Getting a kitten is a big decision that should not be taken lightly. Before jumping in feet first, it’s essential to consider the long-term commitment and responsibilities that come with owning a pet.
Your decision may be influenced by your personal preference for certain specific breeds of cat, whether they are pedigree cats or non-pedigree cats.
You probably already know this but kittens require a significant amount of time, attention, and care. They also need proper nutrition, regular vet checks, vaccinations, flea treatments, worm treatments, and grooming - not to mention insurance!
This is all part of your essential Kitten Checklist. Owning a kitten is a wonderful experience and can teach valuable life lessons to both adults and children about responsibility, empathy, and nurturing.
It can also help to develop patience and communication skills. It's important to remember though that these wonderful kittens grow up to be adults and cats with health problems can be a strain on your finances. That's why choosing your kitty from responsible breeders or rehoming centres is crucial.
With this in mind, before running to the internet to find the cutest kittens for sale, it’s imperative to ensure that you have the resources and ability to provide for a kitten's needs throughout their life, which can span 15 years or more.
Taking the time to thoroughly evaluate these factors will help you make an informed decision about whether getting a kitten is the right choice for you. The good news is that this guide serves to do exactly that…help you make up your mind!
And of course, we wouldn’t talk about getting a pet without mentioning the benefits of insurance. Lifetime insurance from Waggel can help to protect your kitten from accidents and illnesses for their entire life! The quote process is super simple and takes less than one minute. Best of all, once you’re a Waggel member you’ll get access to exclusive rewards such as 24/7 online vet care with Joii.
When considering getting a kitten, it's important to evaluate your lifestyle and living situation. Kittens require a safe and stimulating environment, so you must ensure that your home is suitable for a curious and playful pet. Consider your schedule and availability - kittens need time and attention for feeding, socialisation, and play. If you have a busy lifestyle or travel frequently, it may be challenging to meet a kitten's needs.
Another important aspect to consider when getting a kitten is the time commitment and responsibilities involved. Kittens require regular feeding, grooming, and litter box maintenance. They also need playtime and social interaction to stay happy and healthy. You'll also need to allocate time for veterinary visits, vaccinations, and potential training. It's essential to honestly evaluate if you have the time and energy to devote to a kitten before making the commitment.
Financial considerations are also significant when getting a kitten. Owning a pet involves expenses such as food, litter, toys, grooming supplies, veterinary care, and monthly insurance payments. Kittens require initial vaccinations, spaying or neutering, and ongoing preventive healthcare. It's important to assess your budget and ensure that you can provide for a kitten's needs throughout their life, including regular expenses and emergency situations.
When it comes to choosing the right breed of cat, where do you begin? Firstly, it’s important to understand different breeds and their needs. One key factor is the activity level and energy of the breed.
Some pedigree breeds, like the Bengal or Abyssinian, are highly active and require plenty of mental and physical stimulation. On the other hand, if you’d prefer a more laid-back and relaxed cat, breeds like the British Shorthair or Ragdoll might be more suitable.
Pedigree kittens are more expensive compared to moggies and can cost upwards of a few hundred pounds. If you’re looking to rescue, you’ll be looking at a much lower price and will also be helping to support local shelters.
Another factor to consider is the grooming needs of your chosen breed. Some breeds, such as the Persian or Maine Coon, have long, dense coats that require regular brushing to prevent matting. If you're unwilling to devote time to grooming or have allergies that require a low-shedding breed, you may prefer a cat with shorter hair or a breed like the Russian Blue or Siamese.
Temperament and personality traits should also be taken into account. Different breeds have distinct characteristics. For example, the Siamese is known for being vocal and affectionate, while the Maine Coon is typically friendly and sociable.
When it comes to buying a kitten, it’s important to consider your living situation. Breeds such as the Sphynx or Cornish Rex, are more suitable for indoor living as they lack a coat that provides protection against the elements. If you live in an apartment or have restrictions on outdoor access, these breeds might be a better choice.
When it comes to purchasing a pet, researching a breeder is of the utmost importance. Not taking the time to do so can result in the unknowing support of unethical breeding practices.
The best way to check the legitimacy of your breeder is to speak with your vet or check the GCCF (The Governing Council of the Cat Fancy). Before handing over any money, your breeder should provide you with the necessary paperwork to prove their cat’s pedigree status. If you see an advertisement that looks too good to be true, it most likely is. Always be vigilant and don’t transfer money without visiting your breeder first.
Alternatively, you may choose to adopt a kitten or cat from a local rescue centre. If you do choose to do this, you’ll be providing a loving home for a pet in need. There are lots of rescue shelters across the country that offer kittens for adoption. Why not check out Battersea Dogs & Cats Home? Through their website, you can enter your details and await a suitable match.
When bringing a new kitten into your home, it's essential to obtain information about their health history from your breeder or adoption shelter. This includes details about their vaccination records, deworming treatments, and any previous illnesses or medical conditions they may have had.
This information helps you understand their current health status and enables you to continue their preventive care effectively. It can also impact their insurance policy and cause some conditions to be considered pre-existing. This means they’re unlikely to be covered in the future.
Vaccinations and preventive care are both vital aspects of a kitten's health. Kittens need a series of vaccinations to protect them against common diseases such as feline distemper, rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, and feline leukaemia. Regular veterinary visits ensure that your kitten receives the necessary vaccinations at the appropriate times. Preventive care includes treatments for parasites like fleas, ticks, and intestinal worms. These measures help protect your kitten's health and reduce the risk of illness or infestations.
For purebred kittens, genetic health testing plays a significant role in identifying potentially inherited health conditions. Purebred cats can have specific genetic predispositions to certain diseases or disorders. Genetic testing can help to identify these potential risks early on, allowing for appropriate monitoring, preventive measures, or selective breeding practices to avoid passing on hereditary conditions to future generations.
By obtaining genetic health information, you can make informed decisions about your kitten's care, including any necessary lifestyle adjustments or potential treatments.
Before your kitten arrives home, creating a safe and kitten-proof environment is essential. Start by removing any hazardous items or substances that could be harmful if ingested or cause injury, such as toxic plants, chemicals, or small objects.
Secure electrical cords and outlets to prevent chewing or electrocution hazards. Block off areas that may pose a danger, like open staircases or access to potentially dangerous appliances or cleaning products. Baby gates are a great way to limit access to certain rooms until your kitten is old enough to navigate safely.
Setting up a comfortable and stimulating space for your kitten is important for their overall happiness and development. Providing a cosy bed or soft blanket for them to rest and sleep on and setting up scratching posts or cat trees are great ways to help your kitten settle in. We also recommend providing a basket of toys such as feather wands and puzzle toys to keep your kitten mentally stimulated. Cats also love boxes so if you’re looking for a cheaper toy, why not give them your old shoebox?
Before bringing a kitten home, you should also have the essentials such as cat litter, a litter box and cleaning supplies. The litter box should be placed in a quiet and accessible location to help your kitten learn where to go potty. You’ll also need food and water bowls of an appropriate size, as well as a collar with identification trips. Investing in a cat carrier for transportation such as trips to the vet will also be super helpful. (FYI: All Waggel members can currently get a 10L bag of Natusan biodegradable litter for just £5! Head to your membership platform to find out more. Note that this is a limited time offer as of June '23).
Though it can be incredibly tempting to grab your kitten and go when you first meet, it’s important to judge the situation fairly before making the commitment to take them home as a pet. Interact with your kitten and play with them. Assess their temperament and socialisation skills, though they will of course develop these in time so it’s also important not to pin everything on this one meeting.
Do you feel a bond with your kitten? If not, that’s okay. There’ll be other cats to bond with or maybe you’d be suited to a different pet. Or if you just feel unsure, arrange with your chosen breeder to meet them again in a week or so.
If you do feel a connection and bond, great news you’ve found your cat soulmate and can start to think about bringing them home!
We know you probably want to scream to the world that you’ve just got a kitten but it’s a good idea to take it slow and not overwhelm your new friend. Gradually introduce them to their new surroundings and let them get used to your home in their own time.
Once they’re more settled, try and establish some sort of routine. We know this can be a tad difficult with a young kitten but they’re clever critters and will soon adapt. This means setting feeding and sleep times so you’re not awake all night playing fetch with a mouse-shaped cat toy.
If you feel as though your kitten is settled and confident, it’s time to introduce them to your other pets (if you have them). This step requires careful planning. We suggest beginning with a scent exchange. This means keeping your kitten in a separate room for a few days but allowing them to smell a cloth, bedding or blanket that smells like your other pets.
A controlled visual introduction will also help. This can be achieved by using a baby gate or a crack in the door. It’s important to monitor signs of discomfort and separate them again until they’re ready.
Gradual physical introductions are the best way to help your new kitten get used to your other pets and vice versa. It can take time but be patient. At the end of the day, the safety of your pets is the most important thing here.
Cats are obligate carnivores (they need meat to survive) and therefore have specific dietary requirements that need to be met to ensure they receive all the necessary nutrients. Providing a balanced and appropriate diet helps support their growth, development, and immune system.
Following a consistent feeding schedule helps regulate their metabolism and prevents overeating or obesity. It also helps to establish a routine, which is beneficial for cats as they are creatures of habit. By feeding your cat high-quality food in appropriate portions at regular intervals, you can help maintain their optimal weight, digestive health, and overall vitality.
Grooming and hygiene practices are also crucial to keep a cat's coat, skin, and overall cleanliness in good condition. Regular brushing helps prevent matting, removes loose fur, and reduces the occurrence of hairballs. It also allows you to monitor your cat's skin for any signs of irritation, parasites, or abnormalities.
Regular grooming sessions also serve as an opportunity for bonding and can be a calming and enjoyable experience for both you and your cat. These sessions can also help your cat to feel comfortable with you checking their nails and teeth.
Basic training is another important aspect of cat ownership and can help to establish boundaries, promote good behaviour, and ensure your kitten's safety in various situations. For example, teaching your cat to respond to their name or commands can be helpful in emergency situations or when redirecting unwanted behaviour.
Training can also encourage mental stimulation and provide opportunities for exercise and play. Training techniques can assist in the socialisation process, making it easier for your cat to interact with other animals, guests, or when visiting the veterinarian.
Socialising your kitten doesn’t just come from training, it’s part of the ownership responsibility that will help to shape your cat into a well-adjusted and friendly pet. Early socialisation is best and involves exposing your kitten to various people, animals, and environments to help them develop confidence and positive experiences.
This includes gentle handling in supervised and controlled situations. Socialisation helps to reduce anxiety and fear and also helps to strengthen the bond between you and your kitten.
Interactive play and exercise are also vital for a kitten’s physical and mental well-being - it also helps to fulfil their instinctual needs. Play provides opportunities for exercise, helps them develop coordination and agility, and channels their energy in a positive way.
Interactive toys, such as feather wands and puzzle toys can stimulate their hunting instincts and keep them mentally stimulated. Regular play sessions also strengthen the bond between you and your kitten, as it fosters trust and creates positive associations. Making time for daily play and exercise sessions ensures that your kitten stays physically fit, mentally stimulated, and content.
Understanding kitten behaviour cues are essential for effective communication and building a strong bond with your new pet. Take a look at the following tips to help you decipher their behaviour:
Body language: Pay attention to your kitten's body language. Ears flattened or tail tucked may indicate fear or discomfort, while an upright tail and relaxed body posture signal contentment. Dilated pupils can indicate excitement or fear.
Vocalisations: Kittens use different vocalisations to communicate their needs and emotions. A soft purr often indicates contentment, while meowing can be a sign of hunger, playfulness, or attention-seeking. Hissing or growling may indicate fear or aggression.
Play behaviour: Kittens have a natural inclination to play. They may pounce, chase, and wrestle with toys or their littermates. Play behaviour helps them develop coordination, hunting skills, and social bonds.
Kittens go through several stages of development, including the neonatal, transitional, socialisation, and juvenile stages. During the neonatal stage (0-2 weeks), they are completely dependent on their mother and littermates. At the transitional stage (2-4 weeks) they start to open their eyes, walk, and interact more with their environment.
The socialisation stage (4-14 weeks) is crucial for exposing them to various stimuli, people, and animals to promote social skills and confidence. The juvenile stage (3-6 months) is a period of rapid growth and exploration.
Addressing common behaviour issues in kittens requires patience and consistent training. For biting and scratching, provide appropriate toys for them to redirect their energy and discourage rough play. If they exhibit litter box issues, ensure the box is clean, easily accessible, and in a quiet location. If they're scratching furniture, provide scratching posts as an alternative. If your kitten is fearful or aggressive, we recommend seeking guidance from your vet or a professional animal behaviourist.
Remember, every kitten is unique, and understanding their individual cues and development stages will help you address their specific behaviour issues effectively.
Deciding to get a kitten is a super exciting time and brings with it a whole host of responsibilities. With proper preparation and patience, you can look forward to creating and nurturing a strong and special bond with your new furry friend.
Don’t forget to research breeders and animal rescue shelters accordingly and take your time to pick a kitten best suited to your needs. When it comes to buying a pet, there’s no rush! Be aware of bad breeders or the signs of an irresponsible breeder, and remember that animal welfare should be a top priority.
Owning a pet is about more than just purchasing them, they’re a daily commitment and also a financial responsibility. Pet insurance is a super important part of owning a cat and works to protect not only your pet but yourself from hefty and unexpected vet bills.
Unexpected illnesses can be a burden, so it's important to consider all kitten costs, including potential veterinary treatment and cat food prices. If you’re looking for a suitable insurance policy, you’re in luck. Simply click here to start the super simple quote process.
So, if you think you’re ready to buy one of these amazing kittens, we hope our purchasing guide has helped you understand the intricacies involved so you can feel confident in your decision.
If you need a helping hand at any point in the pet journey, our blog is here for you. We answer all the weird and wonderful cat-related questions and queries you’ve probably thought about but don’t know the answer to such as ‘why do cats wag their tails?’, ‘do cats see colour?’, and ‘do cat whiskers grow back?’.
Creating a kitten-friendly environment is important for new pet owners and introducing them to children requires careful supervision and guidance.
Teaching your children about appropriate behaviour around animals can help them to feel calm around your new kitten. This includes gentle touches, soft voices, and boundaries i.e., telling them the kitten will come to them when he/she is ready to.
Encouraging your children to participate in routines such as feeding or grooming (under supervision) and praising them for being respectful towards your kitten can help to strengthen the bond and create an all-round positive experience for all.
Of course. Kittens actually have a natural instinct to pee in a designated area so with a bit of guidance they’ll be able to do it alone in no time.
The best thing to do is choose a suitable-sized litter tray, introduce it to them, and encourage them to use it when they show signs of needing to go to the toilet.
Keeping the litter tray clean after usage will help them to use it again.
If the litter tray is unclean, your cat friend will be very unlikely to use it. If they do have an accident and pee or poo outside of the box, remain calm - they’re still very young and are constantly learning. After some time, they will understand that the litter tray is the designated space to go.
If your kitten isn’t eating it’s important to address the situation quickly as it could be a sign of underlying health issues. Check for any physical signs or differences in your cat and ensure their feeding area is clean.
Try and tempt them to eat something enticing like warm kitten food. Stimulating their appetite might help them start eating and help get your kitten healthy again.
It's also important to monitor their water intake and prevent dehydration. If your cat hasn’t eaten for more than 24 hours, we urge you to seek veterinary treatment. For a full guide on cat's not eating, click here.
Preventing a kitten from scratching furniture requires a combination of behaviour redirection and providing alternative things to scratch.
Firstly, a scratching post next to your furniture can encourage them to move on from your favourite couch and towards a cat-specific object. When they use their scratching post, praise them with positive reinforcement.
Secondly, attaching temporary deterrents to your furniture such as double-sided tape or aluminium foil will stop your cat from scratching. Regularly trimming their nails will also prevent lasting damage.
Remember, becoming a cat owner is a lifelong commitment that should not be taken lightly. But with the right mindset, information, and resources, you're well on your way to welcoming a new kitten into your home.
Be sure to stay mindful of warning signs of poor conditions or visible health issues when choosing a kitten from a breeder or shelter. at Waggel, we always want to ensure you provide a loving home for a healthy and happy cat while protecting their health with Waggel Pet Insurance!
Need more help? You're in luck if you're a Waggel Pet Insurance member. Along with our excellent coverage, we offer access to a 24/7 online vet to answer all your sticky questions, especially if you need grooming assistance.
Not a member? Why not get a quote now and cover your furry friend for a range of illnesses, all while enjoying our amazing perks and rewards.
Get updates from us with helpful info, advice, answers to frequently asked questions and much more.