Adopting A Kitten: 6 Foolproof Tips To Get You Started

If you have been around here the last week and a half, you will know A and I adopted a sweet little kitten into our lives. Her name is Isabel and she’s 3lbs of pure joy. We have had a cat before as a married couple, but adopted him as an adult (which, btw, is MUCH different than adopting a kitten). Both of us had had kittens before but just growing up, never as a couple. We lovelovelove cats, and if you are considering getting a new furry friend, here are some tips to give you a head start on this whole pet adoption situation, especially if it is your first pet with your spouse!


 
Nothing beats having a new kitten. They are playful, loud, needy, snuggly and MY GOODNESS are they cute. But there certainly is a trick to choosing and owning the perfect kitten. 
adopting a kitten
Izzy happened to be a gift to Adam and I for Valentine’s Day after losing our Felix last month very suddenly. Our house was quiet and sad and we decided we needed another cat to help us heal. We debated getting another adult, but ultimately decided we wanted to raise our new family member from the ground up. My parents and sister spent a long time finding the perfect kitten for us and we were overwhelmed with love. The thing is, a little kitten has to mesh with BOTH of you, so that is where it can sometimes get tricky!

Choosing The Age. 

Many shelters will try to adopt out kittens between 6-8 weeks old. While you can, of course, adopt them at that time, I recommend waiting until AT LEAST 12 weeks. By this time, they are vaccinated, most likely spayed, and mom and siblings were able to correct some of the bitey behavior kittens can be prone to. They are also typically potty trained by this time so there isn’t any worry that your new kitty friend won’t use a litter box. If you get them earlier, you just have to make sure you teach them manners. 😉

adopting a kitten Choosing The Right Temperament.

In my experience people feel one of two ways about cats: either they HATE them or they LOVE them. You want to choose a cat that will be kind to strangers, social and friendly. When you are picking out a kitten, it is important to choose one that greets strangers, is active and playful, has bright eyes, purrs and doesn’t hide or shy away when new people come into the room. Izzy is the biggest snuggler — at night she prefers to be right up on my neck, purring away. She greets new friends at the door and likes to walk around and say hello to everyone. She is a lap sleeper and is EXTREMELY active and playful. It is sometimes hard to gauge a cat’s eventual personality but they do show tell-tale signs between 8-12 weeks. 

Get In To See The Vet Right Away.

It is super important to see a vet right away after you get your kitten. In Izzy’s case, I wanted to make sure her spay stitches were healing properly. She also started showing signs of a slight Upper Respiratory Infection (super common for cats in shelters), so she needed to be put on an antibiotic to fight that off right away. The vet can tell you how much to be feeding and ensure your kitty is in top condition.
adopting a kitten

Bathroom Train Your Kitty.

Little kittens have TINY bladders. I mean TINY. Any adult cat bladder is roughly the size of a golf ball, and a kitten’s bladder is about 1/4 of the size of that. When you first bring them home, they should be placed in a small enclosed room to get used to where the litter box is. We have Izzy’s in the bathroom right now until we switch her over to the laundry room. She isn’t allowed full roaming of the house without us home yet, so we keep her in there while we are out so she doesn’t get confused about where to go potty. So far, she hasn’t had a single accident and she’s been VERY good. 
 

Kitten-Proof Your House.

AKA hide your cords. In a kitten’s defense, cords look an awful lot like the little strings and toys they are allowed to play with. Electrical cords can be very dangerous for them if they chew through them. So, not only is it annoying to have to replace your phone charger, but it can also seriously hurt your cat. Hide them and watch your kitten closely when playing near them. If you keep plants in your home, do some research because a lot of plants are dangerous and even fatal to kitties.
adopting a kitten

Please Don’t Declaw.

Many people are under the misconception that declaw means simply remove the nail from the cat paw. Instead, the surgery consists of remove the entire first knuckle of the cat paw. This can cause problems using the litter box because litter can enter their wounds and cause an aversion to the box. It can cause behavioral changes because walking on their paws becomes painful. Declawing has also been linked to joint problems because your cat has to learn to walk differently without that first knuckle. Instead of declawing, invest in trimming their nails or covering the nails with claw caps. We love this option. They are little silicon caps that cover the claw (kind of like acrylic nails). They are non-toxic and the cat claws can still retract back into their sheath. Painless and your furniture and arms don’t have to suffer. 

ONE-STOP KITTEN SHOP: All the essentials you need to get started.

Litter Boxes + Litter:

 
Cat Food + Bowls:
 
Toys + Scratching Posts:
adopting a kitten

I hope this article helped those of you looking to adopt a kitten either for the first time or just looking to brush up on kitten owning tips. 
 
Cats are literally the best. They pretty much take care of themselves as adults, and if you are lucky, you end up with a friend and cuddle buddy. They are PERFECT pets for an apartment, as well. Basically, cats are wonderful and everyone needs one!
adopting a kitten
 
Do you have a fur baby at home? Let me know in the comments below the best thing about your cat!

About The Author

Taylor Mobley

18 COMMENTS

  1. Malissa | 24th Feb 17

    What a cute little kitty! I love the idea of not allowing them free roam of the house for a while – I bet most people don’t think of that. Very smart. I also love that you are anti-declawing 🙂 it’s so unnecessary. Great post!

  2. Natalie | 24th Feb 17

    Such a cutie! 🙂 We adopted a rescue cat in November (she was only 2 months old!) and she was really sick so we had to nurse her back to health. But now that she’s all better I love playing with her and getting her treats + toys like some that you mentioned.

  3. Allison | 24th Feb 17

    OMG what a cutie! I adopted my cat just shy of one year old so I didn’t get the cute kitten year but he’s still young at heart haha!
    Allison from http://www.mercuteify.com

  4. candy | 24th Feb 17

    Hope those that are thinking about adopting a kitten will read your post and take your advice before getting their new family member.

  5. Cameron | 24th Feb 17

    So cute! I have 2 cats, both were strays that we took in as kittens. I know the shelters here won’t let you take home any animal that you adopt until they have their first round of shots and are fixed, but ours were strays so we had to deal with that. And thank you for saying don’t declaw! It’s so bad for them!

    | Diary of a Southern Millennial

  6. Erica @ Coming up Roses | 24th Feb 17

    She literally sounds PERFECT. I’m with ya on not declawing, 100%. And we also had that experience since we adopted our torty Pumpkin (who could be Izzy’s sister I swear) as a baby and Moose as an adult – definitely important temperament things to look out for, cos they’re for sure indicative of how they’ll be when they’re older, too!

    Coming Up Roses

    • Taylor Mobley | 24th Feb 17

      Yes! I LOVE that we have torties together. That is like my favorite thing!

  7. Sam @ The Haunted Housewife | 24th Feb 17

    I’m here for the cute kitten pictures 🙂 SO adorable! Getting a kitten is exciting, I’ve have 3 grown cats I got as kittens. Taking them to the vet ASAP is a big one. Gotta make sure they’re healthy! 🙂

  8. Dominique | 24th Feb 17

    This is a great list! I have had cats my whole life and I truly think they are the perfect, snuggly pet. I adopted my last cat Jones – a white kitty with tabby grey splotches and “hat” – when he was 5 months old. He was already litter trained and wonderful right from the get-go. Beautiful, friendly temperament – we are best buds!

  9. Alexandra Yargeau | 24th Feb 17

    These tips are great! We adopted a kitten in October, and she has been a handful, but in a perfect way. One of the best things that we purchased for her was a covered litter box. She uses it and feels more privacy, and it doesn’t stink up our apartment.

  10. Michelle | 24th Feb 17

    You are right about the declawing, it is very inhumane. You kitten is adorable , you may want to think about getting her a sister or brother. Cats like a playmate.

  11. Lindsay | 24th Feb 17

    Your list is great, Taylor and definitely something I’d present to a client that’s looking to add a feline to their home. What a cute kitty, I love the markings. 🙂

    Have a great weekend girl!

  12. Krysta | 24th Feb 17

    This post really makes me want to adopt another cat haha! One thing I can suggest in terms of cats chewing on cords – buy some split loom. You can get it on amazon for super cheap and I just put it around my cords to keep the cats from being able to damage the cords or hurt themselves. It’s amazing lol

  13. Charlotte | 27th Feb 17

    Awww, Isabel is adorable! Have the best time with her–kittens are adorable… A LOT of work, but totally worth it 🙂 My bf and I used to foster (something we’d love to get back into) and I always suggest going to local shelter–so many animals there in need of homes <3

    Hope you have a great week! XOXO

  14. Greta | 27th Feb 17

    Your kitten is such a cutie! My husband is allergic to cats so we can never own a kitten, which makes me so sad!

    Greta | http://www.gretahollar.com

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