Having a new kitten in the house is a bit like having a new baby - exciting, heart-warming, and a little tiring at times. They are curious about everything, interested in exploring every inch of the house and a little bit of a liability. So it pays to kitten-proof the house first and here are some tips.
Kittens and puppies have an amazing ability to get into everything and kittens have their small size to make them even more mischievous. Up the chimney, into a hole in the floorboards, into a disused pipe, all of these are real stories of where kittens have found themselves stuck. So kitten proofing starts with looking for all those little crevices that kittens can jam into - plug those holes to stop the them squeezing in, pop a grate over the fireplace to stop adventures up the chimney and make sure doors shut.
Look at the items lying around the house as well. Kittens might easily grab a razor, kitchen cleaning products, scissors, needles and even pens and cause themselves a serious injury. Check that the house plants they can access are safe too because some plants are toxic to cats. Make sure electrical wires are covered and cords are out of reach.
Once the safety aspect has been covered, you can look at a fun area - what items will your new arrival want to help them settle into their new home. The breed of the kitten may give you some guidance, though there are no hard and fast rules. Some kittens are relaxed and adaptable while others are uptight and nervous. So be ready for all variations.
Hiding places are vital for a new kitten as this allows them to feel safe and study their new environment. This can be anything from under or behind the sofa to a cardboard box with a hole in or even a cat cube. Even a pile of blankets in a corner can allow them to feel hidden and safe. Make them a spot in the quietest part of the house where their food, water and cat bed is to allow them to retreat there when they get scared and even put a little box nearby to help stop accidents.
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Here is a checklist of the items you will need before your new arrival reaches you to ensure they are happy and feel at home:
Litter box and litter - try to use something similar to what they are familiar with to allow easy adaption to their new equipment. Make sure the sides aren't too high that they can't get in.
Food and water bowls - small ceramics bowls are a good idea for kittens while plastic ones also work. Stainless steel may intimidate nervous cats due to the reflective surface. You can try them with a water fountain that automatically issues them fresh water as long as they don't get too nervous of the noise
Toys - keeping your kitten occupied and using toys to bond with them is very important and also helps their mental and physical development
Bed - some kittens won't use a cat bed but it is best to offer one in case they do.
Depending on your tastes, other essentials can include a collar, a leash to walk outside, training aids to help keep them off the furniture and scratching posts and other cat furniture.