Your new kitten will need a few supplies before you bring them home – like a bed, food and water bowls, a collar and at least one litter tray. Having these ready will mean your kitten can settle in to their new home straight away.
An ID tag is essential for quick identification of your kitten. You can record your cat’s name, address and phone number, or the number of your vet for emergencies. ID tags are inexpensive and come in a variety of shapes and sizes. You can order one from your vet.
Microchipping is recommended for permanent identification, and may be required depending on where you live.
There is a wide range of stretch, velvet, suede, leather and nylon collars available for your cat in many colours and patterns, with and without bells. The main thing is to pick a collar that has an elastic section so your cat can slip out of the collar if it gets hooked on something, or even better are collars with clasps that snap open under the cat’s weight. The collar should fit snuggly – you should be able to place 2 fingers between the cat’s neck and the collar.
Lead or harness
Some cats enjoy going for a walk, especially if you train them early. Matching collars and leads are available, or your cat may prefer a harness.
Food and water bowls
You can choose from plastic, stainless steel and ceramic dishes. Shallow ones are best as you should discard any uneaten food and dishes need to be cleaned regularly. Heavier bowls can’t be tipped over. If you choose plastic bowls, replace when they become scratched or chewed as bacteria can build up in the grooves.
Litter trays are usually made from plastic and can either be open, or have a hood to offer your kitten privacy. Clean litter trays regularly and if you have several kittens, you need one for each, plus a spare.
There are many types of litter, including clay, clumping, recycled newspaper, plant material or silica-based. You may need to experiment to see which is most suitable for both you and your cat. Recycled newspaper and plant-based litters double as garden mulch after use (minus the solid waste), are relatively dust-free avoiding respiratory problems and safer than other litter varieties if ingested.
Cage or carrier
A cat cage or carrier is essential for transporting your cat in the car or to your vet. There are many to choose from, mostly plastic or wire and plastic, and can open from the top or one end. You can also buy zippered cat bags if you prefer. Airline approved cages are required for plane travel.
Most kittens love to sleep on something soft, maybe just an old pillow or blanket (as long as they are washable). You can also buy cat baskets with soft foam or fluffy material inserts, futon-like mattresses, foam beds and cubbies that your cat can curl up in. Place your kitten’s bed somewhere safe and warm, with it’s food and water bowls and litter tray not too far away.
Scratchers are essential to keep those claws exercised in the right place! Some are a simple pole and base; others have platforms and hanging toys. The main thing is the covering, preferably carpet, sisal or a loosely woven fabric that your cat can get their claws into.
Provide a variety of toys to keep your kitten stimulated. There is an endless choice; from fur mice and rats, hanging toys, swat toys on sticks, rolling toys, toys that you can hide treats in, to mechanical toys.
Cats and kittens loved to be groomed. You can use a soft brush, a comb or a rubber grooming tool with rubber teeth (for a gentle massage). You may want a pair of nail clippers to keep the claws trimmed (get your vet to show you how) and you can brush your cat’s teeth to prevent dental disease – special toothbrushes and toothpaste are available.
- Container for food storage
- Hair pickup device for clothing and furniture, especially if you have a long-haired cat
- Odour neutraliser spray for little accidents
- Sunscreen is a must for summer if your cat is white-haired or hairless