Hi, this is Christie. Juvy asked me to write a guest post about what you adoptive families should think about as you're getting ready to take your new family member home with you!
Food! We have been feeding Juvy and her kittens Authority brand kitten food, real chicken flavor. We're not saying other cat foods aren't just as good, but Juvy is a little finicky, and she refused to eat the other brand we tried. Authority brand is made by PetSmart and it's their higher-quality for lower-price brand. It compares to the higher-quality foods in ingredients, and we definitely thought it was a great investment for little brains and bodies as they grew. Our old (12-16 year old) cats like this food, too, and it is helping our cat in renal failure (Baltazar's kidneys aren't working very well) to have more of an appetite and more energy. Usually kittens eat kitten food for one year.
Catnip! Greg and I didn't give our cats catnip for about 10 years because we thought it was drugs for cats. They do act like they're on drugs (and sometimes they get the munchies!), but it calms them and makes them do funny things, so what does it hurt?! We now love it. It also helps because we sprinkle it on their scratching posts where we WANT them to scratch, and they focus there rather than on furniture.
A nail trimmer. This one is what the special cat nail trimmers look like. I have already trimmed some of the kittens' nails, and the earlier you make this a habit, the less the cat will mind it when s/he is an adult. However, it's important not to trim the quick of the cat's nails, and kittens' quicks are hard to tell apart from their normal nails, so it's better to wait until you can definitely tell the pink quick apart from the white nail. It's not hard, just takes care and sometimes two people. I will post a video later of how to trim a cat's claws.
Litter and a litter box! We have a tiny litter box for the kittens right now because they can't climb over the edge of a big one. We use Tidy Cats litter NON-CLUMPING. It doesn't smell terrible and it's not too dusty. Also, the bags are nice to take old litter out in because they are sturdy and don't rip. The clumping stuff (it looks like gray sand) is bad for cats. When the cat licks her paws that have the clumping litter in between her toes, the litter goes down into her digestive system and does what it's created to do (clump!) and it can cause digestive blockages. Not good!
A scratching post! This one was $24.99 at Marshall's. Cats naturally love the sisal rope and the carpet, and they usually run right over and go to town scratching. By the way, our cats all have all their claws and they do not scratch on furniture (even though one of our family cats was adopted as an adult - it's even easier with kittens). We trained them by having a water squirter nearby and squirting them with that any time they looked as if they were going to scratch on something. Also, we provide lots of appropriate places to scratch (cats NEED to scratch - it's biological - they can't help it) and remind them that it's more fun on those place by supplying lots of catnip in those spots. There are $5 scratching pads made of cardboard available at Target (here is a link to an example), and they are WONDERFUL. Our cats love them and we have four of them in the house in various places. They even come with a bag of catnip! If your kitten wakes up every morning and heads over to your couch for her morning stretch and scratch, put the scratching post/pad right there by the couch and sprinkle lots of catnip on it. Pretty soon, she'll decide the scratching post/pad is waaaaaay more fun.
Here is some video of the cardboard cat scratcher + catnip and the hilarious fun that can ensue!!!
Baltazar having some fun:
Claude using the scratching pad appropriately:
Juvy, thanks for letting me make a guest post to share with our readers some of the equipment that they might need to have in place before they take their kitten home!