The time has come – you’re finally going to be bringing home the kitten you’ve always longed for. It’s one of the most exciting days of your life and you’ve been looking forward to it for ages. However, caring for a kitten is full of challenges and unexpected surprises. You’ll need to be thoroughly prepared and willing to provide a lot of love, energy and patience for your new furry friend.

Learn what to expect with this extensive guide. From feeding advice to training your new kitten, we’ve got you covered.

Raising a kitten

Raising a kitten is a completely different experience to looking after an adult cat or even bringing up a new puppy. Your new cat will most likely have unlimited energy and curiosity, which you will need to match with plenty of time, attention and affection. Kittens require a lot of playtime and supervision, and it can become exhausting and overwhelming keeping your new pet out of trouble. It’s important to remember that while this period of your cat’s life can be tiring, your pet will never be this small and cute again so you should try to make the most of it. After all, watching your cat grow from a tiny kitten to an older animal with an established personality can be one of the most rewarding parts of being a pet owner.

Preparing for your new kitten

Before bringing your new kitten home, you’ll need to make sure your home is well equipped to look after them.

Here’s some handy hacks to kitten-proof your house or apartment:

  • Close or block off windows, vents, and any dangerous nooks and crannies your cat might be tempted to explore.
  • Move electronics and power cords, window blind cords, and any other strings out of reach.
  • Remove objects that might pose a choking hazard.
  • Keep food, chemicals and even plants that could harm your kitten stored away safely.

It’s also wise to set up a base camp for your new pet – this is a secure space that’s off-limits to other animals and small children. Add a a litter tray, food and water dishes, comfortable bedding, and a small toy – make sure the litter tray is kept away from the food and water as the cat may be put off if they are too close. This area will be a safe environment for your kitten to get used to the sights and smells of their surroundings, as well as getting to know you. You should also aim to provide a place to hide – a cardboard box or cat igloo will do – and access to a high spot, as kittens love to look around from up high. A sturdy shelf is perfect. Keep other pets away for now to prevent frightening your new feline friend – you can gradually allow them to meet and sniff each other from a safe distance behind gates, but for now it’s important to help your cat feel at ease in their new home.

Ensure you’re fully stocked up on the essentials before bringing your new kitten home. Here’s some items you might want to buy:

  • Kitten food and cat treats
  • Food and water dishes
  • Litter tray and cat litter
  • Comfortable cat bed and bedding
  • A sturdy scratching post
  • Collar (preferably including your cat’s name and your phone number)
  • Brush/flea comb
  • A cat carrier
  • New toys and games

Bringing your new kitten home

Here’s some tips to make sure your kitten is as comfortable as possible on the journey to their new home:

  • Ask the person you’re collecting the kitten from to limit food for a couple of hours before the journey to avoid vomiting or toileting on the way home.
  • Make sure the cat carrier is upright and secured with a seatbelt.
  • Keep your heating or air conditioning away from your cat when you’re travelling.
  • Drive smoothly and safely with as little noise as possible.
  • Don’t leave your cat in the car unattended, particularly if the weather is hot.
  • Travel straight home so that your kitten can get settled.

Feeding your kitten

By the time you bring your new cat home, they should be fully weaned and able to regulate their own body temperature without their mother and siblings. However if you are caring for a newborn, you should ensure they are kept warm and bottle-fed kitten formula every two hours.

Normally though, your kitten will already be weaned onto solid food. If you decide to change the brand and type of food they’re accustomed to, make sure you introduce new food gradually over the course of a week to avoid any digestive problems.

You’ll want to choose specialist food that is formulated for growing kittens – high in calories, protein-rich and easily digestible. When feeding your cat, you should take age into account when scheduling times to eat:

Up to six months

Feed your kitten three to four times per day – they will require a lot of calories in the early development stage so leaving extra food out to access when hungry could be a good idea.

Six to nine months

Your cat will be entering adolescence and so should not be fed more than twice a day.

Nine to twelve months

At this stage, your pet can begin the transition to adult cat food.

Contrary to popular belief, you should avoid giving your cat milk or cream. This can result in an upset stomach, which will not be pleasant for you to take care of.

Training your kitten

Litter training

To avoid slipping on little puddles all over your house, you should try and litter train your cat as soon as possible. You can use positive reinforcement, such as treats and praise, to help your kitten use their litter tray.

Setting boundaries

Kittens are famously mischievous, so setting firm boundaries as soon as possible can help curb negative behaviour. While it might seem obvious, you should never ever hit, shake or hurt your kitten. Instead, you should ignore them when they’re behaving badly and reward good behaviour with affection and treats. If your cat is scratching and biting you, redirect their attention to a toy or a scratching post. It’s worth remembering that most kittens grow out of troublesome behaviour but you should still put your best efforts into training them.

Socialising with others and exposure to the outside world

Your kitten should interact and play with people regularly to become a well-adjusted adult cat. You should also gradually help them become accustomed to the outside world. Now’s the time to help your little cat get used to things such as wearing a collar, riding in a pet carrier, riding in a car, and tolerating grooming tasks like bathing, brushing, nail trimming, and tooth brushing. When your kitten gets frightened, comfort them and provide plenty of reassurance. Remember kittens can get overstimulated easily so there may be times when you’ll need to take them away to rest. However, kittens are braver and more adventurous than you might expect – so don’t coddle them too much and allow them to explore their exciting new world.

Exercise and play

Your kitten will require a lot of attention and play to get the sufficient exercise they need. It’s important to set aside time each day to play with them – chasing toys around your living room will also tire them out before bedtime…


Kittens tend to sleep a lot, averaging between 16 and 20 hours a day. Because of this, you should ensure that your new pet has comfortable sleeping arrangements and a cosy bed. You should be prepared for your cat to wake up in the night and meow loudly to get your attention – as hard as it might be, you should try to ignore this to allow them to get used to having a routine. This won’t last forever so it’s best not to worry too much.

Vaccinations and healthcare

Your new kitten should receive regular health checks. They will need to be checked by a vet for parasites, feline leukaemia and other issues, while getting their first vaccinations. You should also talk to your vet about scheduling booster shots, starting a flea and parasite control program, and spaying or neutering at this time.

If you need help dealing with your new kitten, we have several resources to help on our website, including our healthcare advice portal. We’re a long established veterinary surgery operating in a range of locations that cover a range of services, from kitten check ups to animal vaccinations. Contact us by either emailing us at emailing or by registering your pet online today.