Irma Face Header.jpg

Everything You Want to Know About Getting a New Kitten

By Leah_Pet on Feb. 28, 2017

Thinking of getting a new kitten or adding a cat to your family? Whether you’re an experienced cat parent or simply cat curious, making the decision to get a kitten is sometimes made for you the moment you lay eyes on that perfect whiskered little face. Here's how to be prepared. 

I mean, who could resist THIS face?

 Irma Face Header.jpg 

After a particularly trying summer after one of our (very old) cats passing away, a 500-mile move and various personal losses, I started scrolling through petfinder.org and the craigslist pet section “idly” entertaining the idea of getting a cat now that we had settled into our new apartment. And suddenly there she was—the kitten yet to be named Irma.

Irma close up.jpg 

A blurry picture on craigslist showed a litter of stray backyard kittens with a caption that read “FREE Kittens - Will make very good mousers.” Now, we were in no need of mousers, but that was a pile of unbelievably cute kittens and I pretty much wanted (needed?) all of them. However, one little one caught my eye because she looked a lot like our old cat (see above). She was staring boldly into the camera as if challenging me to call about her.

So, one phone call later and suddenly I had about an hour to get the house ready for a new cat. Note: one hour is not ideal, but doable as we already had one cat so the place was basically cat-proofed already. Never had a cat? Here are some excellent tips on cat-proofing your home.

I made a quick mental checklist of what we’d need—a small litter box to accommodate her little legs, high-quality kitten food and treats, her own bed, some cuddly toys and a scratching post. Grabbing a cat carrier, a cozy blanket and my sister for moral support, we dashed off to the pet store for supplies and on to meet our soon-to-be newest addition to the family.

Wouldn’t you know it? She was even CUTER in person, and while talking things over with the woman who rescued her, she snuggled in for a nap like she was more than ready to go home with us. Her rescuer informed me that the kittens had been seen by a veterinarian and were free of worms or diseases but were in need of some kitten-safe flea control. So, I added that to the must-get shopping list and home we went with our completely adorable addition to the family.

Irma Sleeping.jpg

Now, every good piece of advice about introducing your cat to a new home and new pet family members will tell you to take it slow. And I swear that was my intention. However, our current cat Yuyu had other plans. When we got home, we set the kitten in her carrier in the bathroom while we did some last-minute prepping for her arrival. Intrigued by the mewing, Yuyu managed to pull open the bathroom door (she has thumbs) to check out the commotion. We came in to find her pawing at the carrier, attempting to free the kitten. 

So I cautiously opened the carrier door a little bit to let Yuyu sniff at the kitten. Apparently Yuyu’s mama instincts were ignited by the sight of that kitten, because she instantly started purring and grooming her. As neither seemed too put out by the other, we opted not to keep them completely separated for weeks as I had intended. Instead, we let Irma gradually explore the place while Yuyu peeked at her from underneath the bedroom door. Maybe it was because she was such a young kitten or perhaps it’s because Irma has always been exceptionally brave, but after a few hours she seemed completely unfazed and was ready to play with her new roommate.

 

On that note, there’s another major piece of advice people forget to tell you when you’re about to get a new kitten. Upgrade your phone or camera so that it can hold at least 25,000 photos because you’ll likely take that many trying to perfectly capture (just one time!) all the cuteness your new companion is oozing with. If you want a sampling of what I mean, take a look at photos from Irma’s first day at our house… 

First order of business for Irma was taking care of business. 

Less than two minutes after her arrival, she broke in her new litter box like a pro. (Read: How to choose the best litter for your cat).

Irma Litter Box crop.jpg

Next, she decided to play with her food.

I think she ate some eventually, but that was nowhere near as entertaining as digging in it.

(Read: How to choose the best diet for your cat.)

Irma Food Dish.jpg

Then, she decided to try out the leather chair.

By try, I mean she did a little kitty yoga before sinking her claws into its previously pristine leather. It’s never been the same since her arrival. Oh well.

Irma Chair.jpg

Up next was a fast-paced game of hide-n-seek.

Yuyu found her every time.

Irma Hiding Rug resize.jpg

Last and most important thing on her first day home to-do list? A bath and a nap with her new buddy.

I’ve lived with a lot of cats and never ever had two get along as fast as these two did. So, don’t expect your new pets to like or even tolerate each other from day one (or day 100). However, in this instance, we got lucky and it sure made for some heartwarming moments. By the way, here's how (safely) give your cat a bath.

Irma Getting Groomed-resize.jpg

 Irma Yuyu Snuggle Faces.jpg

After she got settled in, I had some items on my new kitten to-do list as well.

Such as getting her spayed…

If you look closely, you can see her little shaved tummy here.

Irma Spayed.jpg

Re-remembering the way a kitten can annihilate a roll of toilet paper…

Irma Toilet Paper Roll resize.jpg

Indulging in her love of empty boxes…

Irma in Box crop.jpg

Watching her discover the mysterious element known as “rain”…

For a cat born in San Jose in the midst of California’s drought, this was a big deal!

Irma Raindrops crop sz.jpg

And my husband and I learning to work around the constant snuggle fest…

Irma Yuyu Laptop.jpg

All in all, adding Irma to our household was one of the best decisions we ever made. We may have had to endure about a year of near heart attacks as she thought it terribly amusing to leap out at us from under beds and off of shelves at least 200 times a day. And I realized the benefits of keeping a cat scratch post near EVERY piece of furniture. But watching her grow up was priceless. She’s almost three years old now and her antics and love help keep the whole household feeling younger and that the world is one very snuggly, cute place indeed.

After all, who wouldn’t melt at the sight of this every morning…

Irma Yuyu Sleeping resize.jpg

If you’ve added a new pet to your family, go to your local Petco and ask a store partner for a FREE Pet Parent Savings book.

Shop for cat supplies.

Your cat will love a new cat scratcher. Really.

Nobody likes fleas. Especially your cat. Get the best flea prevention

Watch how to flea-proof your home

Watch this before giving your cat a bath.

29 Comments
Comments
by Community Contributor
‎08-25-2015 01:21 PM

 Great pics!

 Great pics!

Posted on Aug. 25, 2015
by Debby Collins
‎01-19-2016 01:25 AM

Yorkies are the only type of dog breeds I would enjoy having as a pet of my own.

Yorkies are the only type of dog breeds I would enjoy having as a pet of my own.

Posted on Jan. 19, 2016
by JB
‎01-19-2016 11:52 PM

This is a precious story and I'm so glad that it worked out so well for both Irma and her new owner. I wish it ended that way all the time for the animals posted about on Craigslist. Unfortunately that isn't always the case. There are some very unsavory people on Craigslist looking for animals, and they don't have the animal's best interest at heart. It's widely known that people involved in dog fighting and other cruel activities often search sites like Craigslist for animals that they can "use" for their sick purposes. If you're rehoming an animal, please rethink posting about cats and dogs on Craigslist, and be very, very careful about who you are rehoming an animal to. 

This is a precious story and I'm so glad that it worked out so well for both Irma and her new owner. I wish it ended that way all the time for the animals posted about on Craigslist. Unfortunately that isn't always the case. There are some very unsavory people on Craigslist looking for animals, and they don't have the animal's best interest at heart. It's widely known that people involved in dog fighting and other cruel activities often search sites like Craigslist for animals that they can "use" for their sick purposes. If you're rehoming an animal, please rethink posting about cats and dogs on Craigslist, and be very, very careful about who you are rehoming an animal to. 

Posted on Jan. 19, 2016
by JLS
‎01-20-2016 12:18 AM

One thing to be clear on, is allowing a female cat to go through her first menses. This allows her body to build her hormones for later in life. We spay way too early, and cause a great deal of harm to the female cats' life. Diseases of the pelvis, and cancers are a result of early spay.

 

One thing to be clear on, is allowing a female cat to go through her first menses. This allows her body to build her hormones for later in life. We spay way too early, and cause a great deal of harm to the female cats' life. Diseases of the pelvis, and cancers are a result of early spay.

 

Posted on Jan. 20, 2016
by New Cat Lover
‎01-21-2016 05:22 AM

I have a 27lb or so female terrier mix that is four years old and was lonely during the day while I was at work. I'm fairly lazy and didn't want to care for two dogs so I decided to take her to the humane society and "interview" cats as a companion. After seeing quite a few come and go "Tom" entered the room and couldn't care less that there was a dog in the room. I decided right then Tom was the one for Negli (my dogs name).

I intended to keep them separate for some time but Tom would have nothing to do with that. Within 5 minutes of coming home he was out and the two have been best buds since. They wrestle and then nap together and apparently neither knows, or cares, that the other is a dog/cat. Its amazing the things animals can teach us lowly humans if we would just care enough to listen!

I have a 27lb or so female terrier mix that is four years old and was lonely during the day while I was at work. I'm fairly lazy and didn't want to care for two dogs so I decided to take her to the humane society and "interview" cats as a companion. After seeing quite a few come and go "Tom" entered the room and couldn't care less that there was a dog in the room. I decided right then Tom was the one for Negli (my dogs name).

I intended to keep them separate for some time but Tom would have nothing to do with that. Within 5 minutes of coming home he was out and the two have been best buds since. They wrestle and then nap together and apparently neither knows, or cares, that the other is a dog/cat. Its amazing the things animals can teach us lowly humans if we would just care enough to listen!

Posted on Jan. 21, 2016
by Dan
‎01-26-2016 05:54 AM

So heartwarming. Brought tears to my eyes. Congrats on your new addition and there is always room for more! Feel good that you provides a forever home to this beautiful life.

So heartwarming. Brought tears to my eyes. Congrats on your new addition and there is always room for more! Feel good that you provides a forever home to this beautiful life.

Posted on Jan. 26, 2016
by BzyLzy
‎01-29-2016 04:53 AM

I have always been a mutiple pet household but one of the most hilarious introductions was bringing home "Chaloopa," a little boy bluepoint Siamese kitten. My other boy cat Charlie acted like a surrogate Mamma and even let him breast feed! Well after he was worn out and tried from wrestling for hours with Dozer, my pitball who LOVED that little guy! He would let him win every time. LOL

I have always been a mutiple pet household but one of the most hilarious introductions was bringing home "Chaloopa," a little boy bluepoint Siamese kitten. My other boy cat Charlie acted like a surrogate Mamma and even let him breast feed! Well after he was worn out and tried from wrestling for hours with Dozer, my pitball who LOVED that little guy! He would let him win every time. LOL

Posted on Jan. 29, 2016
by mauibound
‎02-01-2016 10:37 AM

Agree w/one reply below about dog fighters searching for 'victims' in want ads.....don't ever post an animal for FREE.  You are putting them in grave danger of being a 'training' speciman for dog fighters. 

Agree w/one reply below about dog fighters searching for 'victims' in want ads.....don't ever post an animal for FREE.  You are putting them in grave danger of being a 'training' speciman for dog fighters. 

Posted on Feb. 1, 2016
by Nia
‎02-01-2016 12:25 PM

What a snuggle love!!!!

What a snuggle love!!!!

Posted on Feb. 1, 2016
by
‎02-02-2016 07:34 AM
We had a gold male tabby named Tangie along with four other cats. Tangie welcomed every new member with open arms. The more the funner. When we brought our 8 week old Sheltie puppy home Tangie went right up to him and proceeded to clean his face and cuddle him as if to say welcome and you are loved. They were the best buddies from then on. Tangie let puppy chew on his tail and legs and wrestled with him every single morning before breakfast. He was devastated when the dog passed away. So we got Tangie a new puppy for a new playmate puppy
We had a gold male tabby named Tangie along with four other cats. Tangie welcomed every new member with open arms. The more the funner. When we brought our 8 week old Sheltie puppy home Tangie went right up to him and proceeded to clean his face and cuddle him as if to say welcome and you are loved. They were the best buddies from then on. Tangie let puppy chew on his tail and legs and wrestled with him every single morning before breakfast. He was devastated when the dog passed away. So we got Tangie a new puppy for a new playmate puppy
Posted on Feb. 2, 2016
by
‎02-02-2016 10:10 AM
What an awesome, feel-good story - wonderful way to start my day!! Sooooo glad YuYu and Irma bonded so lovingly! Looks like they add so much joy to you and your husband's lives!! How could they not!?! Bless you both for providing such a loving and adoring home for your fur family!!
What an awesome, feel-good story - wonderful way to start my day!! Sooooo glad YuYu and Irma bonded so lovingly! Looks like they add so much joy to you and your husband's lives!! How could they not!?! Bless you both for providing such a loving and adoring home for your fur family!!
Posted on Feb. 2, 2016
by kennycatlover4856
‎02-03-2016 08:56 AM

Thats adorable! I have two cats. Teyre like my kids. I want to take home every kitten I see but im not going to be one of those crazy old people with 50 cats in my house>

Thats adorable! I have two cats. Teyre like my kids. I want to take home every kitten I see but im not going to be one of those crazy old people with 50 cats in my house>

Posted on Feb. 3, 2016
by Julie Joseph
‎02-04-2016 06:39 AM

Thank you for this heartwarming story.  This is the happiest, luckiest, and cutiest kitten ever.  I know you must be so happy with her as well as your other beautiful cat. 

Thank you for this heartwarming story.  This is the happiest, luckiest, and cutiest kitten ever.  I know you must be so happy with her as well as your other beautiful cat. 

Posted on Feb. 4, 2016
by Lynnbin
‎02-05-2016 08:40 AM

And I thought I had catitis... YOU BEAT ME.  If anyone at there knows how to keep a new kitten from straying to far from home so they get lost please post it.  It's always my big worry.  Cats so inquisitve as kittens they stray too far sometimes when you've gone into the I luv my cat so much I can't live without him.  LOST CAT, espeically kitten = HEARTBREAK.

Have kid getting PhD who came home and complained, "Ma, after all I've done I have to come home and share the glory with a CAT."  To which I replied, "You bet!'

One things for sure CATS GIVE FAR MORE THAN THEY TAKE.  I don't go quite so far as saying If my cats aren't in Heaven I don't want to go but the alternative is not too enticing.

And I thought I had catitis... YOU BEAT ME.  If anyone at there knows how to keep a new kitten from straying to far from home so they get lost please post it.  It's always my big worry.  Cats so inquisitve as kittens they stray too far sometimes when you've gone into the I luv my cat so much I can't live without him.  LOST CAT, espeically kitten = HEARTBREAK.

Have kid getting PhD who came home and complained, "Ma, after all I've done I have to come home and share the glory with a CAT."  To which I replied, "You bet!'

One things for sure CATS GIVE FAR MORE THAN THEY TAKE.  I don't go quite so far as saying If my cats aren't in Heaven I don't want to go but the alternative is not too enticing.

Posted on Feb. 5, 2016
by
‎02-21-2016 09:26 AM
Being a cat lover myself, you hit the mother load of good fortune. Give both of those kitties snuggles for being great examples of why cats are amazing creatures!
Being a cat lover myself, you hit the mother load of good fortune. Give both of those kitties snuggles for being great examples of why cats are amazing creatures!
Posted on Feb. 21, 2016
by Huckleberry McComb
‎02-23-2016 12:12 PM

We adopted our cat, Cotton Candy, from a local shelter when she was approximately two years old. She's a long hair tabby, with these amazing green eyes. She sat at the window, watching us shyly, as we made our first pass. When we came back by, she tenatively touched the glass, giving a small meow. On her name card they had written, "Very shy cat." I asked to see her. The attendant said doubtfully, "She's awfully shy." But she really wanted to come home with us, and was purring happily as we held her.

Shy? Oh boy. Yes. We have other pets, and so we put her in our master bathroom where it is very quiet. Lots of room. Shelves to climb on. Cupboards to hide in. Right away she darted behind the toilet. And stayed there for a week, coming out to eat, drink, and use the box. I'd go in and sit on the floor, with plenty of distance, just talking to her.

A month later she began exploring our room. And that is as far as she's gotten. After two and a half years that's it. But she owns those two rooms. She occupies my husband while he works at his computer. She drapes herself over his shoulders, bats at his ears. She loves afternoon naps with me.

Yes, she is shy. But she is very loved, and very happy. How do I know? When I come into the room, she blinks softly and gives a small meow, and then begins purring.

 

We adopted our cat, Cotton Candy, from a local shelter when she was approximately two years old. She's a long hair tabby, with these amazing green eyes. She sat at the window, watching us shyly, as we made our first pass. When we came back by, she tenatively touched the glass, giving a small meow. On her name card they had written, "Very shy cat." I asked to see her. The attendant said doubtfully, "She's awfully shy." But she really wanted to come home with us, and was purring happily as we held her.

Shy? Oh boy. Yes. We have other pets, and so we put her in our master bathroom where it is very quiet. Lots of room. Shelves to climb on. Cupboards to hide in. Right away she darted behind the toilet. And stayed there for a week, coming out to eat, drink, and use the box. I'd go in and sit on the floor, with plenty of distance, just talking to her.

A month later she began exploring our room. And that is as far as she's gotten. After two and a half years that's it. But she owns those two rooms. She occupies my husband while he works at his computer. She drapes herself over his shoulders, bats at his ears. She loves afternoon naps with me.

Yes, she is shy. But she is very loved, and very happy. How do I know? When I come into the room, she blinks softly and gives a small meow, and then begins purring.

 

Posted on Feb. 23, 2016
by Connie
‎02-24-2016 07:42 AM

Just the cutest thing, isn't it awesome to see the different personalities and the love.  Enjoy them. 

Just the cutest thing, isn't it awesome to see the different personalities and the love.  Enjoy them. 

Posted on Feb. 24, 2016
by
‎02-25-2016 07:57 AM
Thats a beautiful pair of cats you are a nice loving person for adopting it taking us thrue your kittie progress.thank you.may Jehovah God bless your home
Thats a beautiful pair of cats you are a nice loving person for adopting it taking us thrue your kittie progress.thank you.may Jehovah God bless your home
Posted on Feb. 25, 2016
by pshq
‎02-25-2016 09:49 AM

JLS--It is not true that cats need to go through heat to be healthy later on. In fact, studies have shown that just letting a cat go into heat once increases its risk of breast cancer later. Going into heat is very stressful on a cat's body & not necessary. I've had many cats spayed early over the years & not one of them had cancer or any other health issues. They all lived long, happy lives.

JLS--It is not true that cats need to go through heat to be healthy later on. In fact, studies have shown that just letting a cat go into heat once increases its risk of breast cancer later. Going into heat is very stressful on a cat's body & not necessary. I've had many cats spayed early over the years & not one of them had cancer or any other health issues. They all lived long, happy lives.

Posted on Feb. 25, 2016
by
‎02-26-2016 08:23 AM
It's a good idea to get your cat checked for feline leukemia, to prevent spreading the diease.Love cats.
It's a good idea to get your cat checked for feline leukemia, to prevent spreading the diease.Love cats.
Posted on Feb. 26, 2016
by Bootsieb
‎02-27-2016 09:12 AM
Truly a great, happy story that continues on. I sure wish all animals up for adoption, be it free or not DESERVE these kind of owners and loving homes. I agree with those who say , be careful how and who you give/adopt your animals out to, because there really are ALOT of evil people in this world who have NO love for these precious creatures. It's up to us, humans to protect them as much as possible. Hope to hear about many other great family (pet)) additions! God Bless!
Truly a great, happy story that continues on. I sure wish all animals up for adoption, be it free or not DESERVE these kind of owners and loving homes. I agree with those who say , be careful how and who you give/adopt your animals out to, because there really are ALOT of evil people in this world who have NO love for these precious creatures. It's up to us, humans to protect them as much as possible. Hope to hear about many other great family (pet)) additions! God Bless!
Posted on Feb. 27, 2016
by
‎02-27-2016 09:21 AM
I love cats & she is very beautiful. I'm glad she for in so quickly & that you actually saved her from going to a home with an abusive nutcase. I'm hoping Craigslist stopped advertising free animals since you got her.
I love cats & she is very beautiful. I'm glad she for in so quickly & that you actually saved her from going to a home with an abusive nutcase. I'm hoping Craigslist stopped advertising free animals since you got her.
Posted on Feb. 27, 2016
by
‎02-28-2016 09:38 AM
such @ cute cat, pet r wonderful & bring lots of not to our lives
such @ cute cat, pet r wonderful & bring lots of not to our lives
Posted on Feb. 28, 2016
by
‎02-29-2016 09:40 AM
Two cats are a must. My 2 would be lost without each other. My 2 have had their picture taken
Over and Over!!!!!
Two cats are a must. My 2 would be lost without each other. My 2 have had their picture taken
Over and Over!!!!!
Posted on Feb. 29, 2016
by MWM
‎02-29-2016 12:23 PM

My solution to the love kittens have for unwinding toilet paper was to remount the holder higher on the wall. Took only a few minutes and save a lot of paper.

My solution to the love kittens have for unwinding toilet paper was to remount the holder higher on the wall. Took only a few minutes and save a lot of paper.

Posted on Feb. 29, 2016
About the Author
  • As a child Leah used to write in her journal about how she’d like to be an animal when she grew up. As luck would have it, she grew up to be a writer who writes about animals instead. She has worked in veterinarian clinics, had pets of all types and has fostered many cats and dogs. Currently she lives with two cats named Irma and Yuyu and feeds a bevvy of semi-feral neighborhood cats.
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