The Do’s and Don’ts of Getting a Kitten

Just before the whole pandemic hit, my boyfriend and I decided that it was time for us to get our first pet. With a first pet comes a lot of responsibility and a lot of hard work, and I am here to make sure you understand the reality and the gravity of caring for a pet. The number one thing you need to remember is that you are caring for a life, and let’s be honest, a lot of us can’t even care for ourselves fully. So, if you have even the slightest doubt in your mind about getting a cat, don’t commit until you are 100% sure that you are ready for not only the responsibility but also the costs that come with one.

DO: Make sure the kitten has lots of toys

Kittens need constant playtime and engagement, otherwise, they will become restless and start to destroy things they shouldn’t be. Make sure that even if you buy the kitten endless toys, you still engage with them during playtime. Automatic toys can become stressful for young kittens, and they should be played with and have human interaction. This will actually help your kitten to develop a stronger bond with you.

DON’T: Buy the same kinds of toys

You want your kitten to have a variety of different toys so they don’t become bored. Try and buy different kinds of toys to keep them constantly engaged with something new. Our kitten really loves hair ties and circular toys. We have scrunchies, small foam balls, a cat tree, a bell toy and feather toys for our little one. We try to hide the ones she isn’t playing with so that she forgets about them and they seem like new toys to her when we re-introduce them.

DO: Feed them wet food

Wet food tends to have more nutrients and be easier on their little tummies. When they are babies, you want to be feeding them the best you can because they are at the point in their lives when food and growth matter most. I highly recommend wet food, but if you have to, try wetting down a bit of the dry food to make it easier for them to digest. Think of it like this, would you feed a human baby something hard and crunchy? Hopefully not, so don’t do it to a baby kitten!

DON’T: Over-love them

This sounds really weird but this is the best way I could put it! If the kitten tries to get away from you, don’t hold onto them for dear life. Let them go! You know what they say, “If you love something, let it go”. You can always try to hold them again in a little while, but if you restrain them it will teach them not to like and enjoy being held.

DO: Cat-proof your home

Yes, they will chew the wires. Yes, move the breakable vase from a reachable place. If you think the cat will get into it, they probably will and then some.

DON’T: Let your kitten continue bad behaviours

If you don’t want them to scratch the couch, you need to teach them at a young age that it is wrong. You can do this by moving them every time they do something negative. This will teach them that repetitive negative behaviours get them moved from the place they want to be. Yes, they will be persistent and keep trying for a while. You need to be more persistent.

DO: Stick to a feeding schedule

We feed our kitten ⅓ of a can 4x per day. This was not only what we felt she wanted, but also what our vet told us was healthy for her age. Talk to your vet about what is best for the size and weight of your kitten. It will differ across all kittens!

These are just a few of the things we have learned on our journey so far. Having a pet is a lot about learning and responsibility. If you aren’t willing to make some sacrifices and give 110% into raising them, a kitten may not be right for you!