One of our most frequently asked questions this week was about how to properly care for newly adopted kittens. We asked our coworker, Lindsay, to make a list of things she finds important when adopting new kittens, and she came up with a fantastic list that we want to share with you today.
Top 10 Tips When Adopting New Kittens
- Kitten proof the house/room they will be kept in. Remove any dangerous objects (such as toxic plants, wires, hair elastics, blind cords, string, etc). Plug exposed outlets, hide or buy covers for wires and cords. Close toilet bowls at all times, secure window screens (it’s easy for them to bust through them). These are all hazards (strangulation, drowning, poisoning, choking, obstructions, electrocution) that can potentially cause fatal accidents. Kittens are just like babies and need a safe space to play and explore. They are curious by nature and WILL get into everything, so all of these things are important.
- Remove any chemicals and securely store them. This includes bleach, household cleaners, essential oils, detergents, perfume, etc. Kittens are curious and getting into toxic chemicals isn’t good.
- Get appropriately sized litter boxes and litter. Boxes should be about twice their size and you may have to try different types of litter to see which one your kitten likes best. Be very careful with clumping clay litter and stay away from dusty or scented litters.
- Start them off right with a species appropriate diet. Kittens are the easiest to get on a healthy diet. Feeding them a gently cooked or balanced raw diet will ensure a happier, healthier life!
- Get them lots of toys and play with them daily! The more variety in toys, the better. (Wands, tunnels, little ones to bat around, etc). Make sure to include an evening play session to get them on a good routine of being tired and sleeping at night (instead of waking you up)!
- Scratching post/posts and cardboard scratchers. Kittens need to scratch and (hopefully) learn not to scratch your furniture.
- Give them fluffy blankets or beds. Many kittens are weaned too early and like to sooth themselves by suckling. Find a safe and comforting replacement if so.
- Don’t vaccinate too early or give unnecessary medications. Many shelters will vaccinate, deworm and spay/neuter kittens at only weeks of age. This sets them up for illness at about 1-2 years of age because their gut was destroyed before it had the chance to fully develop. If you’re adopting new kittens that haven’t been through this, wait until 6 months of age and only vaccinate or deworm if necessary.
- Get them a good sturdy carrier and leave it out so they get used to it. Put blankets or toys inside and they may even sleep in it. This gets them used to the carrier that they’ll be riding in to vet visits, etc.
- If you have young kids, teach them how to be gentle with the new kitten(s). Always supervise them until they learn!