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Bringing Home a New Kitten

What do I need to know and do?

A pet is for life not just for Coronavirus

During the lockdown, many of us will be working from home, this can be a great time to introduce a new pet into the family as we have the time to spend on getting it used to its new household and training. Of course buying a new pet is not a step to be taken lightly, while we may have more time now, we must be prepared of course to continue providing the required work and care to ensure that our pet is happy after lockdown.

Nonetheless, now seems like a good time to talk about what you should look for when buying a pet and what you may need to buy for your new companion, this blog will concentrate on kittens.

Before you buy a Kitten Checklist

Before you buy a kitten you should think about all of the below to ensure that you are making the right choice for you and the kitten.

  • Do you have other pets?  Will your other pets be okay with the introduction of a new cat?  Cats need to be introduced to new household members carefully and gradually, we will explore this more later.  Certain breeds of dogs are unlikely to get on well with cats such as greyhounds due to their prey drive.  Certain breeds of cats will be more tolerant of dogs.  You need to ensure the correct match.
  • Research the breed of cat; is it the correct cat for your household and lifestyle?  Some cat breeds require more grooming and more human contact, so you have to be prepared for your new family addition to take up a lot of your time.
  • Research the health problems associated with the breed that you have in mind, purebred cats are more likely to suffer health issues, you should be prepared to pay the associated medical bills if they become ill.
  • Are you planning to have an indoor cat or will your cat to be free to roam?  You should consider the space you have available in your home if you are buying an indoor cat. 
  • Do you have allergies that may flare up, such as asthma?

Finding the Right Breeder Checklist

Okay, so now you have decided that a kitten is the right choice for you; you know what breed you want and you are ready to start searching. How do you find the right breeder? Well, the questions below are a good place to start.

  • Is the kitten healthy?  It should be sociable with other kittens in the litter, it should be alert and have bright, clear eyes.  You should also check for further visible signs of illness.
  • Is the breeder happy for you to see the kitten with their mother?  Kittens should stay with their mothers until they are at least 8-9 weeks old.  When you see the kittens with their mother you should look for visible signs that the mother is healthy and check to see if she is friendly.
  • Is the Father of the kitten known?  If the Father is in the same household you have the ability to also check the visible health and friendliness of the Father.
  • Has the kitten been handled well by the breeder?  The first few weeks of life are very important for the development of a kitten, if a kitten is not handled, it may become averse to handling and less friendly towards people.  Ideally the kitten will have been handled by many different people, including children.  Handling should also include health checks, kittens need to get used to their ears, eyes and paws being checked and handled.
  • What is the environment like in which the kittens are kept?  You want to ensure that they are clean and the area is hygienic.
  • If you want to bring your new kitten home to your dog, you should ask whether the kitten is currently in a multi-pet household; if it has already been used to the sight, smell and sound of a dog around, this introduction is more likely to be smooth.  This is also a good question if you are bringing it home to another cat; is it already in a multi-cat household?
  • Is the kitten already toilet-trained, or can you expect it to be by the time you collect?

Information to Obtain when Purchasing

Great! You're happy with the breeder that you have chosen, you have purchased the kitten, what further information do you need from the breeder?

  • You should find out whether the breeder has or will have given the kitten treatment for parasites such as fleas and worms; you need to know the date and product used for treatment so that you can continue it.
  • You need to find out whether your kitten will be vaccinated, if it has not been you will of course incur the costs of doing so and will have to keep your kitten housebound for longer.  When you take your new kitten the breeder should provide you with vaccination records if your pet has had them so that you can get their boosters when required.
  • Is your kitten microchipped?  If so you need the documentation from the breeder.  There will be fees associated if you are to get your cat microchipped yourself.

Shopping List

Do you have all your new kitten needs at home waiting? Have you thought of the below? Links are included in case you want to make a purchase, of course you will need to consider their suitability if you are purchasing a large breed cat.

  • Cat carrier - You will of course need something to transport your new kitten home, and to vet visits.  You may want to cover this with a towel when transporting to reduce stress.
  • Litter - you should find out what litter your kitten has been used to and continue to use this for their toilet training.
  • Litter tray and scoop - the tray should be open top and shallow to ensure that it is easily accessible.
  • Treats - you want to re-enforce good behaviours, to do this you need some tasty treats!
  • Food - you should not change your kitten's diet suddenly so it is important to find out what food the breeder has been feeding them.  The food should be specifically for kittens to provide them with all that they need for their growth.
  • Toys - some breeders may provide you with a toy that the kitten has been playing with.  You should try to provide your new kitten with different safe and fun toys to get them accustomed to different smells, tastes, movements and sounds.
  • Scratching Post - scratching is a natural feline behaviour, unless you want this need exercised on your furniture it is a good idea to have a scratching post on your shopping list. 
  • Food and water bowls.
  • Bed - your new family member will need somewhere to sleep.  Cats love hiding places, you could find a bed that is covered.
  • Hair care - you will need grooming products for your cat such as combs and brushes; the products you need will depend on the type of hair your kitten has.
If you really want to treat your new family member you could consider also purchasing the following items:
  • Play tower - depending on how much room you have available.
  • Play mat - for a fun area if you don't have room for a tower.
  • Cat Scratcher - So that your pet can rub that itch when you're not around.
  • Flailing Fish - available for sale at The Grange Retreat - rechargeable by USB for hours of fun.
  • Laser pen - for your cat to fulfil their natural urge to chase.
If your kitten is to be a house cat they will need lots of fun activities for in the home, otherwise they will not be able to fulfil their natural behaviours and this could lead to problem behaviours.

Congratulations!

You are now ready to collect your new feline friend. We hope you form a strong bond and we also very much hope that if you need boarding you will consider The Grange Retreat. Good luck!

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