Never had a kitten before, help!

posted 2 weeks ago in Pets
Post # 2
1264 posts
Bumble bee

Litter Genie! Get one! Along with knock off refills from Amazon. As well as a big litter box! I literally use an ugly blue basic one from amazon that was 8 bucks. But it serves its purpose very well. The deeper and bigger the better. My cat is pretty clean except she loves to kick up and roll around in litter when we add clean litter. She is also a digger. She has her own dedicated room though so it doesn’t bother me too much. The bigger litter box has certainly helped. You could look into covered litter boxes if the litter box is gonna be in a more public space. 

Honestly, I think cats are the easiest pets out of all. That’s not to say just anyone should be getting a cat. They are still 100% a responsibility. But comparatively, I find them quite easy. Give them love of course, and beyond that you just gotta clean the litter box daily and feed them. Then there’s just the occasional vet and nail clipping maintenance. It’s not like a dog who needs to be walked and trained more strictly. Or a giant fish tank that needs a delicate chemical balance with regular water changes. Or birds who demand more attention and poop all over the place. 

Just keep in mind, don’t have the expectations of your kitten having a specific personality. You’re not guaranteed a cuddle bug. You’re not guaranteed a super playful cat. You really have no idea what you’re gonna get until that kitty comes home and adapt to its new environment. Depending on its age, I’m sure the foster or shelter will have a good guesstimate, but nothing is for sure. I fostered 8 kittens before adopting my now cat. All 8 were cuddle bugs. When I adopted my kitten, a cuddle bug was farrrrrr from what she ever became. I was a bit disappointed at first, but I’ve grown to love and appreciate her for the little hyper diva that she is. 

Ill link some favorite toys from Amazon tomorrow! Dollar Tree toys are also a huge hit if you have one nearby. Congrats on the hopefully soon to be new member of the family! 

Post # 3
722 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2017

My biggest tip is to get two kittens instead of one. 

Post # 4
909 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2020

I am currently deep into kitten ownership so my perspective is a bit fresh! We have an adult cat as well we had to adjust him to so that was an added layer.

Kittens thankfully aren’t too messy. In fact, I’d say they encourage you to keep things clean as any left out cups of water or plates of food might soon find themselves on the floor! They are neat creatures by habit, so they’re pretty easily litter trained and will prefer to go there.

A big tip I would give would to get LOTS of toys! Kittens want to play, play, play for the first year of their life and my little monster is no exception. He drives me absolutely mad sometimes and just reminding myself it will pass in a few months is what’s getting me through, haha.  The best toys we’ve found are ones with long sticks that we can bounce for him while doing other things (like having work calls, watching TV, etc.) Also once that are more interactive help as well, like those ones with balls trapped in a tube.

Also, we have found the best way to teach him not to bite our hands and feet (specifically at night when we are in bed) is simply spraying water from a spray bottle while firmly saying “no!” He’s getting to the point that just saying “no!” seems to be working.

Kittens are menaces when hyper, but oh my goodness are they also so sweet! Congrats on your future bundle! 🙂

P.S. And yes, I would add that if you currently don’t have a cat, two kittens would be easier in some ways if you’re open to it! Our kitten gets a lot of his energy out just from playing with our adult cat.

Post # 5
373 posts
Helper bee

For cleanliness, second a litter genie! We also have litter boxes that have a lid where the cat enters from a hole from the top. This stops from tracking as much litter around as when the hole is on the side. A mat uner the litter box also helps from tracking litter everywhere.

To keep the eating space neat, I recommend getting a food mat for under the bowls. 

Get several scratching posts / towers to keep the cat occupied and leave your couch/chairs alone. Catastrophic Creations makes some pretty amazing cat shelves / posts for the wall. 

Some other tips:

Start as you mean to go on. This means, if you don’t want your cat sleeping in your bed or bedroom for the rest of its life, DO NOT LET IT INTO YOUR BEDROOM. I say this as someone who has to block off the hallway each night so that my six-year-old cat doesn’t come make her ungodly midight howls and rattle my door. She hasn’t slept in my room in three years. It doesn’t matter. She did at one point and she will never forget.

Start trimming nails right away. Play with the kitten’s paws a lot so it gets used to it. I didn’t do this and learned about it too late.

Cats follow a pattern of hunt > eat > sleep. You want your cat to sleep better at night, play with it until it tires out, then feed it.

I also kind of second the two kittens thing. I have two cats, but we got the second one later. They tolerate each other, but never really became friends. Two cats keep will keep each other entertained, especially in the middle of the night when you want to sleep. But one cat is also a lovely companion.

Excited for you! It’s going to be so much fun. Post pictures when you get him/her!

Post # 6
2861 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: March 2017

Fortunately, cats are clean animals and they like it clean, too!! We have the litter box with the entrance on top. Ours like to dig and kick in the box and that keeps the litter from getting everywhere. We have a cat tree for them to climb on and some cardboard scratching pads. I give them lots of positive reinforcement for scratching in the right place. If they have places where they can scratch they should leave alone your furniture. A spray bottle with water can help encourage them. 

We buy the bitter apple spray to put on cords so that the cats don’t want to chew the cords. Cats will cough up hairballs so it’s good to have carpet and upholstery cleaner. We have a robotic vacuum and that really helps the battle with cat hair. 

We have a couch cover on our couch so that we can just throw that in the washer. It keeps us from having to vacuum cat hair off the couch. Our cats love fleece so if you have some fleece blankets for them they’ll probably choose to lie there and get the cat hair on that.


Post # 7
452 posts
Helper bee

Third the litter genie. I would also get a brush if your cat is long haired, a litter mat to sit outside of your litter genie so little litter crusties aren’t all over your floors, a spray bottle with water for bad behavior correcting, lots of toys, they will want to scratch your furniture (unless you’re gwtting them declawed which I don’t do personally) so a scratching post is a must. When they claw up your furniture you just grab them and tell no and then take their paws and bring them to the scratching post and kind of mock scratch with their paws on the scratching post so they get the idea. If they aren’t interested in the scratching post, put some catnip on it. I think that’s about it. Cats are pretty low maintenance. Also I would recommend a quality high protein cat food, and not just solids. I would alternate between solid and wet food. Hope this helps!!! 

Post # 8
576 posts
Busy bee

Just a few random tips:

Forget about the scented litters that stick to their paws are are full of chemicals. I switched to a natural one and it’s the best choice I made for my cat. His paws are always clean and it doesn’t smell at all as long as you take care of it properly. 

One weird thing for cleanliness that worked on each of my rescues: ask the previous caretaker to give you a small bag of litter from his litter box and put it into your kitty’s new litter box at home upon arrival. Cats rely on smells a lot so this will help her settle in. I know it sounds gross but a small amount is enough and it does wonders. 

People say cats are low maintenance but that really changes from one individual to the next. Make sure there is enough stimulation and playtime to satisfy your kitten’s needs. If she’s bored she’ll misbehave (5 am races around the house and scratched furniture essentially come from a lack of playtime). Some of them require A LOT of attention but then again that depends on the cat. She might enjoy a toy, a plastic ball, of maybe all she’ll want is a cardboard. You never know!

A lot of them have a thing for a particular texture (my cat ADORES wool throws but my best friend’s kitten wouldn’t come near them, even now as an adult they’ll use such covers to prevent him from getting on the couch) so provide with plenty of options and let her pick her favorite. 


Post # 9
1203 posts
Bumble bee

Definitely Litter Genie or a covered cat box. Scoop the litter box daily. I highly recommend a heavy duty metal scooper. Cats like clean litter boxes. I scrub mine with hot water and dish soap once a week, plus add new litter. Keep two cat boxes for one cat; 3 boxes for two; etc. Start kitty out on wet and dry food to prevent a picky eater. Feed high quality food and treats. Cat hydration is extremely important. Along with water bowls, I have a couple of cat water fountains around the house, and my cats love them. Start brushing kitten’s teeth while young so that they grow used to it. Same with clipping nails and brushing. Keep lots of different toys to keep kitty from getting bored. Decide now if you’ll allow your cat to sleep in bed with you, or not. I will admit I don’t get as much sleep now as I did before I reacued my boy. He’s a cuddle bug. Invest in a good cat tree. Cats use them often, and love climbing high. Put the tree next to a window so he can watch the activity outside. Cats love soft blankets for kneading. Don’t allow anyone to purposely tease kitty with loud objects, like hair dryers. They’re sensitive, and will become skiddish of such things. I think my boy was chased around by a hairdryer by his previous owner. Or perhaps she bathed him often…One year later, and he is just now able to hang out in the bathroom with me while I dry my hair. He used to run scared, and dive under the bed. He’s making good progress with the vacuum too!

It’s tempting and cute, but cut playtime short when kitty starts scratching and biting. Let kitty have a moment to settle. Cats become overestimated easily, and you can help kitty not attack your hand every time you pet her by not encouraging the behavior from the start. She’ll associate your hand with petting and not playtime. Use long sticks with feathers for chasing, biting, and pouncing. 

If you’re thinking you’ll eventually have two cats, getting two as kittens, and raising them together, is much easier than bringing home a new cat to an established cat’s home. 

I also highly recommend checking out Jackson Galaxy for all things cat. He’s a wealth of good info! 

Post # 10
4108 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

Here’s my tips. We have three cats, two of which we adopted from kittens and one that we adopted at a year old. I also grew up with cats my entire life. 

– If you can, get two kittens. Having a playmate and companion will be critical for the kitty! 

– Have lots of toys – but don’t necessarily spend a ton of money on traditional toys. My cat goes absolutely apeshit over a giant ziptie. They LOVE empty Amazon boxes. Just make sure you do not leave any strings around (they can get knotted in their stomachs and be deadly). 

– Play with your kitten! A bored kitten is a dangerous kitten in that he/she will start getting into stuff they shouldn’t. Also, we used to play with our kittens about 30 min before we went to bed so that they would be sleepy and sleep with us. 

– Invest in a cat tower! Cats need to feel safe and many feel safer being able to climb and get up off the floor. Our cats practically live on their cat tower! Even better if you can put it near a window or a source of natural light!

– If you can’t get a cat tower, an empty Amazon box and a fleece throw will be your cat’s favorite spot to sleep!

– Be mindful of setting a routine. For the first four years of our cats lives, we did NOT do wet cat food. We left hard food out all the time and water for them to drink. I did not want to become tied to a routine. However, last year, one of our cats got sick and needed to be fed wet cat food, which soon turned into ALL cats eating wet cat food, which turned into me being woken at 7:30 every single morning whether it’s a Tuesday or a Sunday because THAT’S THE TIME WE EAT. 

– Scoop your litter box daily. The worst thing you can do to yourself (or your kitty) is let is build up a day or two. I don’t scoop now that I’m pregnant, but my husband does it once a day and it takes one minute tops. 

Post # 11
287 posts
Helper bee

Aw! I’m excited for you guys! My babies are six now, and I miss them being little.

-Wheat Scoop! Best litter I’ve encountered so far. Be sure to sift once a day, though, esp. if you like things clean.

-Invest in vertical structures for them to climb—or they WILL find an alternative (curtains, couches, YOU).

-Do not actively encourage human hand/foot biting or stalking. I know some people think “play biting” is cute in baby animals, but you have to nip that problem in the bud or you could end up with a habitual biter, and adult cat bites are VERY dangerous. If they give you a nip, don’t punish them, but be sure to react immediately by withdrawing (put them down gently/pull your hand away) and ceasing play until they calm down. Kittens learn bite inhibition from their mothers and litter mates typically, but depending on when they were adopted, they may not have gotten that far and therefore won’t necessarily know the difference between a play bite and a serious, painful bite. Bite and stalking play is normal, though, so make sure they have some soft things to gnaw on and pretend to eviscerate that aren’t you (and preferably not your plants/furniture). 

-Try to avoid making high, shrill, sudden noises around them if you can. I know that probably seems like a given, but I have seen some cat owners end up with seriously neurotic cats because they talk to their kitties in what they think of as “friendly” high pitched voices. One of my cats is perfectly fine with lying under the piano when it’s being played, but the minute my SIL comes around and starts squealing about how cute he is, he’s outta there like a shot. I don’t know what the science is on this subject, but in my experience if you want a calm cat, aim for a low-pitched crooning sort of voice when you talk to them, kind of like a jazz radio host, lol. That is, if you plan on talking to them at all. Which I do. Too much, probably 🙂 .

-Get them comfy with having their paws handled EARLY! It will make cutting their nails so much easier, and that is no small thing. When they’re really blissed out while snuggling, try massaging gently between their pads with your fingertips. One of my cats actually LOVES having his feet rubbed now, and even spreads his toes out when you tickle them!

-Overall, let them take the lead. Let them introduce themselves to you and show you what kind of snuggling or play they like. Cats are very much who they are, even as kittens. They WILL NOT conform to your expectations. Some will prefer to sit next to your lap rather than on it. Others will insist on sleeping on your head at night. Some are solitary, others are needy beyond belief. They’re like people, individual, unpredictable, illogical and contrary. They’re also the coolest, softest, nicest, weirdest, best companions ever. 

Good luck with your House Panther!

Post # 12
196 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2017

Do your research and spend the money on a healthy food! Dont let the Vet trick you into buying their recommended brands (vets are literally paid to sell that garbage, blue buffalo and hills science are the ones usually pushed but please dont use these). We use Tiki cat food but if you’re in the states you’ll have different options, just read the ingredients!

We feel half wet and half dry food. Wet food is critical for a cats health, especially if it’s a boy as it is the number one way to prevent crystals in your cats bladder (super common and dangerous). The additional water it will give them will be a huge benefit to your cats health. 

Food is my number one tip, as the majority of the food sold is literal garbage and my pets health is too important. 

Good luck and please post pictures!

Post # 13
287 posts
Helper bee

View original reply
@starwarsbride:  seconding wet food—cats are evolved to absorb the majority of their water from their food, not from chugging straight-up water. Super salty dry kibble all day will drive their thirst, and drinking too much water can shut down a healthy cat’s kidneys. 

Post # 14
281 posts
Helper bee

The litter genie is definitely a good tip! Get LOTS of small scratching posts and put them near any furniture or upholstery you’re worried about the cats scratching. Make it VERY clear from the very beginning what they are and aren’t allowed to scratch on or where they are and aren’t allowed to go, and stick with it. We made the mistake of letting our cats jump on the table, but when we got a formal dining table I established right away that they weren’t allowed on it, and now they don’t go there!

We also recently got a Roomba (the 960 model with pet hair brushes) and it’s been a godsend for keeping fur off our carpet. Like everyone has said, have plenty of toys and make sure you play with them and keep them entertained. Generally, socialize them early and lots. People who think cats don’t need any attention are people who end up with mean or skittish cats. Good luck!! We love our kitties to death and they’re such a wonderful part of our lives!

Post # 15
1606 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2017

Honestly, I’ve always found kittens to be really easy. They learn to use the litter box very very young, and it’s so easy to teach them (just keep putting them there/show them where it is). Only thing I would say is don’t declaw a kitten/cat ever. Otherwise, enjoy the ride. They are super playful and adorable!



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