What to consider when getting a kitten

If you’re thinking about bringing a new kitten or young cat into your home, there are a few things you need to consider and prepare for in advance of their arrival.

Buy or rehome?

Whichever option you choose, you will need to invest time and money to find a suitable kitten or young cat. If you decide upon adoption, you should arrange a visit your local animal shelter. You'll be asked to fill out some paperwork so that they can help pair you with the one that best suits your lifestyle as well as their needs.

Taking time to choose a cat is important. The average lifespan of a cat is 15 years so you'll need to factor in costs for their food, treatments and pet insurance into your monthly budget.

You’ll also need to think about their breed because the size, temperament and needs will vary. For example, longhaired breeds need regular grooming to prevent their fur matting and some breeds shed more fur than others.

Meet kittens

This is the best part – visiting reputable breeders or an adoption centre, and finding a suitable kitten to bring home when they're old enough to leave their mother. There are a few things to consider when making your decision.

Firstly, if you’re buying a kitten, make sure they were bred and reared in the same location and observe the kitten’s behaviour.

Secondly, make sure you enquire about the mother’s health and if you can ask to meet her. Does she greet you in a calm, amicable manner? Genes can influence friendliness and a friendly mother will pass on their genes.

In addition, if she is relaxed and interactive with people this will act as an example to her kittens.

Get everything ready at home

Once you’ve picked your kitten, it’s time for them to discover their new home! A kitten needs lots of attention and stimulation. You will need to discourage it to use a carpet-covered scratching post to avoid damage to your furniture.

Create a safe area for your new arrival; keep your kitten’s bed in a quiet place and give them time to settle. 

Litter training is easy because cats instinctively bury their waste, but it does take patience! Place the kitten in the litter box and show them how to use it by gently taking one of her front paws to simulate digging with it. Praise them if they use the box, but don't punish them if they have the odd accident.

Read our Moving house with your pet article for more tips on how to introduce your kitten to their new home.

Find a vet and get pet insurance

Register your kitten with a vet and book them in for a health check within a few weeks of them joining your family. Even if your kitten has been to the vet before with the breeder, it is still important to establish an early relationship with your vet.

At the appointment, be prepared to answer questions about your new pet including if it has been micro-chipped, had any vaccinations, and when it was last wormed or received a flea treatment.

You should consider getting pet insurance as vet fees can be costly.

Find out more about what we cover and get a quote.

If you’re rehoming a cat from the RSPCA, we offer 6 weeks' free insurance to ensure your new pet is covered straight away*.

For further information about re-homing a cat visit the RSPCA website.

*Standard conditions and eligibility apply


Download our Guide to getting a kitten checklist

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