Preparing to Welcome Home a New Kitten: What to Buy in Advance?
Just over a year ago we suddenly and unexpectedly lost our beloved family cat, Malcolm.
When he died I had to navigate explaining death to my young children (which you can read about here). Since then it has taken quite a while for us to be ready to have another pet. Not least, in recent months, due to relocating from Paris to the South of France.
In August last year I started making plans. I knew I wanted a Bengal cat this time, so the search began. I found 2 breeders online, located in Toulouse, who I was very happy with. Rather than having lots of different cats and many litters, they both breed on a small scale, and the kittens are raised in the family home. They are loved and it is clear they are not just about the money. This was important to me.
It is now mid-January. We had to wait for the kittens to be born, and then the breeder has a policy to keep the kittens with their mother until they are around 4 months old. That's quite a lot older than a lot of breeders, and certainly double that of most animal rescues, but (even if I am impatient to have him) there are clear benefits to the kitten staying with its mother for a little bit longer.
However, the kitten we chose (and have been to visit several times, without and with the children) is such a big and confident little chap that last week I was told he is ready to come home with us a little bit early. Yippee!
We collect Norbert in 1 more sleep... TOMORROW!!!! He will be 3.5 months old. To say I am excited is an understatement.
I have been preparing. I know the essentials needed, but (in my usual fashion) much research has been involved, and advice taken from friends and the breeder too. I thought I would share with you...
The things I have bought to welcome our new kitten home:
1. Cat Carrier Bag
I decided to get a soft bag transporter this time and really liked this one from Milo and Misty. This has a more snuggly feel than the plastic ones you can get, as it has soft vets bed on the base with a waterproof backing (all of which I can remove and wash) and doesn't feel cold to the touch.
I am hopeful that this will double up as a bed he can sleep/nap in as well, certainly in the early days. It also folds away flat. I am very impressed with the quality of this for the price paid.
Currently on sale on Amazon.co.uk for £15.99 + £4.99 UK delivery:
2. Alessi Cat Food Bowl
This was a very wonderful Christmas and Birthday present for me (and Norbert!). I am familiar with the Alessi range: it's so stylish and fun. I just love it. Yes, this is a luxury at a price of £47.50 (from Amazon UK, with Prime delivery), but with all "cat things" it will be out on permanent display so it's got to look nice. Lucky kitty! I intend to put hard food on one side and soft pouch food on the other.
3. "Cat it" Water Fountain
I saw one of these when I was at the breeder's home visiting Norbert the first time. I saw the cats drinking from it and was intrigued. She recommended it highly.
Most cats like running water, but Bengals are notorious for being fascinated by it. These water fountains keep the water fresh and also encourage lots of drinking, which is always good for our feline friends.
It came with one filter, and I ordered separately the other bag of filters shown in the photo.
The price of this Catit senses water fountain is currently £23.95 on Amazon UK, with Prime delivery.
Norbert needs a collar. Once he is out and about I can't have anyone thinking he doesn't have a home. I will add a name plaque to it with my phone number on in due course as well (he is microchipped too of course).
I was rather taken by this award winning collar by Kittyrama. As seen in Vogue - whit woo!!
It is made of silicone which is hypoallergenic and won't rub your cat's fur. It comes in different bright colours. Importantly it has a safety breakaway clasp. Not bad for £9.99 with Prime delivery on Amazon.
Kittens love to play. Here are an assortment of toys that I either bought from our local garden centre or I was kindly gifted for Christmas. The bat makes a squeaky sound (chosen by my daughter) and the octopus thing (chosen by my son) looks to be seriously durable. The others are cat nip scented toys, so guaranteed to send Norbert giddy!!
6. Litter Tray
I have ordered a litter tray, but unfortunately it hasn't arrived yet (I have a temporary solution for the day or two needed). I don't recommend you do this - try and make sure you get one ready in advance!
The type of litter tray was an area of some deliberation for me (thanks Instagram story followers for your input in my time of indecision!). It is a functional item, of course, being a cat toilet, but it will be on view and so I wanted it to look good.
I was tempted by the self cleaning litter trays - very tempted indeed. But I felt that the cost of the replacement cartridges was quite high, especially as once he is big enough I hope that Norbert will be an outdoors cat (and do his business outside too!).
So, I cannot give you my first impressions yet, but we have ordered this one below. It gets good reviews so I hope they are accurate. If needed, I will pop to my local pet shop to buy a little mat to place in front of it too.
7. Cat Post
Cats don't just love to scratch, they need to. So I knew I needed to get some kind of scratch post to save our furniture.
Also, Bengal cats LOVE to climb. I have been deliberating on whether to get Norbert a cat tree (as these usually incorporate scratch areas as well). The breeder has a huge one. But depending on where he decides to hang out at home will determine how much space we have and what size I could get. Also, we have some great trees in the garden, which my 2.5 year old child can climb, so once he is able to go outside he isn't going to be short of climbing options.
So, I have ordered one of these; to give him somewhere to hide, some height, a squishy place to curl up and nap, and a place to scratch:
This is the Diogenes M Basic Diagonal cat scratching lathe (link for the ZooPlus website where I have ordered it from for €46.99).
The reason I am taken with this particular design, is that it is relatively compact and I will be able to easily move it around. The interior bottom 2 levels are linked as well so he can play in there. Fingers crossed he likes it. That's the thing with cats, you can buy them all the creature comforts you think they will like, and yet they might still decide to just sleep on top of your clean washing basket!
Still to buy:
- Food - the breeder will give me a sample of the food that Norbert the kitten is currently eating. This way I have enough to feed him this and then gradually transition a change of brand if I want to.
- Cat Litter - I have been advised by the breeder the type of litter that Norbert the kitten is used to using (it is a natural clay clumping litter) and I will buy some of the same type in advance of him coming home.
- Bed - I haven't bought Norbert any kind of bed yet. I may not. He has his carrier above with it's snuggly lining, and for the short term that will be sufficient. And once his cat post arrives that incorporates several napping options for him too. I have seen many stylish cat beds, but I want to wait to get to know my new furry friend first. Then I can decide what he may like, if anything; be it a blanket, enclosed or open bed, or some sort of radiator hanging nap place.
STILL TO DO:
Norbert will arrive with a certificate of good health from the Breeder's vet. He has already had his 2 sets of immunisations and will be up to date with his de flea and de worm treatments.
He will still be able to make babies though! I have found a vet near my home which has been recommended to me. They specialise in small pets and I love the fact that they have a completely separate reception area for cats to try and keep the whole vet visit experience as low stress as possible. Extra bonus for me - they all speak English! I have made an appointment for Norbert to be castrated in just over a months time, when he will be 5 months old.
Celebrating our Kitten coming home:
This (below) is proof that you can literally buy anything for animals....
I can celebrate Norbert's homecoming with him with this (utterly ridiculous, but undoubtedly fun Christmas gift) "Pawsecco" drink, that we can share!!!! I wonder if Norbert will like wine as much as me...
P.s. This review contains Amazon Affiliate links for your shopping convenience.