The joy of a new kitten or cat is magical.  It can also be overwhelming.  It has been said ‘there’s no such thing as as free kitten” and the costs should be considered before you venture into pet ownership.

Whether you adopt an animal from a shelter, purchase from a breeder or accept as a gift, you pet will need a few things.  Aside from the usual food, water and shelter, your new pet will need a Veterinarian and vaccines at some point.  Be sure to get a record of all shots when you receive your new pet and take it with you to your first visit.  If there is no record, your vet will assist you in determining which vaccines are needed.

Some Basics

Food  - If possible, find out what the cat/kitten has been fed, so you can continue to feed it or if you choose to change, you can transition* your new pet into a new food.

Bowls - We at Key West Dog prefer bowls to be made from a material that bacteria cannot leech through, such as ceramic, sealed pottery or stainless steel.  We are not fans of plastic, no matter how cute they may be, unless they are sealed to prevent leaching.

Crate - CRATE A CAT??!! Yes, we are suggesting that crating your cat on occasion is a good thing. How many times have you had to lock the kitty in a bedroom or bathroom while, a workman did a repair, or company was over, or you had something going on that required you to leave the doors open.  Making a crate a safe retreat for a cat, is a wonderful alternative and there is no chance of escape because someone forgot and opened the door.  We at Key West Dog have a few kitties.  Our indoor kitty Juno, can be regularly found sacked out in her crate.  At Christmas time, she sleeps all night long in her crate, because she thinks the decorations are her personal toys.  She loves her crate.  She especially loves her crate when guests with small children or other dogs come to visit.  Her crate is her safe zone and no one bothers her while she is in it.

Litter Box and Litter - Potty training any pet can be quite a challenge.  Most cats/kittens take to it instinctively.  Be sure to provide 1 litter box for every cat you have and/or scoop multiple times per day. If your new pet is not potty trained already, you will need to make accommodations for an accident inside.  Cats can be very particular with their bathroom habits, so be prepared to be accommodating. Change types of litter, litter box location, maybe even a privacy top. If you find that you have a cat that simply refuses to go in its box, speak with your veterinarian, there are several products on the market to assist.

Grooming Tools - Many cats/kittens have extremely clean habits, but even those kitties need a good brush out with a slicker brush now and again.  It is suggested that you brush your cat/kitten from the moment they arrive in your home.  Brush them, touch them, touch their feet, their bellies, their tail.  Groom them, but not in a playful way, groom them so they become accustomed to being touched without scratching or getting too excited.  In the long run, this will help you, as the pet owner, to attend to any issues that may arrive throughout their lifetime.  Your veterinarian will thank you as well.  If you have adopted an older cat that has not become accustom to being groomed, most veterinarians can perform services such as nail trimming, bathing, etc. at a reasonable price.

Something To Scratch - Most of us don’t appreciate having our belongings such as furniture and drapes scratched, so it helps to have something your cat/kitten is allowed to scratch available from the start.  Many cats scratch whatever they can find.  It is important to be sure that you give your cat/kitten something they are will not harm them or your.  There are several stylish cat scratchers available today that will complement your home.   Check out our huge selection of cat scratchers.

Toys - There are so many great toys to choose from for your new pet.  Stuffed toys that look like monsters, toys with strings, rubber toys, toys with feathers, toys filled with catnip, the list is endless.  Regardless of which toys you pick for your pet, for safety sake, please remember to never leave your pet alone with its toy.

A Virtual Mom - Many kittens are used to the warmth of their mother and siblings and their mother’s heartbeat. Many new kittens may not be able to sleep without these.  You can wrap a warm water bottle in a towel and place an old style alarm clock (one that ticks) in with the puppy when you put them to sleep in their new crate.  Or, you can check out  Snuggle Kitties, the ‘virtual mom’ stuffed animal with warmer and battery operated heart beat.

When changing the type of food you are feeding, transitioning your pets food is necessary for most pets to prevent digestive upset.  Some pets transition quickly, some do not.  As a rule of thumb, transitioning over 4 weeks will ensure your pets digestive health.


    Week One - 75% Current (old) food / 25% new food

    Week Two - 50% old food / 50% new food

    Week Three - 25% old food / 75% new food

    Week Four - 100% new food

New Kitten/Cat Needs ~

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