At Friendship Veterinary Hospital, we understand it can be overwhelming for anyone to take on the responsibility of caring for a new pet. Here are the top 5 tips from our vets in Fort Walton Beach FL for preparing for your new kitten.
Make sure you have the right equipment
Just like infant children, kittens need a lot of different equipment to keep them safe, healthy and happy. One of the best things that you can do to make sure that you are prepared is to get as many of the things you will need bought in advance of bringing her home. This means that you don’t need to rush out and buy them and can spend more time getting your new kitty settled into your home. Some of the main items that you will need include:
- A bed or folded up blanket to sleep on.
- Food and water bowls.
- A scratching post. Many inexperienced owners think that these are frivolous and unnecessary, but they are essential for keeping her claws in check and to help stop her from scratching your furniture.
- A collar. This should be used in addition to microchipping – more on that later.
- Grooming tools such as a brush and flea comb
- Toys to play with. Popular items include carboard toilet paper tubes, empty shoe boxes, balls of string, corks and table tennis balls.
Another important thing that you will definitely need is a litter box. This is where your kitten will learn to do her business, and hopefully sooner rather than later. However, kittens can be funny about what type of litter box they use. Some prefer enclosed boxes while others like an open space, so they can see everything around them. It may be a case of trial and error to find which works for your kitty. Similarly, you will need to place it in an area of your home that she feels happy with. Most owners find that their cats prefer the litter box to be in a fairly quiet part of the home, but not too far away that it feels isolated. Bathrooms, hallways and utility rooms are popular choices.
Decide what you are going to feed her
As a caring and conscientious owner, you will want to know that you are feeding your new kitten a healthy and nutritious diet. During her first year of her life is when her body grows and develops the most and if she doesn’t get the right nutrients, her growth may be compromised. You may want to speak to the breeder that you are obtaining her from and find out what brand of kitten food she is currently eating. A sudden change from this may not only upset and confuse your new kitty who will already have to get used to a whole new environment, but it could also cause her to experience stomach problems. If you wish to move her on to a different brand, this should be done gradually. Make sure you choose a product that is tailored specifically for her life-stage, s this will ensure she is getting all of the goodness she needs to grow.
Kitten-proof your home
Your kitten will almost certainly view your home as a playground with lots of exciting space, climbing possibilities and toys to explore. However, kittens are extremely inquisitive and have virtually no awareness of danger until they are much older. For this reason, it is important to try and eliminate as many potential risks from your home as you can before you bring your kitty home for the first time. Some of the most common hidden dangers in and around your home include:
- Exposed electrical wires
- Human medications that are left accessible
- Cleaning products and chemicals
- Open toilet bowls and baths and sinks containing water as these are a potential drowning hazard
- Small items that your kitten might choke on
- Open windows that she could fall out of
- Certain plants and flowers including lilies, ivy, avocado plant and dieffenbachia
- Open pools and ponds
- Fertilizer and weed control products
Register your kitten with your Fort Walton Beach vet and schedule her first check-up
Many people mistakenly believe that they will only need to register their new kitty with a vet when she becomes unwell or needs treatment, such as vaccinations. However, it is advisable to do your research and choose a vet ahead of her coming to live with you as this will prevent you from needing to make a rushed and perhaps incorrect decision about your chosen vet if you are under pressure. A first visit within a few weeks of her coming home is also advisable as this enables your vet to give her a full examination and create a ‘base’ for her medical history. Your vet will be able to advise you what preventatives are need, including parasite preventatives, and if she is eating the right food. Your vet will also be able to schedule an appointment to get your kitty spayed/neutered and create a tailored vaccination schedule for her.
Arrange to get her microchipped
Even if you don’t intend on letting her out of the house right away, we recommend that you make an appointment ahead of her arrival to get her microchipped within a few days of bringing her home. Kittens are natural escapists and if your feline manages to get out, you will want to know you have done everything possible to make sure she can be returned to you. Microchipping is widely considered to be a superior form of identification for animals since it cannot be tampered with or fall off. The procedure to implant this harmless piece of technology, which is about the same size as a grain of rice, takes just seconds and once the microchip has been inserted, it should never need replacing. Studies have shown that pets that are microchipped are significantly more likely to be successfully returned to their owner, so boost your kitty’s chances by getting her microchipped as soon as possible.
If you would like more advice on the best ways to prepare for the arrival of your new kitten, please don’t hesitate to contact and get in touch with our experienced vets in Fort Walton Beach FL at Friendship Veterinary Hospital by calling 850-810-0700.