How To Prepare For A New Kitten + Meet Henry

in , by The Classic Brunette, 4:00:00 AM

Hello friends! I thought it was about time that I shared this news here on the blog; I got a new kitten! His name is Henry and I adopted him about a week and a half ago. My poor boy has been sick since coming home from the shelter with an upper respiratory infection, so he was part of the reason why I took that hiatus a little while back. It's hard taking care of a new pet when all you want to do is give them love, but what you really have to give them is medicine. Henry was on five different medications to help him get over his cold, and although he's only on one now, it was pretty rough for a while. He sprung back relatively quickly though and the only way you can tell that he's still sick is because he sneezes every so often.

I wanted to share a little bit about my process adopting him, just in case getting a cat or kitten of your own is something on your mind. For the weeks leading up to adopting him I looked online for EVERYTHING about kittens that I could get my hands on, which is surprisingly not all that much. Just for a little bit of a background on myself, I've grown up with cats my entire life and have also volunteered at a kitten nursery at my local shelter for years. So there was a lot that I already knew coming into this process, however I had never actually owned a kitten. My cats have all been on the older side, and the kittens in the nursery were all newborns, but I was going to be adopting somewhere in between those ages. I didn't want to go in completely blind, so I began my research. Although there were a few tips that I found online, there really wasn't much I didn't already know. So after adopting Henry I figured I would put together a more comprehensive list of things to do when adopting a cat or kitten.

Before Adoption

Buy Your Supplies:
Simple enough, here's what you'll need:
Kitten/Cat food (P.S. Younger than 1 year old = kitten food!) (P.P.S. Might want to ask shelter what food your cat was eating before purchasing)
Litter Box + litter
Scratching Post
Food/Water Bowls
Brush (If long hair)
Cat Carrier 

Kitten Proof Your Place:
Kittens are literal escape artists that love to chew on anything and everything. Loose wires (including iphone and computer chargers) are kitten magnets, so you will have to cover or hide these so your kitten doesn't bite them. They also love to crawl into tiny spaces that they might not be able to make it out of. The best advice I was given was to get onto the floor at a kitten's eye level and inspect each room of your house. Tuck wires away, block all small and dangerous spaces, and make sure they can't hurt themselves and get into trouble anywhere. If you decide to get an older cat, these things won't be much of a problem, however still watch out for the chewing of cords. 

Make Sure You Are Mentally Prepared:
Getting a kitten/cat is a HUGE decision. Many people are under the impression that kittens are much easier than puppies, but they require many of the same responsibilities. Yes, kittens typically know how to use the litter box without training, so that's one thing off your list, but they still need some basic training on how not to bite, claw, etc. As well as love and play time every day. Although cats in general are pretty independent creatures, they are still a lot of work!

During Adoption

Be Open Minded
I went in with an image of what type of cat I wanted. I knew I wanted a black or mostly black male cat or kitten. Although this is exactly what I got, I was so torn when I showed up at the shelter and a female calico cat practically called my name and reached out for me. As many people at the shelters will tell you, the cat chooses the person, not the other way around. I freaked out a little bit because she was not at all what I had imagined adopting, but decided to give her a chance and visit with her. This leads me to my next tip...

Don't Be Afraid To Say No
I've always adopted the first animal I've met within my entire adoption experience. So when I didn't immediately feel connected to the calico cat, something in me got really scared. I thought that maybe I wasn't ready to adopt because I didn't feel for this cat. Or maybe I was never going to find the cat that was perfect for me. I really thought something might be wrong as this had never happened to me before. But I gathered my emotions, told the shelter worker that I wasn't sure about her and would like to visit with a different kitten. That kitten was Henry and within thirty seconds I knew he was supposed to be mine. So don't get discouraged if you don't feel strongly about a few cats that you visit, your perfect little guy or girl will come along.

Ask Questions
PLEASE ASK QUESTIONS! If you know you want an extremely cuddly cat ask one of the shelter workers or volunteers. These people interact with the animals daily and will most likely be able to share which ones have specific personality traits. Keep in mind that the shelter alters personalities a bit, however it's likely the personalities will be similar. It's also important to ask about the cat/kitten's health record and if possible have it tested for the common diseases and get it vaccinated. (many shelters do this anyhow!) If you have other pets in the home you should also ask about how that animal is with that specific type of animal. Some shelters may know this, others might not have a clue.

After Adoption

Introduce Them Slowly
You always want to start your new cat/kitten in one room so that they aren't overwhelmed. I started Henry off in my bedroom, however many people say that a smaller area like a large bathroom is best. Let them explore and understand their new space so that they don't scare themselves! Once they are comfortable let them explore the rest of the house room by room. If you have other pets that you want to introduce them to start by having the established pets coming in contact with the door so they can smell the new pet. I've heard great things about feeding the pets side by side with a baby gate in between them so they associate food and good feelings with the new pet. I'll be honest, I'm still working out how to make Henry and Khaleesi get along without Khaleesi getting overly excited (She loves him, but doesn't understand that he isn't her size and might not love getting bopped in the face by her paws). 

Make A Vet Appointment / Find A Vet
Many shelters allow a free vet appointment after adoption within a certain time frame. Check with your local shelters for vets in the area that accept these free appointments! Even if the shelter did a health screening of your pet it's always best to get a second opinion. For Henry the shelter knew about his respiratory infection and provided medicine, however the vet caught that he also had a fever, fleas (extremely common at shelters), and a few other things that needed to be treated quickly. A healthy pet is a happy pet!!

I know this is a touchy subject for many people, however I believe that spaying/neutering your pets is the responsible thing to do! If that isn't your opinion, I'm not forcing you to listen to me, however I just want to make it known to others that aren't aware. There are so many unwanted litters of kittens and puppies out there that this prevents any litters from happening with your pets as well. It also reduces the risk of some types of diseases including cancer in some pets! So, just think about it!

I would love to hear about your pets in the comments!!

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  1. Henry is so cute. I just got 2 kittens last week. The one item on your list I forgot is a brush, since one is a long haired kitty. Thanks for the reminder.

  2. Aw, Henry is so cute! My husband and I don't have any pets, but always think about getting a puppy.

    Carrie |

  3. When I got my cat, George, he climbed into a small hole in the dust cover under our couch and we couldn't get him out from inside the couch for what felt like a million hours(I'm sure it was 30 minutes.) He's 3 now and still manages to find his way into trouble! Henry is adorable!

  4. Congrats to you and hello Henry! I unfortunately have cat allergies, but I do want to get a puppy eventually and I'm sure many of these tips are similar!!

    xoxo A

  5. OMG! What a cutie! I've wanted a kitty for the longest time, but my husbands allergies are out of this world.
    xo, Lily
    Beauty With Lily

  6. Your cat is so cute! These are all great tips for preparing for having cats :)

    Kristen |

  7. Congrats on your kitty! & I seriously LOVE that you adopted xx the way to go!

  8. Omgggg I still think Henry is one of the cutest things in the world! Adopting a kitty is definitely something I want to do when I graduate and get out on my own, and these are great tips!!

  9. Ahhh this makes me want another cat! We found ours when she was a couple months old, so definitely still a kitten, but we missed SO much of the kitten phase. We never had to kitten-proof the house, she was already pretty well behaved. This all is so good to know! Henry is precious, he has the sweetest face!

  10. Holy cow Henry is ADORABLE! My boyfriend and I watched over a baby kitten a few months ago and this makes me want one of my own so bad!
    Amy | Pastel N Pink

  11. He's darling! My dad just adopted a new kitten from their local vet, they named him Vincent!

  12. OH MY GOODNESS! So cute! I want a cat but I have a dog too so that would take some introducing haha.

  13. WHAT A SWEET LITTLE FUR BABY! My little pup Roux is my whole world! Congrats on the new addition!

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