Caring for your Kitten
When you collect your kitten for the first time, there are a number of items you will need to purchase in order to care for the kitten properly. Below is a list of items you should buy before you bring your kitten home.
Your kitten will need a bed so he/she has their own space to sleep and a comforting area just for them (however, be prepared that your kitten will probably find his/her own spot or want to sleep on your bed!). It is a good idea to place the bed in a room with a door away from draughts so the kitten gets used to a small space before being let loose in the whole house. The bed should be big enough to allow your kitten room to grow and cosy so they feel comfortable in your home.
Food and water dishes/Cat food
The kitten will need these immediately in case he/she is thirsty or hungry on arrival. The dishes should be quite heavy so the kitten doesn't end up pushing them around and so they don't tip over! The water will need changing every day and the kitten will need to be fed small amounts about 4 times per day. Once the kitten reaches 6 months this can be changed to larger portions twice a day. The breeder should have given you information about the kittens diet requirements and the types of foods they are used to.
Litter Tray & Cat Litter
Hopefully your kitten will have already been litter trained by the breeder, if so, it will be a case of emptying the litter into the tray, leaving it in a certain area of your house (usually the kitchen) and guiding the kitten to the tray until they get the idea! If your kitten has not been litter trained this may be a little more difficult and you will have to be patient and persistent while your kitty learns. The tray will need emptying regularly, some people place a litter tray bag inside the tray before tipping in the litter to make this easier.
Kitten claws grow quickly and need to be worn down. Scratching posts are ideal for this and are available at most larger pet stores. If you do not get your kitten something to scratch their claws on they could catch them on curtains or furniture and hurt themselves. Also the scratches on you will be much worse!
Comb and brush
Combing your kittens' fur is particularly important if he/she is a long hair breed such as Persian. Regular grooming is important to prevent the fur from becoming tangled and to make sure your kitty looks great! Some cats do not require constant grooming, it all depends on the type of fur they have. It is best to keep a comb or brush handy in case the kitten gets something stuck in its fur or rolls in something! Regular stroking will help remove dirt and dead hair.
Kittens need toys to stimulate their minds and help keep them active throughout the day. There are loads of different varieties available; balls, bells, mice or string, remember cats love to chase thing so anything that involves them running or looking for something is good. You can even make your own toys, one of the best I know of is to tie a piece of paper to the end of some string and run around letting the kitten chase after it - trust me they'll love it!
If your kitten is a pedigree and you have bought him/her from a trusted breeder, the kitten should have already been vaccinated. If you are unsure ask the breeder for the vaccination records. Kittens are vaccinated against flu, Enteritis and Leukaemia virus, vaccinations should be repeated at 9 and 11 weeks then annually. If your kitten is non-pedigree you may have to arrange the initial vaccinations with a vet yourself, your kitten should not be let outside until he/she had had the vaccinations. Aks your vet about worming as well, they will be able to recommend the best products for your kitten.
It is important that your kitten gets lots of exercise in order to stay fit and healthy and to stimulate their curious minds. If you have decided your cat can go outside they will love hunting and exploring in a garden and this will give them plenty of exercise. If your kitten will be a house cat you need to play lots of games with them so they get as much exercise as possible. You may also want to consider tagging or microchipping (an injection with a unique identifier therefore no need for a collar) in case your kitty goes astray.