How to Prepare to Bring a Kitten Home

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Are you ready for your new cat or kitten?

Cats are wonderful companions, but they can also require a lot of care — especially when they are young. Here are a few things to consider before going to look for a cat or kitten.

Will I be able to provide the time and attention a cat or kitten needs?

It’s true that cats generally require less time commitment than dogs and that some cat breeds are more independent than others. However, all cats need a certain level of care and attention. Neglecting your cat or kitten can lead to behavioral issues and can even impact their health. Make sure you are prepared to meet your cat’s social needs by doing research on the breed and/or asking questions during the adoption process.

How much does it cost to own a cat or kitten?

Part of responsible cat ownership is making sure you can afford necessary costs, starting with the purchase price or adoption fee. These are some of the costs you will need to plan for, many of which are ongoing throughout the life of the cat:

  • Vaccinations and spaying/neutering (sometimes provided by the shelter)
  • Booster vaccinations
  • Annual check-ups (more visits may be needed for young kittens or cats with health issues)
  • Food and treats
  • Flea, tick and worm prevention
  • Cat litter and litter box
  • Cat carrier
  • Scratching post
  • Cat bed
  • Grooming supplies
  • Toys

Other costs may include microchipping, pet fees for a rental home or apartment, and unexpected medical issues. Consider looking into pet insurance for emergencies. If the monthly cost of pet insurance is already outside of your budget, this may be an indicator that it would be a challenge to save up and pay for emergency medical care for your cat.

Am I prepared to teach my children how to safely interact with a cat?  

Babies, toddlers and young children do not inherently know how to safely approach and pet cats or kittens. That doesn’t mean you can’t have a cat in your household with children. However, it is important for you as the adult to teach your children how to respect an animal’s boundaries and be gentle. Biting or scratching could be a cat’s natural defense against rough handling. Punishing your cat or kitten for protecting themselves is not an appropriate response.

What do I do with my cat when I go out of town?

If you’re going to be gone longer than a typical workday, it’s important to have someone available who can feed and check in on your cat. It’s best if this is a person your cat already knows. For trips longer than a few days, consider having someone stay in the home. A boarding cattery may be another option, but you must do your research beforehand to make sure it’s a quality, well-kept facility that provides proper care for cats.

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