How To Prepare For Your New Kitten

\\\ New Kitten

\\\ updated October 2021

Welcoming your new kitten to your family and home

Tips on how to prepare in advance + collecting your kitten + first week in their new home


You may be a first time owner of a kitten or cat so there’s a few practical details you need to know preparing to bring your new pet home.

Kittens shouldn’t leave their mother until they are about 12 weeks old, however, many do after 8 weeks. 12 weeks is a good time because they’ve learned lots of skills from their mother for their future life alone including how to use a litter tray and feeding.

To bring your pet home safely, you’ll need to buy a cat carrier which is obtainable from most pet online shops and allow for the kitten to grow to cat size. Likewise, there are other considerations such as the kitten’s first scratch post, a bed, food and drink bowls, and litter tray. See our checklist of first essentials further below.

Take time to purchase the right type of kitten food and litter for their litter tray. Ask the breeder what food your kitten will be eating when you take it away and times of feeds so that you can initially keep the routine.

Kitten playing with a butterfly in garden

Your Breeder

Before you pay for your new pet, it’s important to check the paperwork with the breeder as to whether the pet has been vaccinated for common diseases, including feline leukemia and cat flu. The breeder should be able to give you the kitten’s and vet’s information. After a year, your kitten, now a full-grown cat will require a booster vaccination and continually every year throughout its life.

Tabby kitten

Vets And Insurance

Explore the local vets and make your choice which one you prefer for your kitten. Friends are sometimes a helpful guide as are customer ratings left about local vet service.

Your kitten will need to be treated soon after arriving home by the vet checking it’s healthy, no fleas and worms, and be weighed.

You may consider if the breed will be large enough, to in-time get your kitten microchipped. especially If an expensive breed. Read our Microchip Feature.

If you’ve decided not to breed from your kitten in time, then you may wish to neuter the kitten at around six months old at your vet’s practice.

Routine flea and worming treatments are necessary but can be done at home regularly, and are required by pet insurers if you decide to insure your pet. Read our Pet Insurance Guide.

Joining Other Pets In The Family

Your kitten may be joining a pet-friendly house already with another dog.

It’s important that they don’t feel nervous with bigger animals around them and letting them smell their scent by leaving toys in each other’s room is a good idea.

Accompany the kitten on its first meeting with the other pet, and introduce them slowly. Individual pet beds are essential so they both have their own space when they want it in the future.

It’s important that they don’t feel nervous with people and bigger animals around them and letting them smell their scent by leaving toys in each other’s room is a good idea.

Signs of feeling safe are licking, nuzzling, blinking, and head-bumping. Signs that your kitten is stressed and unhappy are when they hiss, hunch back, and thrash their tail around.

Kitten sitting on a wall

Venturing Outside

It’s best that your kitten stays put in the home until after it has had its second injection. Vet’s feel it’s best that they can venture out a week later or around 4 months old with your company in your garden.

Kittens that are going to be homebound, then this is not a problem.

If you are a busy family you may like to consider purchasing a cat flap for your kitten to come and go without restrictions or allow it entrance back into the home once and not out again whilst you are out. There are various types with different setting flaps available.

Kittens are best allowed out on their own at around six months.

If you have children they have possibly already named the new kitten. Start using it immediately and they will soon learn to recognise it and respond.

Kitten outside
Playing With Your Kitten

Having a few minutes during the day several times is essential to play with your kitten. In time your kitten will grow sharper nails, and could scratch you when playing so it’s wise to use toys from the beginning!

Playtime together may only last a few minutes being so small.

Kittens and cats do like to sleep up to 15 hours a day and it’s always best not to disturb them if they are asleep.

Signs of feeling safe are licking, nuzzling, blinking, and head-bumping. Signs that your kitten is stressed and unhappy are when they hiss, hunch back, and thrash their tail around.

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Routine Kitten And Cat Treatments


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  • Flea & Tick
  • Calming, 
  • Worming
  • Dental
  • Digestion & Stomach
  • Skin & Coat
  • Supplements
  • Ear & Eye
  • Joints & Mobility needs

\\\ Your Kitten At Home

Preparing For Your Kitten
Choosing A Room

Keep your kitten in one room of the house for the first week, with access to a warm bed, food and water bowls, a litter tray. Your new pet needs to feel safe and content before being allowed more space to explore.

The Litter Tray

For young kittens, it is best to have a shallow tray where climbing in and out is easy for them to access.

There is special kitten litter to buy from good pet retailers which is highly recommended.

Kitten on window sill

It’s important to buy regularly new toys for your kitten and later on as a cat especially if they are live-inside pets. A scratch post is essential or scratching material so they avoid your household furnishings. It’s also time to engage and play with your pet for stimulation.

No Exits

In the first few weeks, it’s important that your kitten has no exits from your home or dangerous gaps they could squeeze behind and become stuck. Check the designated room carefully, and then the rest of the house, even changing the room layout if required.


Kittens love exploring and if you leave your washing machine door open, if they can, they will try and hop in. It also includes freezers, tumble dryers, drawers, even waste bins.

It’s time to keep the loo seat down and teach the rest of the family to close furnishings and equipment after use checking your pet isn’t inside them.


Do not give any human food to your kitten. Teach young children not to give tip bits as these can be toxic and kill especially their chocolate. Read our Food feature page for more information. Make sure hot drinks are put onto high tables where they cannot be knocked over by pets who can scold themselves.

Open Fireplaces

Living in the country is prone to having more open indoor fireplaces, so if not already purchased, invest in a sturdy fire guard and don’t leave your pets unattended near fires. This includes barbecues, outside heating and even burning rubbish at the bottom of the garden. Check that no animals are in the burning container including hedgehogs that so easily crawl into bonfires and don’t leave hot embers lying around that can burn pet paws.

Likewise never leave candles lit around the home unattended. Pets can easily singe their fur just by brushing against a candle and can tip the candle over causing damage.

Kitten sitting on the window sill
Detergents And Other Chemicals

Lock away all household detergents and chemicals, preferably above waist height and where pets cannot access them, being hazardous. Also check the garden shed and make sure a kitten couldn’t find these when exploring.


Homes have plenty of electrical wires which are dangerous to kittens and any pet when chewed through or when they accidentally get tangled up in them. Anything that dangles is potential of interest to any kitten so make a double-check around the home, especially soft furnishing trims.

Small items

Kittens will play with anything they find including beads left on the floor, pens, cotton threads. Check the designated room for anything tiny that may be loose on the floor that they could chew and potentially choke on and then around the other rooms in the home.

Collecting Your Kitten

Collecting your kitten will be a traumatic experience for the mother and the rest of the litter let alone your new pet.

Kitten sitting on carpet

Taking the time and gently taking it away from its siblings is important and making sure you remember to take your cat carrier with you to ensure your kitten is safe during the journey home.

In the prepared room at home, make sure the door is closed and gently open the cat carrier door and let your new arrival come out exploring at their own speed.

They may be very nervous being away from their mother for the first time and be cautious about everything they do.

Keep your new arrival in the prepared room so they can familiarise themselves safely in their new home.

Show your kitten where the litter tray is in the room that you have prepared for them. Kittens and cats are naturally clean animals and should take to using it automatically.

After a few minutes, it can be useful to introduce a small amount of kitten food and this will be comforting for them. Make sure they can see where the water bowl is placed away from the litter tray.

Your kitten may be distressed being away from its mother for the first night. Take time to comfort it, sitting quietly with your new kitten, stroking it, and make sure it knows it has a warm cosy bed. The bed shouldn’t be made of loose fluffy material that the kitten could pull at and choke on the contents.

Keep returning to the closed room checking on your pet and spending a few minutes with it each time, unless sleeping, and then do not disturb.

Kitten by the window

It is important to keep your kitten safe in a room until you visit the vet for its check and received all vaccinations.

Each day the kitten should become more confident in its safe environment and after vaccinations, it’s time to allow it more freedom around the parts of your house as kittens can escape very easily.


Take time to secure away anything sharp from the garden left lying around when your kitten ventures out. Some plants are dangerous and you can read about those in our Pet Gardens Feature, as are indoor plants.


If you have young children supervise them with the kitten at all times. Teach them to be very gentle with the kitten, be relaxed, and not too noisy.

Cat Flaps
Kitten and Cat flaps
SureFlap range of Microchip Cat Flaps

Sureflap is the trusted name when it comes to cat flaps. This flap identifies your cat using their unique identification microchip, unlocking only for your pet when they enter the home, preventing intruder cats from gaining access. Suitable once your kitten has had all vaccinations and is strong enough to be able to come and go from the home.

  • The cat flap works by reading your cat’s existing identification microchip (no collar required),
    For non microchipped pets, you can use the SureFlap collar tag.
    Selective entry – any animal can exit. The microchip reader is located on the outside of the cat flap only
  • Stores up to 32 pet identities in memory. Remembers all registered cats even when the batteries are removed
  • Low battery indicator light flashes red when the batteries start running low giving you plenty of time to change them
  • 2 colours available. #Ad.
  • Watch the short video
New Kitten Checklist

You’ll need to be prepared with the following supplies –

  • Kitten pet food
  • Food bowl
  • Water bowl
  • Safe cat carrier (appropriate for size)
  • Kitten collar with engraved ID tag (small size)
  • Scratching post
  • Kitten bed
  • Litter Tray
  • Kitten Litter
  • Kitten toys
  • Flea and tick treatment

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