Things to Know Before Getting a Kitten

My kitten, Clementine, when she was just a few months old. Photo by Jessica Collins

So you’re thinking of getting a new kitten, but you’ve only ever had adult cats or never had a cat at all. What do you need to get to prepare? The essentials: litter box, food, toys, scratcher, treats, catnip. More importantly, though, what do you need to know? Here are a few tips and tricks to know before taking that step to getting a lifelong best friend. 

The first thing is how old you want the kitten to be when you adopt. You may realize you don’t want a kitten at all. Adopting an older cat can sometimes be better for people who don’t have the time or energy to handle a new kitten, and it gives older cats to feel loved once more. 

“Adopting age depends on how much work you’re willing to put in,” cat lover Alexis Hutchins said. “If you want to train the kitten yourself no sooner than eight weeks, but as soon as possible once the kitten reaches eight weeks of age.” 

So to help you decide, visit shelters and adoption agencies or friends with cats, and see which age would be better suited for your likings. 

“If you’re planning to get a kitten, make sure you’re ready for the level of responsibility,” Hutchins said. “It’s like having a toddler running around your house or apartment 24/7.”

Another major thing to consider is vet visits, as you would most likely need them spayed or neutered and possibly microchipped if you’d like. Vet visits are also important for any emergency that may arise within the first few months. You have to be prepared for that bill and to treat your kitten’s condition accordingly. 

Hutchins’ kitten, Charlie. Photo by Alexis Hutchins. 

“My kitten Charlie had an ear infection when I first brought him home that I had to learn how to treat,” Hutchins said.

“They, of course, prescribed ear drops, which you honestly just put a few drops in each ear a couple times a day for however long the bottle says, and that’s it,” Hutchins said. “Charlie didn’t like it, though, so I had to wrap him up like a burrito, put the ear drops in, and also rub them in to make sure he didn’t just shake them out.” 

Overall, the main thing to think about before getting a new kitty is if you want that responsibility, because it is a huge one. It’s OK if you don’t because new pets can be overwhelming.  Whatever you choose, it should feel like it’s better for you and the cat you end up adopting, kitten or not. 

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