Getting a pet is something that Boyfriend & I have talked about for a while. We both knew that we wanted a pet. That was never in doubt. But ideally, we both wanted a dog, and in a fantasy world, I think we would already have one. But our house is far too small for a dog in reality. It'd be unfair to keep one cooped up in such a humble-sized house while we are out at work.
So we decided to wait a few years until we move.
And then, a few weeks ago, we got a call from destiny. There was a kitten in desperate need of rescuing. There was no hesitation or doubts in our minds. We knew we had to take him on.
And name him Dave....of course!
We've had cats in our family pretty much all throughout my adolescent life. But I never really knew a lot about caring for them. They were family cats, and as far as I was concerned, my parents were in charge. So when it came to trying to buy supplies for our new furry arrival, I was completely at a loose end.
Which is why I thought I'd compile a selection of things that I think are a must-have for those of you out there thinking of or who will be bringing a new kitten home.
The most important thing I'd say is to invest in a good litter tray and cat litter. Space in our house is limited, so a hooded tray was essential - for the comfort of our noses, and to ensure that Dave has enough privacy. So far, we've only had one cat poo-related disaster. Dave was pretty quick at mastering how to use the tray, and conquering his fear of the cat-flap entrance. We also bought a kitten-friendly disinfectant for cleaning out his litter tray, which comes in handy when you have to clean the floor surrounding his little box too because you know it won't harm them. And that is a big worry of mine at the moment.
We always opt for clumping cat litter because for us it's easier to manage. The choice however, is up to you/ And it's always best to have a few poop-scoops in stock just in case one needs to go out for a deep-clean. I've had a few times where I've left myself without a clean scoop, and let me tell you...those have been the scariest moments of my life as a pet owner! Dave also has his own dedicated poop bin which we line. Any waste goes in scented bin liners to eliminate odour, and we change the bin bag regularly to keep it hygienic.
Top of your priorities list should be getting your kitten to the vet to register ASAP. When we rescued Dave, we knew pretty much next to nothing about him, so taking him to the vet made sure that he had had his jabs, we knew how old he was....and had it confirmed that Dave was actually a boy! Make sure you do your research when looking for a vet, and ask lots of questions. We were quite lucky in that Boyfriend knew where he wanted Dave to go based on experience that he had with his family's dogs. But if you're not sure, ask around get some advice and find our if any vets offer kitten packages to help towards the costs of jabs/neutering/all things medical.
To make Dave comfortable, we have invested in a lot of toys for him. He is a very intelligent cat, and needs bucket-loads of mental stimulation or else he just gets bored. Catnip mice are his favourite, so we have bought lots for him because, well, they just go missing. He will hide all his mice, you won't see therm for a week and then BOOM, four turn up as if by magic. It is bizarre, but we really have no idea what he does with them all. So, moral of the story? Overstock!!
Part of making your kitten comfortable is also investing in a decent scratching post. When Dave came to us, he had death-claws, that, when he stuck them in to you, hurt like an absolute biatch! Having a scratching post has really help file his claws down and means that he isn't using the back of our sofas instead. He does have an invested interested in our rug though. But I think that's because it's just so soft.
When it came to buying a bed, we pretty much needn't have bothered. Dave rarely sleeps in his bed. He's usually up with us. (And I know, I know, that's bad kitten-mama practice, but when you have a kitten who knows how to open doors when they are firmly shut, what else can you do?) He's really well-behaved at night, and during the day, he sleeps on a blanket that my parents donated to us for him.
And lastly, on to food. To be honest, this is still something we're figuring out. A few weeks ago, Dave was mega hungry, and getting through loads of cat food a day (the standard RDA for a kitten his age, plus a bit more.) But now he has really calmed down. We start off in the morning giving him fresh water and about 60g of the IAMS Kitten food (he was eating this prior to coming to us.) That 60g lasts him until the evening. where he gets one quarter of a bottle of kitten milk. This isn't a necessary part of feeding him, we just do it as am accompaniment at the moment (although I want to start weaning him off it.) We have trained Dave to know that the only place he will get food is by his food bowls. To get food, he needs to stand there and wait. This males sure that we are left in peace eating our dinner, and so that Dave knows he won't get very far scrounging.
There are other things that we know we should get for Dave (a cat tree being one,) but this selection is for the absolute basics. Once you get to know your kitten, you'll know what he/she likes or doesn't like, and how best to care for them. They are quite picky creatures, and don't hesitate to let you know what they want!