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Thinking of getting a kitten? The RSPCA took in 29,432 cats in 2019 alone, and reports that abandoned cats and kittens have been in especially dire need of rescue throughout the pandemic. With that in mind, it’s important to be fully aware of the responsibilities of owning a kitten and carefully consider where to get a kitten.
Should I Get a Kitten?
Bringing a kitten into your home is a huge obligation, so consider these important questions before you make the leap.
- Is my home ready for a kitten? A kitten wants to explore every inch of their new home. They’ll want to climb on bookshelves, explore tiny spaces, and play with anything they can get their little paws on. You must be willing and able to make changes to keep your kitten safe and your home intact. Follow these tips to kitten-proof your home.
- Is my family ready for a kitten? You may be introducing a kitten into a home with small children or other pets. Young children who have never been around pets may not yet understand how to treat them. If you do have children and they beg and plead with you to get a new kitten, it’s important to never merely “cave in,” but rather be assured that both you and your kids are ready for the new responsibility. While children may promise to feed, care, and clean up after the cat, you will certainly still have a role in teaching your children how to properly care for the kitten.
- Do you have other pets to consider first? If you already have animals in your home, it may take a while for them to get used to a new pet. Introduce them slowly and don’t leave them alone until you’re certain they’re ready. Remember, current pets are used to receiving all of your attention and can be territorial of the house and you, so it’s important to continue to show the same amount of love to your other pets as you always have to help make the transition easier.
- Do I have enough time to spend with a kitten? Kittens are furry, micro-sized balls of energy who are eager to play with and get to know you. When left alone too often, kittens are more likely to develop behaviour problems later. They need abundant exercise, training, and time to bond with you.
- Do I have the patience to train a new kitten? It’s also important to consider if you have enough patience to train a new kitten. Just like children, kittens require a lot of attention and need to be educated on acceptable behaviour. Ensure you have patience to train your kitten for things such as litter box use, scratching, jumping on furniture.
- Can I afford to care for a kitten? The decision to adopt a kitten is a long-term financial commitment that begins with spaying/neutering, vaccination and identification, and continues for years with food, litter and regular veterinary care. You’ll also need to consider the cost of health conditions your kitten could develop later in life. Check out this breakdown of typical cat expenses from the Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, which also recommends taking out pet insurance to help cover unexpected costs.
- What kind of kitten should I get? Research different breeds before you decide on a particular kitten. Think about how much time you’re able to spend with them, how much room you have, any allergies you have, and what kind of lifestyle you lead.
Choosing the Right Cat for Your Family
Animal rehoming organisations see a significant number of adopted pets returned every year because their new owners didn’t anticipate their needs or could no longer meet them. It can be a traumatic experience for the owner as well as the kitten, so it’s crucial to make sure you find a kitten that’s the right match for you and your family. If you’re not sure what kind of cat is right for you, ask for some advice.
Owners who seek advice and support from family, friends, or a vet before adopting are more likely to keep their kittens and enjoy that special bond.
Where to Get a Kitten
Animal shelters, rescue organisations, and humane societies are filled with loving, healthy cats and kittens who are longing to find a good home. Research shelters in your town to help you find a kitten that’s right for you.
Your vet can also refer you to local rescue groups. Be prepared to provide a home inspection request, as many rescues want to make sure their kittens are going to good homes. Hill’s Facebook page provides a shelter directory tool and can point you to adoption events in your area. If you want a purebred kitten, ask your vet to recommend a local breeder.
Also, be sure to check out our kitten supply list article to prepare yourself for your new furry little friend. Whichever kitten you do decide to bring home, remember to love and care for them like one of the members of the family.