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Preparing For A New Kitten

March 13, 2024

Are you planning to welcome a new kitten into your home? Congratulations! There are few things more adorable than baby cats. It’s probably safe to say that little Fluffy won’t waste much time wrapping you around her tiny paws. She probably also won’t waste much time getting into mischief. Get ready for a tiny, meowing toddler! A local Marin County, CA veterinarian offers some advice on getting ready for your adorable new arrival in this article.

Petproof Your Place 

Our feline friends are very mischievous. When your kitty is all grown up, she will eventually become more interested in napping than in wreaking havoc. However, between now and then, you’re going to have a furry, four-legged bundle of zoom on your hands. You’ll need to take some steps to make your place safe for your little buddy.

Here are a few things to address:

Plastic Bags: For some reason, cats seem to really like the taste and/or texture of plastic. Unfortunately, plastic bags are a suffocation risk. Pets can also choke on wrappers.

Ropes And Strings: We know, it’s cute seeing little FFluffy playing with yarn. However, this is quite dangerous as well. For one thing, these items pose a risk of strangulation. Kitties can also get tangled up. Even worse, these objects can be deadly if swallowed, as they can cause potentially life-threatening damage to your pet’s internal organs.

Small Or Sharp Objects: Our feline pals are hunters by nature. Fluffy is actually a very capable predator. In fact, she may be nature’s most efficient (and adorable) killer. Kitties are born with an instinctive urge to, well, pounce on things. Your pet is going to want to practice on, well, everything. She also doesn’t know what is and is not safe to chew or bite. This can be very dangerous. Keep anything small or sharp out of paws’ reach. That includes things like craft kit pieces, sewing needles, nails and screws, jewelry, beads, buttons, small figurines, and safety pins, to name a few.

Some adult cats will show little interest in these objects. Others seem determined to visit emergency rooms as often as possible. Err on the side of caution here.

Toxins: Poisonings are one of the most common reasons  for emergency veterinary visits. Many common household items are toxic to little Fluffy. That list includes things like automotive products, cleaning products, lawn and garden  products, fertilizer, antifreeze, paint, turpentine, pesticides, rodenticides, drain openers, and the like. Kitties only need to get a little spilled on their fur or to walk through a puddle to be in danger: they’ll then ingest the substances by cleaning themselves.

Don’t forget about poisonous plants! Plants can make any home look welcoming and appealing. Kitties often are quite curious about plants. Fluffy loves peeking out at her owner from behind green leaves. She also has a tendency to nibble on things. This can be deadly! While some plants will only cause minor mouth irritation or an upset tummy, others can be fatal. Lilies, for instance, are extremely dangerous to cats. Just drinking a bit of the water or nibbling on a leaf is enough to cause organ damage. You can check the ASPCA website here for more information.

Environment: Keep large appliances, such as toilets and dryers, closed when not in use. You’ll also need to make sure that your screens and windows close securely.

Shopping For Your Kitten

Before your furry pal comes home, you’ll want to make a trip to the pet store, and have everything waiting for little Fluffy.

Here are a few things you’ll want to get:

Food: Fluffy will need a good, kitten-formula food. Baby cats have a lot of growing to do in that adorable first year! Ask your vet for recommendations.

Dishes: You may find that plastic bowls are cheaper, but we’d recommend using stainless steel or ceramic. Plastic will develop small cracks over time, which can harbor bacteria. There’s also a chance of chemicals slowly leaching into your pet’s food or water.

Litterbox: With most things, you’ll want to get full-sized items. Kittens grow very quickly, so you may find yourself replacing little Fluffy’s things after a few months. However, kitten-sized litterboxes only cost a few bucks, and may be easier for your furry pal to manage.

If you have an open floor plan, and/or don’t have a spot to conveniently put a litterbox, consider getting furniture that was designed just for that. Ask your Marin County, CA veterinarian for specific advice.

Litter: This is an important one. Avoid getting clay or clumping litters for now. When your feline pal is fully grown, you can get whatever you (and she) prefer. However, baby cats are a bit clumsy. That’s definitely super cute, but it can also be dangerous. In this case, the issue is that little Fluffy could accidentally swallow some litter. That can lead to dangerous—and potentially fatal—intestinal blockages.

Toys, Toys, Toys: Baby cats are super playful! We’re pretty sure that your little buddy is going to keep you smiling and laughing with her cute antics. It’s important to play with your kitty every day. This is great for bonding. It will also help little Fluffy feel loved and safe, and can teach her some of the basics of petiquette … such as not using you as a giant cat toy. 

If your pet is still very young, you may as well hold off on catnip: cats don’t really become susceptible to its effects until they are at least three months old.

Pet Furniture: Little Fluffy should have at least a few things that were made just for her. Cat towers are pretty much the gold standard here. Our feline friends love them! These are multi-purrpose pieces: they serve as jungle gyms, napping spots, scratching points, and vantage points. A kitten may like one that incorporates some fun toys. You can also get your little buddy other kitty staples, such as cat shelves or cat tunnels. There are also some really cute modern toys to look at. 

Carrier: The carrier is a one-time purchase, but it’s a definite must. You’ll not only need it for bringing your little buddy to the vet, but also for travel and, of course, any moves that may be in your future. We would recommend getting a hard-shell one: this will protect your pet from being jostled. It’s also safer for travel. Add your contact information to the carrier. You can use a mailing label or hand-write it. Use clear tape over it to make it waterproof.

First-Aid Kit: It’s definitely better to have one of these and not need it than to need it and not have it. You can buy one made for kitties, or dress up one that was meant for people. Keep this in or near the carrier. It’s also a good idea to print out some kitty first-aid brochures and keep them in that as well.

Get The Cameras Ready

Little Fluffy’s toddler stage will be over before you know it. Be ready to capture all of those sweet moments! 

Contact Your Marin County, CA Veterinarian

In order to get little Fluffy started out on the right paw in life, you’ll need to introduce her to her new doctor right away. Your tiny pal will need a thorough nose-to-tail exam. She’ll also need to get started on her vaccinations and parasite control. Spay/neuter surgery and microchipping should also be on the agenda for that crucial first year. (We throw purr checks in for free.) 

While you’re here, don’t be afraid to ask questions about your new pet’s health, diet, and care needs. That’s what we’re here for! We love watching our feline patients grow from tiny balls of fur into happy, healthy adult kitties.

Do you have questions about kitten care? Contact us, your Marin County, CA pet hospital, today! We’re here to help!

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