We are beaming with delight about the new addition to our little family: kitten Kamikaze, Kami for short. Now fourteen weeks, our little bouncy fur ball adds a lot of joy to our household. In this post I tell you about which preparations to undertake to get yourself and your home ready for a kitten.
There are two posts in this series of caring for a kitten:
2- Raising a kitten
This post (1) is about preparations you’ll need to undertake for a kitten, making sure you can give it a happy home, what to get and how to welcome kitten into your home.
Post number 2 focuses on kitten’s first weeks in its new home, setting up a routine, feeding, playing and disciplining.
Bringing the kitten home
Experts say it is best to keep the mother and children together until they are about 10-12 weeks old because this will benefit the socialization process.
From about 8 weeks on, kitten is no longer solely dependent on its mother.
In our case, the mother had died when her litter was about 5 weeks old. The kittens were then bottle-fed by their humans. We were aware to be especially vigilant about socializing Kami properly. So far it seems to be going well.
What to get checklist:
- Cat carrier
- Litter box + poop scooper
- Bag of litter
- Food: dry food (kibble) + treats + wet food
- Scratching post
- Bowls for water and kibble
- A few toys
I list these items under ‘optional’ because we made personal choices about how we want to raise our cat, so here’s our motivation:
Bowls: it is likely that you already have bowls, so you may not need to get them especially for the kitty. We did buy a set because our bowls were too high and kitty needs easy access to food and water.
Toys: this is optional because you can also use household items you already have (more details under ‘things he likes’ in this post). Also, all of your friends and family will want to come see your little cutie. They may bring gifts. We started off with two little mice and a lot of empty toilet paper rolls. He still loves to play with those!
Tip: Don’t leave the toys out continuously, because the kitten may get bored with them after a while. He also needs to know it’s not always play time. Change things up regularly. Our Kami keeps losing toys under the sofa or the bed, so we make sure to have something at hand in all rooms.
Leash/harness: we got Kami one because we want him to get used to being outdoors. When he’s castrated, chipped and has developed his skills sufficiently, we will let him go outside without the harness. Putting it on the first time was a disaster. We kept on trying and though he still doesn’t like it, he loves going outside. My husband lengthened the leash with an elastic rope which allows for more freedom for all.
Comb: cats are exceptionally good at grooming themselves. We don’t use the comb often yet since he is still small and doesn’t have a thick fur coat at the moment (summer). We do comb him occasionally to allow him to get used to it.
Apart from buying the essentials, you’ll need to make sure your home is in a proper state to welcome kitty.
Preparing your home checklist:
- Clean and declutter your home
- Prepare the litter box
- Set out water
- Close doors of rooms you don’t want your kitten to go into
- Close windows where there’s a risk of kitty escaping
- Prepare a refuge: a place kitten can go to by himself without being disturbed
Introducing kitten to your home and yourself
In advance to us picking up Kami at his birth home, I asked if it was possible to get a blanket or something else which smelled like the place he grew up in, and a familiar toy to make him feel at home more quickly. The family kindly gave us a towel he sleeps on and a little toy mouse. We set up the carrier with the towel and the mouse and then boarded the train with the newest addition to our family!
We had bought first class train tickets so it would be more quiet for Kami and this worked out well. He was frightened in the carrier, so we took him out of it as soon as we were settled. Kami was mesmerized by the movements of the train! We also got some cat milk to help him calm down and set it out on the little table in the carriage. After about half an hour he seemed to be feeling more comfortable (he hit it off immediately with my husband!) and started to explore; he went to take a sip of milk and after a while he fell asleep on our laps.
At home, we let him out of his carrier and set him on the litter box (without top cover) to introduce him to it. We also showed him his water bowl and filled the other bowl with kibble. Some say it is best to introduce the cat to your home one room at a time. In our case, our apartment is not so big and Kami is inquisitive, so this was not necessary for us. We just let him explore. Titus set up a box with his towel and then we just waited until Kami settled in.
Tip: In order to build trust between your kitten and yourself, spend a lot of time together in the beginning. If you can’t, reconsider taking in a kitten; it can’t be left alone too long when it is a baby and settling into its new home.
Titus is in between jobs at the moment so he can spend a lot of time with Kami and make sure he doesn’t worry about being left alone.
In our case, since his mother died when Kami was still very young, we felt it extra important to make sure he knows we won’t leave him. Titus grew up with cats and is very comfortable around them, so this helped in getting Kami to trust him. I work office hours, so to bond with Kami I am responsible for breakfast and dinner. Even though I don’t see him as much, Kami does love me because I feed him. Sometimes life can be so simple!
In the next post on kitten care: how to establish a routine, feeding, playing and disciplining.