to a soft, warm bed. You can also place more than one bed in different areas throughout the house.

    Teach your kitten to try and lie down on its bed rather than on furniture if possible to reduce pet hair and scratches. Of course, letting your kitten sleep with you is a great form of bonding and positive reinforcement.

    There are tons of adorable, soft kitten beds available so have fun shopping for different colors and styles. Ultimately, the most important thing is that your little kitten feels safe and comfortable in their new home.

    8. Grab Tons of Fun Toys

    Kittens are little balls of energy, so you’ll definitely want to make sure they have plenty of toys to play with. Not only do toys help kittens get exercise, but it also helps them practice their hunting instincts.

    Make sure your kitten’s toys don’t have any tiny pieces that can break off and be swallowed. And, put any toys away that could be dangerous to tiny kittens whenever you’re not at home. 

    Toys with string are dangerous to cats since they can easily digest it, causing a potentially deadly intestinal blockage. Try to stick with toys like small balls and “kicker” toys instead.

    9. Focus on Proper Training Techniques

    While cats aren’t quite as trainable as dogs, both animals need positive reinforcement if you want them to listen to commands. One way you can train your kitten is to reward them with healthy treats whenever they do something good or listen to you.

    A stern “no” is perfectly fine if you need to correct your kitten’s behavior. However, using tactics like spraying your cat with a water bottle is usually not recommended if you want to see behavioral changes.

    Your kitten might associate the negative experience of being sprayed with you, causing a rift in your relationship. Instead, focus on those rewards and positive reinforcement as much and as often as possible to improve and maintain your special bond.

    If you don’t want your kitten jumping on things like the kitchen counters, there are some things you can do. Try placing small balls of aluminum foil or some stick tape on them to deter your kitten, and eventually, they’ll learn that the area is off-limits. 

    10. Work on Handling and Socialization

    Having a new kitten is nice, but many cats do better with at least one other cat in the home. If you can’t have more than one cat at a time, make sure you hold and play with your new kitten as often as possible. The more your kitten interacts with different animals and humans, the gentler they’ll be as they get older. 

    Not only does regular handling help with things like taking your cat to the groomer or vet, but it’s also great for socialization. Then, if you ever happen to get another pet later, your cat will be able to live with them much more harmoniously in the future.

    Pet your kitten and hold them in as many different positions as you can as often as possible. Gently touch their ears and paws to help make things like brushing and nail trimming easier for them, and you.

    Love Your New Kitten for Life

    Keep these tips for a first time kitten owner in mind so that you’re both connected throughout this new journey. With the right tools and some patience, your new kitten will quickly become an integral part of your family and your home.

    At Pet Marvelous, we’re here to make sure that kitten care (and other pet care) is as easy as possible. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any pet care questions you may have or to find out more about us.

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