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Preparing Your Home for a Kitten


You may be thinking about adopting a kitten. They are such a joy - cuddly and cute and oh, so curious. Therefore, it's a good idea to do some kitten proofing before bringing home a new kitten. Here's how to prepare your home for her:

Your Trip Around the House

Safety:

Kittens, like puppies, get into everything but even more so. They can slink their way through little crevices, climb up a chimney, or get stuck in a pipe. Put a snug grate across any fireplaces; check your house for holes in the wall, including in cupboards and closets; and make sure window and door screens fit tightly.

In addition, put away all personal items - a kitten might innocently play with a razor, household cleaners, pens, scissors, needles and thread, and all other dangerous small items. Put away house plants - many are toxic to cats. Cover cords and wires; put away all breakables and make sure all trash is covered tightly.

Comfort:

There are a few things you can do before bringing home a new kitten to help her adjust. Different kitten breeds have different personalities - some are very laid-back and will adjust quickly, others are more prone to anxiety. Any change can affect a cat. They thrive on routine. So set up a routine before adopting a kitten.

Kittens should have plenty of places to hide. This can be under the bed or couch, in a cat cube that has a drape over the front, or strategically-placed blankets. Push the blankets up a little to create a tunnel for your kitty. Bring something from her old home like a blanket or a towel. The familiar smell will be comforting. Make a quiet place just for her, perhaps a bathroom or the laundry room. Place her litter box, food and a bed there. But keep in mind that some hiding places can be hazardous for small cats.

Your Trip to the Pet Store

You should also make sure you have all the necessary items to take care of your fur ball and her energy. There are a few absolute necessities and a few luxuries you might want to pick up. If you can, ask the people at the store for help in order to ensure you don't miss anything. Here's a new kitten checklist to help you out:

Necessities:

Litter Box - Since most kittens aren't litter box trained, it's important that you get the right kind to start them out. Start with an uncovered litter box, the smallest size you can find. If they all seem too high on the sides, you can start with the top of a cardboard box.

Litter - Get small-grained, no scent litter. Put about two inches in the box.

Food - Find out what your kitten was eating at the shelter and continue with that food. You can add some warm water to dry food to entice them.

Treats - Baby food and small, cubed cooked chicken are great kitten treats. Don't give them pork or anything with bones in it. Avoid commercial treats until they are older.

Bowls - Look for smaller ceramic bowls for a kitten's food and water. Don't get stainless steel or plastic bowls. Automatic water "fountains" are a good choice for any kitten or cat since felines love moving water. It's also fresher than water sitting in a bowl.

Collars - It's a good idea to get kittens used to a collar immediately. Get a safety collar that breaks free if they get caught on something.

Toys - Kittens can play with cat toys but make sure there are no small, removable parts. Automatic cat toys are a good choice because they keep the kitten active. Paper sacks or a feather tied to a stick make inexpensive toys. Also make sure to have several scratching posts.

Bed - Kittens like nest beds because they mimic sleeping with their litter mates. Also, heated beds are often welcome.

Training Aids - Things like "No Scratch" and "Bitter Apple" can help keep your kitten off the furniture. An inexpensive, effective tool is a water squirt bottle.

Misc. - For clipping kittens' nails, human nail clippers work best. Keep a hairball remedy on hand, as well as a cat ophthalmic ointment and a pet emergency kit. Consider getting a harness if you want to take your kitten outside.

Bringing home a new kitten is exciting and fun. You'll make the transition easier for everyone by kitten proofing your home and having all the necessities ready.

Photo: Zemlinki

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