9 things to do before you bring a new kitten into your home

By on Aug 23rd

Thanks to Joker Venom for uploading this photo of their foster kitten after eating 'solid' (mush) food for the first time. It's a messy endeavor.

We're really excited that we've been approved for adopting two rescue kittens from a local shelter. We bought our first home late last year and it needs work: we're mid-renovation and it'll all get put on hold when little paws arrive. I'm seeking offbeat advice on what to think about for our new meow-faces.

We've both had cats before, but not since living with parents, so we're preparing for their arrival and making sure our home is ready. We're having a little work done at home to ensure it's kitten-safe, (blocking up holes in walls, etc.) with a view to continuing works later when they're older, and of course, we've got litter trays, food bowls and stuff. But I wondered if there's anything anyone would suggest to prepare for furry arrivals? Especially anything unusual, DIY, or low-cost, as we're on a budget! Thanks! -Silverprincess

Okay, wait. You are MID renovation? First give SERIOUS thought to when you get cats. Kittens are often more tolerant of change than older cats, but all cats want familiarity. And shelter cats are already lacking a steady home, so they're already a little (and sometimes a lot) wigged out. Cats being wigged out can lead to all sorts of undesireable behavior, from peeing on stuff to full-on attack mode.

So I'd say, 1. Wait until most renovation is completed. If you just can't bear to wait, see if you can get cats after the noisiest, dirtiest bits are completed.

2. The accoutrements. Get a variety of cheap toys to try out with them: ground-based toys, lasers, strings, and air-based toys. Some cats are more into jumping, others are more into chasing — just like some will want to play with you and others will be into their own thing.

3. Start growing catnip on a sunny windowsill.

4. Make a litter box plan. Upon examination you might not decide to do anything special, but it's worth thinking about: what type of litter will you use — clay? non-clay? pine? flushable? How often will you clean? Where will the box(es) go? Do you need to build a cool cabinet for them? (Totally on my Christmas list: a custom double-decker litter box cabinet.)

5. Plan food. What's your budget? What do you want your cats to eat? This is important (and comes after the litter box question) because quality/type of food majorly affects the raunchiness of cats' excrement.

6. Make a kitty bug-out pack. Get a cat carrier (or two) and outfit them with a week's supply of canned food, a towel, veterinary information, and your own contact info in case you are separated. You'll be ready for emergency vet visits AND alien invasions!

7. Check your houseplants for cat compatibility. And remember: poisonous doesn't mean a complete no-no, but you will have to make a plan for this, too. I have three (poisonous) diffenbachias in my house, but cats dgaf. There are bitter sprays that work well for dissuading cats from eating things. Speaking of sprays…

8. Plan on disciplining. Personally, I think the best cat-discipline method is using a spray bottle coinciding with a hiss sound. I have a friend who goes "sss!" when she wants her cats to COME and really, those poor cats must have had quite the mindfuck dealing with SSS! meaning a good thing.

Use the spray and the SSS to tell your buddies NO don't eat that or NO not on the table or NO LICKING THE CARPET GODDAMNIT. It's a super effective tool that enables you to teach your cat very specifically what is and is not allowed. Eventually (though it may take years) you'll only have to say SSS! and your kitty will listen. Unless they're a bitch like my cat.

9. Collars and tags. Suggested wording: CAT'S NAME, ADDRESS and/or PHONE, I AM AN INDOOR CAT (if this is true. If your cat escapes but is chill with it, it might otherwise be hard for someone it meets to know it is lost.)

I think that's it. You might also consider pet insurance or a vet savings account. And you should also subscribe to The Way of Cats if you want to be a cat wizard, like me.

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About Cat Rocketship

I was the Managing Editor of Offbeat Home for a year and a half. I have a rich Internet life and also a pretty good real life. Hobbies include D&D, Twitter, and working on making our household more self-reliant. I also draw things.