New Kitten Care Tips: Four Things I Learned as a New Cat Mum

Kitten with Toys

Friday 10th July 2020 is National Kitten Day! While I love literally all the cats, I have a particular soft spot for kittens. Their teeny paws, their little meows, and just the fact that they’re so bloody cute. National Kitten Day encourages us to celebrate all the things we love about kittens and to promote adoption. I’ve grown up with cats my whole life, and every cat we’ve owned in my family was brought to us as a kitten, so I’ve gotten pretty used to the things you should and shouldn’t do. So, in honour of National Kitten Day, I thought I’d put together a little post on kitten care, and the most important things I’ve learned as a cat mum over the years.

Disclaimer: There are no affiliate links in this post, and all advice is based on my own experience combined with advice from various sources, listed at the end of this post.

New Kitten Care Tips

Getting a Kitten

Many of my regular readers will know that I adopted Tilly from Cats Protection when she was around 12 weeks old. As a child, most of our kittens were found via newspaper and shop window ads, but I made the decision as an adult to adopt one via my local charity. Not only did I want to give a home to a little kitty that needed it, but by adopting through Cats Protection it meant that Tilly was fully ready to come home with us. Adopting through an organisation like Cats Protection means that your new fur baby will be vaccinated, micro-chipped and neutered before you bring them home, although different animal charities will vary, so it’s worth checking this beforehand. If you’re looking at getting a kitten through a breeder, it’s worth checking out this page by Cats Protection, which has some great tips on what you need to look out for. Before bringing a kitten home, you should also make sure you have all of the essentials. 

Your New Kitten Checklist – The Basics

  • Litter tray and litter
  • Cat bed
  • Cat carrier
  • Kitten food and treats
  • Food and water bowls
  • Kitten toys
  • Scratching post
  • Brush/comb

You’ll also need to look into sorting some pet insurance, as well as finding a veterinary surgery near to you. Make sure you set up each area for your new kitten too, such as where they’ll sleep, eat and use their litter tray. It’s also a good idea to do a little ‘cat proofing’ on your home too, such as removing any hazards and sealing off any areas where they can hide or get stuck!

New Kitten Care Tips

We brought Tilly home on the 4th November 2013. It was the first time that I’d looked after a cat solely on my own – beforehand it was always under my Mum’s supervision! Liam hadn’t had pets before, so it was all down to me. Tilly settled in pretty quickly and it soon became clear that she loved cuddles and attention! In those first few weeks of being a cat mum, I learned four key things:

1: Time It Right

We brought Tilly home on a Monday evening. At the time, I was working Thursday to Sunday, while Liam was Monday to Friday. I had to go on a training course that Wednesday, but I had all of Tuesday to spend with her, and it meant I could spend some time with her and give her plenty of cuddles. As I was only away for a shorter time on my course day, it meant it was a way of easing her into being left alone. My point being, time it right so that you can spend a day or two with your new fur baby. Consider your working hours before you bring your new kitten home – for example, it’s not fair to bring them home one evening and then head off to work for 8 hours the next day.

Baby Tilly
Cuddles on our first day together

2: Let Them Come To You

Bringing a kitten home might be exciting for you, but for them, being separated from their mum and their siblings can be rather scary. It’s that when you first bring them home, they won’t want to socialise straight away. They may even hide away somewhere. It’s important to remember that this is perfectly normal, and you shouldn’t force them into playing or coming out of their hiding spot, as this can make them more stressed. Even if they don’t want to come out of the cat carrier straight away, that’s fine, leave them to it and they’ll come out when they’re ready. Tilly hid under the coffee table for three hours when we first brought her home, and while it was a bit upsetting to see her as anxious as she was, by leaving her to it, it meant she was able to come out on her own terms when she felt ready. She eventually came out and sat on the sofa next to us watching How I Met Your Mother. She loves a bit of telly.

Baby Tilly 2
Watching How I Met Your Mother

3: Use the Same Food & Litter

When we first brought Tilly home we were advised to keep her on the same food and litter to start with, and if we wanted to change it later on to do it gradually. The food aspect is often because kittens have sensitive tummies, so any sudden changes in their diet might upset their stomachs. It’s often best to go for special kitten food instead of adult cat food too, as it’s designed especially for their small tummies and contains all of the nutrients they need. We started Tilly off on Felix Kitten, which is what she was being fed at her foster home, and to be honest she still eats Felix to this day. We tried her on different brands but Felix seemed to be the one she liked best, so we didn’t really see any reason to change it. Although this August, she’ll be old enough to make the transition to the Senior food – I’m not sure I’m emotionally ready for that.

Similarly with the litter, we were told to stick to the same type as it would make it easier for Tilly when it came to helping her find the tray when she needed it. Any cat lover will know that cats are creatures of habit, and they really don’t like change! We were also mindful of the fact that we were renting our house – our landlord was nice enough to let us get a kitten, so we didn’t want to abuse that fact by being careless with the toilet training! We still use litter to this day as Tilly’s a house cat, and we’ve always used the wood pellet type. It’s much better for hiding any smells, and as it’s biodegradable, it’s much better for the environment. Plus, you don’t get the dust cloud that you normally get with the typical cat litter!

The bottom line, start out with the same food and litter that your breeder or rescue centre uses to help make the transition easier for your new kitten. You can change it later on, but make sure you do it gradually so your kitten has plenty of time to get used to it!

4: Keep Them Entertained

Play is an important part of a kitten’s development, as it teaches them how to interact with other animals and humans safely and appropriately. Before they leave their mothers, they’ll often play with their siblings, which is where they learn to play without biting or using their claws. Of course, when we bring them home, it’s down to us to keep that up. Animal charity Blue Cross suggests that kitten toys such as fishing rods can be a good place to start as they’re designed to keep their claws and teeth away from our hands, while it’s also a good idea to throw toys so your kitten can be encouraged to chase and pounce. For an extra challenge, puzzle toys are also a good boredom buster, but make sure that you supervise your new fur baby while they’re playing! Shops such as Pets at Home often have specific kitten toys available too, which are designed to keep them active and happy, all while being safe sizes for little paws!

Baby Tilly 2
If all else fails…pop the washing machine on.

Of course there are plenty more lessons to be learned when it comes to getting a kitten, so it’s important to do your research beforehand to make sure you’re fully prepared! In addition to the references I’ve used to put this post together, I’ve also included a couple of links at the end of this post that have more handy information on finding kittens for adoption and advice for bringing a kitten home for the first time. 

Fellow fur-parents! What lessons did you learn when you brought your new kitten home for the first time? Let me know in the comments!

References & Helpful Articles

Blue Cross – Caring For Your Kitten
Blue Cross – Kitten and Cat Advice
Cats Protection – Adopt a Cat Advice
Cats Protection – Buying a Kitten
Pets at Home – My First Kitten
Vets4Pets – Bringing a Kitten Home
Vets4Pets – Getting Ready for Your New Kitten
Vets4Pets – Litter Training Your Kitten

Featured image by Kim Davies on Unsplash.

17 thoughts on “New Kitten Care Tips: Four Things I Learned as a New Cat Mum

    1. She knows it too! 🤣 It’s quite sad when they look all lost and upset but I think you definitely have to let them get on with it – I think the sooner you do that the sooner they start to come to you for cuddles! x

      Like

  1. Oh my god she’s soooo cute! I’ve never had a cat because my Dad doesn’t like them (I know right). I can imagine having a new kitten is just as hard as having a new dog but they all have such specific needs when they’re little! x

    Liked by 3 people

    1. She was the cutest! (She still is of course but looking back at her baby pics I just can’t even 😍) They really do – I think puppies of course need a lot more attention when you first bring them but so many people have the assumption that cats are independent right from the start even though that’s not the case! Thank you for reading x

      Like

    1. She definitely is but I’m of course biased! 😂 Kittens are absolutely adorable but I felt so much guilt leaving Tilly for work all the time! If my husband let me I would definitely get another one though! Thank you for reading 🙂 x

      Like

  2. Awwww so cute! It’s so lovely when you get to bring your pet home. I remember when I was younger and got a kitten she used to sit on my shoulder. Kittens are so funny. You’ve given great tips in this post 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much 🙂 I have so many pics of Tilly doing cute stuff when she was a baby – she turns 7 this year so she’s more into napping than anything else but she still loves cuddles so I’m not complaining! x

      Like

    1. That’s good you’ve gotten used to them! I’ve grown up with cats thankfully so they’ve always been a norm for me. I think once you get used to them you can’t be without them! Thank you for reading lovely x

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I love how you adopted your kitty! Adoption is seriously the way to go. I adopted Timon in 2017 from the shelter when I was dealing with major depression. He helps with my mood and I call him my therapy cat!

    As a child, my parents got a cat from the newspaper. Although this cat was a gorgeous half-Persian, she was a snarly, mean cat. For now on, I’m going to continue adopting from the shelter after having a positive experience with my current cat, Timon.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh that’s so lovely that Timon is your therapy cat! Tilly has certainly been mine when I’ve needed her, jumping on my lap when I’ve been crying and snuggling up to me ❤ They always know! I know what you mean – while most of our experiences with cats via newspaper ads etc were positive, I feel you get the extra peace of mind with adopting in that they’re chipped/vaccinated/neutered, and quite often they’re used to interaction as the home/fosterers have been giving them plenty of cuddles! Thank you for reading xx

      Like

  4. Awwwww, Tilly is so gorgeous! It seems ages since we had a kitten in the house but I can still remember ours hiding under the coffee table too. And getting into places I hadn’t sealed off properly. These are great tips, Amy! x

    Liked by 2 people

    1. She’s my little angel for sure! It’s quite funny looking at the amount of things she could fit into/under, but now she’s a bit too pudgy! Thank you for reading Lisa 🙂 xx

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s