Many buy kittens without properly researching the breeders or asking the right questions. Sadly, this feeds the cycle of bad breeding.
Responsible breeders care about the homes the kittens for sale go to. They should ask you about other pets and children in the household. If they don’t, that’s a red flag.
A good breeder should be more than happy to answer any questions you may have. If they aren’t, that is a huge red flag.
Ask if they have any reviews from previous kitten owners. This will help you better understand what to expect from the breeder. You can also check for reviews on social media or through local cat clubs.
Also, make sure to ask what health testing they use. Health testing is important to remove carriers of genetic disorders from the breeding population, decreasing the likelihood of those disorders occurring in the kittens.
In addition, a good breeder will want to meet you and your family in person (or at least speak with you over the phone) before you buy your kitten. This is an excellent way to evaluate a potential kitten’s temperament and see how well it gets along with people of all ages, sizes, and backgrounds.
Finding a vet, you can trust is essential, particularly as a kitten goes through its early life. They’ll need routine vaccinations, worming treatments, flea treatments, and general health checks. You’ll also need a room ready, including a litter tray, scratching post, and supplies for the kitten, like toys and beds.
Kittens have innate instincts to jump, claw, and chew things, so don’t punish them for it. They are simply exploring their environment, and it is important to help them channel this energy into something more productive, such as playing with toys or climbing on a cat tree or perch.
Before bringing your new kitten home, ensure they are microchipped and have a pet insurance policy in place (sign up early, as any accidents or illness that occurs before insurance policy enrollment will be pre-existing conditions). Kittens will need food that is specifically formulated for their age, litter, and treats, as well as a comfortable bed.
Whether or not you have a pet already, it’s a good idea to take your new kitten to the vet for a general health check. This is a chance to make sure they’re in tip-top shape and have all the required vaccinations.
Kittens can be a bit messy, so it’s worth ensuring they have access to a clean environment with plenty of bedding, toys, and litter. It’s also a good idea to continue with the same type of litter they’re used to, as this can help minimize stress when introducing them to your home.
It would help if you also asked the breeder to see a picture of the mother. A healthy, friendly mother indicates that her kittens will be well cared for.
In their early life stages, kittens must be exposed to various experiences to develop a well-adjusted adult cat. Taking them out of their environment to interact with different people (remember, interactions should be very supervised and gentle) helps with this. These experiences include men, women, children of all ages, and people with different appearances (glasses, hats, scarves).
Kittens are curious little creatures that will want to explore – this is very normal, but make sure there are no dangerous items such as lilies, string, cords, or hair elastics in their reach and plenty of safe toys to play with.
It is easier to socialize a young kitten than an adult cat, but it will take time and gradual exposure. If a cat misses this “socialization window,” it may never become comfortable with humans. Some cats will remain frightened or anxious for their entire lives.