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New Kitten Checklist

Here are just some examples of what needs to be done:

  • Secure window screens
  • Keep all medicine put away
  • Don’t leave out string, ribbon, rubber bands or other things that can be swallowed
  • Keep household cleansers put away in cabinets
  • Use trash cans with lids or secure them in cabinets
  • Cut handles off paper bags before offering as a toy
  • Don’t let your kitten play with plastic bags
  • Cover small openings where a kitten could wedge herself and get stuck
  • Secure electrical cords so they don’t dangle
  • Coat any dangling electrical cords with a bitter anti-chew product
  • Use museum or earthquake wax to secure breakable objects that can’t be put away
  • Check the washer and dryer before doing laundry
  • Always double-check when closing closets and drawers
  • Keep all household plants out of kitten’s reach (most are poisonous to cats)
  • Close all sewing and knitting baskets after use and double-check for any pins on the carpet
  • Don’t leave candles burning where a kitten could reach them
  • Make sure fireplace has a secure screen
  • Don’t throw boxes out without first checking if the kitten is hiding there
  • Do a “kitten check” before leaving the house in case she’s locked in a closet or drawer
  • Block the space behind the refrigerator so the kitten can’t get wedged in there

 

two kittens in laundry basket

Photo: Shutterstock

The above list is just a small sample of the types of kitten-proofing that may need to be done. You’ll have to customize it based on your specific household. Kitten-proofing may seem like lots of work but keep in mind that your kitten will mature and outgrow many of the dangerous behaviors. If you have children you know that baby-proofing and toddler-proofing your home is needed but doesn’t last forever. And speaking of baby-proofing, you can find many items to help you kitten-proof in the baby safety section of department stores and baby product stores. Electrical cord covers, outlet covers, cabinet locks, toilet paper roll covers, etc., are also very useful when trying to safeguard a curious little kitten.

 

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The Litter Box

Since your kitten is still in the early learning stages, the litter box set-up needs to be conveniently located and easy to navigate. The box should be low-sided or at least have one low cut-out so the kitten can easily get in and out. As your kitten grows you’ll be able to change out the box for a larger one but for right now, make sure it’s low enough while she’s young and is working on developing her physical and mental abilities.

Keep in mind that your kitten may not be able to remember where the box is located or have the bladder control to get to it in time so don’t let her have the run of the entire house until you feel she has the routine down. Also, get on a schedule of bringing your kitten to the litter box during the times elimination might normally occur such as after a nap, after a meal and after playtime.

Here are some articles to help you create a good litter box set-up:

10 Tips for Creating a More Appealing Litter Box

Kitten Litter Box Training

cat paws in litter box

Photo: Fotolia

Your Kitten’s Food and Water

Start with getting the right food and water bowls. Your kitten needs her own bowl that’s a good size for her. If you have a multicat household it’s a good idea to make sure all cats have their own bowls. With your kitten, she’ll need to eat a growth formula food and shouldn’t be eating another resident cat’s adult formula. You also don’t want any adult cats eating growth formula.

Kittens need to be fed several meals a day and your veterinarian can advise you how often and how much to feed based on your kitten’s age and specific health.

quote from georgia spca

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Your kitten needs fresh water available at all times. Don’t put the water bowl right next to the food and don’t use a double feeder for food and water. Many cats don’t like the food and water close together. If you have larger pets at home already, don’t just put out one giant water bowl. Your kitten needs a water bowl that’s the appropriate size for her.

You may have assumed your kitten needs or wants milk but she shouldn’t have any. Once weaned, cats become lactose intolerant so offering milk can lead to diarrhea. This can lead to dehydration, which in a kitten, can become deadly. If you have an orphaned kitten who isn’t on solid food yet, your veterinarian will recommend a milk replacement formula and that formula isn’t from cow’s milk. Additionally, milk should never be given to a kitten as a replacement for water because it can lead to dehydration. So unless your veterinarian instructs you that your kitten needs replacement formula, you should be feeding kitten formula food and offering fresh, clean water.

Here is more information:

10 Common Mistakes When Feeding Cats

 

The Scratching Post

Get your kitten started off right by providing an appropriate scratching post. Keep in mind that your kitten’s claws are probably all the time right now but as she matures she’ll become better at keeping them retracted.

Texture matters when it comes to a scratching post. Choose a sisal covered one that’s tall and sturdy. Stay away from carpet-covered posts as they are ineffective. Place the post in a convenient location where your kitten will probably feel the urge to scratch – such as near the food bowl or by her favorite napping location. You can even get some corrugated scratching pads (they’re very inexpensive) and place them around for your kitten.

scratching post

Photo: Fotolia

If you’re considering having your kitten declawed, keep in mind that cats can easily be trained to scratch on posts and not on the furniture. There’s no reason to put your kitten through such an inhumane procedure. We have several articles on our site about furniture scratching and training your cat to a post. Please take the time to read them before making a decision that will affect your kitten for the rest of her life.

Here is more information on scratching posts, furniture scratching and declawing:

Read This Before Declawing Your Cat