Every time I go shopping, I get the Happy Vibes! But don’t get me wrong, as much as I love getting the Happy Vibes, this particular shopping session was not a treat, but a bare necessity. I promise!
So here are all my little recommendations for what to buy in preparation of bringing your first kitten home (left to right):
- Litterbox: A big plastic one with high margins (if the kitten is very small, you may want to start with a lower one which is easier for them to get in). Covered litterboxes are best both for the cat (offers privacy) and the owner (less smell & litter trailing). If the litterbox does not have one, you will need to also buy a scoop (flat edge scoop for square litterboxes / round edge for circular litterboxes).
- Litter: Get the same litter the kitten is already used to (try to find this out in advance from the breeder/shelter). You should always change your cat’s litter gradually (over 2 weeks), to make sure they do not stop using the litterbox. Also, they will be already stressed by the separation from their mom, so try to keep things as constant as possible. You may wish to upgrade later to a healthier/more convenient kind of litter, but for the beginning this will do.
- Litterbox lining: You can use it, but some cats do not like the feeling and it may deter them from using the litterbox alltogeher.
- Litter perfume: It’s meant to lower litterbox odor. Totally unnecessary, but I just got carried away.
- Toys: Fishing pole or catnip mice are a good starting point. Whatever toys you buy, make sure they are kitten proof (avoid anything with strings, rubber bands, ribbons, or small parts that could be swallowed as cats’ tongues have backward-pointing barbs which make it dificult to spit things out).
- Cat stop spray: Spray the out-of-boundary places (i.e. sofa)
- Cat nip: Most cats love catnip (as it makes them high). You can use it to spay the toys, scratching post, basket, …
- Food & water bowl: You could use a lead-free ceramic / stainless steel bowl you already have in the kitchen. If you want to invest in a cat food & water bowl, get a stainless steel or lead-free ceramic one. Do not buy a plastic one: it can cause your kitten a chin rash and it harbors bacteria
- Food: As with litter, get the same food, the kitten is already used to. You should always change your cat’s food gradually (over 1-2 weeks), as not to upset their tummy.
- Brush: One that is specially adapted to the type of hair the kitten has (short/long). Experts recommend getting a fine-toothed comb, a rubber-backed pin brush and a cat nail clipper.
- Scratching post: Cats like a long stretch, so tall scratching posts work best. Avoid horizontal ones as they might confuse it with the carpet. For the same reason, do not get a scratching post covered in carpet. Invest in a sturdy one (wide, heavy base). If the post wobbles or topples over once, the cat will be scared to use it again.
- Blanket & hot water bottle: Put the blanket in the pet carrier on top of the hot water bottle or in their basket when you transport the kitten – the warmth will help them relax (reminds them of being next to their mum).
- Sleeping basket: Don’t get an expensive one like me (I paid 45 euros!) as they will most likely not sleep in it. The basket should be comfortable, washable and big enough for an adult cat to curl up easily, but not too large that they feel exposed.
- Cat carrier: Get a bigger one so you can also use it when you kitten grows up (for vet visits). It’s the safest way to transport the kitten. Alternatively, you can use a cardboard box (make a few holes in it), but put an old towel on the bottom.
Most of these deserve (and will get) a separate blog post, but this is just a quick checklist to get you started in the lovely world of kitten ownership :”)
You experts out there, did I miss anything?