What Do You Need For a Kitten?

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Food, Treats, and Water

You'll probably want to have some food available for your kitten before bringing him or her home. It's a good idea to stick with the store’s recommendation for the first couple of feedings.

As for treats, there's a good chance your kitten will enjoy some wet food as part of the meal.

Not only will it make meal time more interesting, it will let you know if the kitten has constipation or other digestion issues, since wet food should help make their stool softer.

If your kitten is a girl, you'll want to have a small dish of clean water available at all times, and put fresh food and water out regularly. If your kitten is a boy, a water fountain might help with his constant need to drink, but you'll still want to give him a regular dish of clean water to lap up.

Kittens are prone to frequent urination and you'll want to have a litter box handy. Some pet stores sell complete kits for welcoming a new kitten, but you can also get by with a small plastic dish and a bag of litter. Kittens tend to learn what to use from watching the mother’s behavior, but this won't happen as quickly if you already have a kitten to teach him or her, so be prepared to show them what to do.

Kitty Litter and Box

All you really need is a box that your kitten will feel comfortable using.

A good quality, sturdy cardboard box work well. You can line it with bathroom tissue for easy cleanup.

Better still, get a specially designed plastic litter box (similar to a large covered cat pan). They come in two pieces and you just fit the two pieces together. It'll be less awkward to move around, especially if you are raising the litter box with your cat in a contained area.

Litter

While there are smaller, framed litter boxes available, it's best to avoid these. They tend to be awkward to carry and clean. Also cat litter that is too small can get stuck in your cat's paws. And lastly, small framed litter boxes are harder to put liner into, hence are a bigger hassle to deal with in the long run.

You can get a plain clumping litter like Scoop Away, but it's best to go for one that has oder control and/or made of natural material.

Be sure to choose a kitty litter that is unscented, which will avoid any type of chemicals that may upset your cat's nose and lungs, and ultimately affect your kitty's behavior.

Bedding

Lining the box with a soft towel that doesn't slip around will make your kitten feel more comfortable. You can also use old baby clothes.

Toys, Scratchers, and Kitty-Proofing

Kittens are natural predators that like to chase and scratch. Teething too, can leave them feeling a little itchy. As a first time (or even a seasoned parent) your job is to ensure that your kitten is safe, happy, and healthy.

One of the best ways to do this is with the right kitten necessities, like a litter box and some toys to scratch.

Without the proper supplies, a week-old kitten can easily find him or herself up a tree or locked in the linen closet.

Collar and/or Harness

Your cat may not be the best candidate to be a dog walking companion, but that doesn’t stop you from bringing your little furry friend outdoors. You just have to be a bit more vigilant to protect your cat from harm.

Aside from the regular collar and leash, a harness is a must for every cat owner. Keeping your cat safe is your number one responsibility. You also have to keep the risk for flea infestation in check by other means. Try to strike a balance between ensuring your cat’s safety and your freedom to roam.

Also make sure that the harness isn’t a choke hazard for your cat, or at least only causes mild discomfort.

Bed and Crate

The brand of your pet's bed or crate is not that important. You could get an inexpensive bed from Target, like this one (affiliate link) or a fancy looking one from Seattle Pet Designs. Or you could get a crate from IKEA (affiliate link).

The important thing is to make the bed and the crate a safe place for your kitten to rest. That will prevent her from chewing on your furniture and potentially causing injury.

Both the bed and crate should be enclosed so that they can't be gnawed on. Buy your velvet cat bed at Costco or an IKEA "Kurbo" frame (check to see that it is open on the top).

If you buy a crate for your kitten, get one that is big enough for her to turn around in (at least 20x12x12) and consider adding a soft blanket or some other comfortable material for her to lie on.

If you use the IKEA "Kurbo" frame, a piece of cardboard would also do in a pinch.

Grooming Supplies

As a new kitten owner it is important to reexamine your spending, which might have to change drastically. You will need to purchase supplies to take care of your kitten almost from the time it enters your life. Here is some of the basic kitten supplies you will need.

  • Litter box – Try to get one with a lower opening to make it easier to get the kitten in and out.
  • Litter tray – Place the litter box in a place where you are willing to house your kitten.
  • Kitten kit – To provide your kitten with basic grooming needs, including a few brushes.
  • Water and food bowls – Not only will you need two, but a larger bowl would be a good idea.
  • Kitten bowls – Make sure the food bowls don’t have a lip or ridge on the top, as this will make it difficult to get the food out.
  • Food – You will need lots of food and kitten milk replacement. Buy several bags of kitten food in case you run out. To find dry kitten food, go to your local pet store.
  • Food and water bowls – It will be easier to use separate bowls for food and liquids.
  • Litter substrate – The litter material that will be used for your kitten.