10 Kitten Essentials: How To Look After A New Kitten [2023]

Modern Furniture For Cats

When you first adopt a kitten, you must help them gently settle into their new home. A change of environment is always, so it will often take a few weeks for them to feel relaxed in their new abode. Everything from nutrition to kitten bedding, we will explore all the kitten essentials you need. This post is all about how to look after a new kitten.

Kitten Proof Your Home

Before your new bundle of joy even steps paw into her new forever home, it is a perfect idea to do a complete and total kitten-proofing of your living space.

Kittens are super curious, very naive, and do not have the same skills as an adult cats.

I had no idea how to look after a new kitten when I brought Finnegan home. Researching ahead of time, creating a pre-kitten shopping list and mentally preparing definitely helped!

Kittens will climb, jump and fall into anything that looks like fun! Finnegan has had several accidents because even though I prepared, he found ways and spaces I never thought needed kitten-proofing.

If you are a cat person, you may be used to the ‘cool as a cucumber’ attitude most felines give off, but not so for the clumsy little fur ball about to turn your work upside down! You will love every minute, but the more prepared you are, the more you can enjoy these fun kitten months and years ahead.

RELEVANT: Why Do Cats Purr?

  • Cover all cleaning products and poisonous products; store them safely away from your pets
  • Close everything including cupboard doors, drawers, toilet seats, garage doors, windows without screens, washer dryer doors and storage containers
  • Throw away any and all toxic plants and flowers
  • Remove glass ware, vases, breakables from counters and shelves
  • Prepare curtains (they will be climbed like a monkey climbs a tree!)
  • Cover cords and store away electrical devices (they like to chew wires)
  • Prepare a kitten area (with blanket and toys)

RELEVANT: The Ultimate Guide To Adopting A Senior Cat


Nutritious Kitten Food

When looking after a new kitten, it’s important to provide them with a balanced and nutritious kitten diet. High-quality commercial kitten food is a good choice, as it contains the necessary nutrients for their growth and development.

Avoid giving them any type of milk as it can upset their stomachs. Instead, provide them with plenty of clean water.

Young kittens should eat at least 3-4 times a day and hard food can be left out all day as long as other pets in the house do not have access to it.

Ensure all kittens are eating regularly; if not, try warming up and watering down soft food. Additionally, commercially produced kitten formula can be added to wet food to increase calorie intake. If possible, opt for grain-free kitten food.

Tasty Treats

Find a treat that your kitten goes crazy for. Fresh chicken diced in tiny cubes, bits of tuna, meat-flavored baby food, and commercial kitten treats are all excellent choices. Once you’ve identified treats your kitten likes, follow the basic steps of positive reinforcement training (reward-based training) to teach him the behavior you want.

Food and Water Dishes

This section is all about how to look after your kitten by providing clean water bowls and appropriate feedings.

Your kitten has lots of energy, so you need to select bowls that won’t tip over too quickly before kitten adaption.

Some kittens are allergic to plastic, so opt for a different material, like easy-to-clean stainless steel. You’ll want to wash the food and water bowls daily to keep things fresh.

Plenty of clean, fresh water on hand is vital for a kitten too. Place your kitten’s food and water dishes away from foot traffic and noise in a place that is comfortable and easy for him to reach.

Putting newspapers or a plastic mat under the words will make cleanup easier. Feed in the same place all the time, and always keep dishes clean and stocked with fresh food and water.

Litter Box

Make sure the box is roomy to prevent scattering litter around the house. You’ll also need to buy kitten litter and a scoop or strainer to remove soiled bits. A clean litter box is vital because your kitten will avoid using a messy, smelly one. Wash her pan once a week with soap and water. 

It is best not to use strong disinfectants (containing ammonia); they aren’t necessary and may offend your kitten’s sensitive nose. Use a mild disinfectant such as bleach and water on the litter box about once a month, putting the box outdoors dry in the fresh air, if possible. Always wash your hands thoroughly after handling.

Our favorite litter box cleaner for urine, vomit etc is Rocco and Roxy!

IMPORTANT: Humans may contract an organism called toxoplasma from cat feces while cleaning out the litter box. Wear gloves while changing your kitten’s litter and always wash your hands afterwards.

Pregnant women should be especially cautious and consider asking another family member to clean the litter box. This is because toxoplasmosis can cause severe birth defects. We recommend that a non-pregnant family member clean and change the litter box.

Kitten Bed

Most kittens like to have their place to rest but don’t be disappointed if she chooses to ignore her new bed. Until you see your kitten’s preferences, you may not want to spend a lot of money on a fancy wicker basket or plush bed.

Begin with a simple, cardboard “bed.” Get a roomy cardboard box with sides high enough to keep out drafts. Cut out a doorway. Line the box with an old cushion and cover it with soft, washable material for warmth. If possible, use an old sweatshirt for a lining. Your scent will be comforting and encourage her to use her new space. Cats are very particular, so make sure the bedding is always clean. Place the bed in a quiet, draft-free corner away from the direct traffic in your house. This will be your kitten’s corner.

Collar, Harness, & Leash

A cat harness or leash can be a great training tool for your kitten, though they’re not necessary. If you’re already thinking along these lines, a harness is probably best, as kittens often dislike the feeling of a leash. However, make sure your kitten always wears a collar made of lightweight material and an identification tag. Have her wear one early on to get her used to the sensation.

How to Look After a New Kitten with Grooming Tools

This section is all about how to look after a new kitten with proper grooming.

Grooming helps keep your kitten healthy and beautiful. Before you go for kitten adaption, you must consider her grooming tools. You’ll need both a flea comb and a brush, though the type of brush you use depends on the texture and length of your kitten’s coat.

Brushing her coat and trimming her claws are two essential elements of newborn kitten care, and the sooner you start routine cat maintenance, the easier it is for both of you. Regular brushing or combing removes excess hair (thus reducing hairballs) and keeps her coat clean and shiny, while nail clipping lessens her chances of a claw snag.


Don’t forget about her toys, when you are thinking about kitten adaption. Kitten is naturally curious and needs toys that are safe and fun to play with.

Choose toys made especially for cat’s ones that cannot be splintered, torn apart or swallowed.  A celluloid ball that rattles, a catnip mouse or a hard rubber mouse is perfect. To avoid accidents, some kitten toys should be used only when you are playing with your kitten.

Treat puzzle toys are great for teaching your kitten problem solving. Always stow the toys safely away so your kitten doesn’t play with them when you’re not watching.

The earlier you introduce your kitten to circumstances she’ll likely encounter throughout her lifetime, the better whether it’s meeting children, dogs and other felines to being transported in her carrier and having her nails trimmed.

Use healthy, natural food and treats from your positive-reinforcement arsenal to teach and reward good behavior.

Most of all, give her plenty of time to adjust to new situations. Toys don’t need to be store bought. Use your imagination. Some great play-things include:

  • Table tennis ball
  • Empty wooden thread spool
  • Unshelled walnut
  • Balled-up waxed paper
  • Cardboard toilet paper tube
  • Empty shoe box

Some items you may be tempted to give your kitten could be harmful. Keep the following away from your kitten:

  • Balls of string
  • Spools of thread
  • Rubber bands
  • Balls of aluminum foil or cellophane
  • Corks
  • Wire twist ties

Also avoid anything with hard sharp points that can break off. Be wary of toys (or items that a kitten may see as a toy) that can break, such as Christmas tree ornaments for example. Be careful not to give her anything small enough to swallow, like buttons, beads or paper clips. Keep your kitten away from children’s toys made of soft rubber, fur, wool, sponge or polyurethane. If your kitten swallows even a small particle, it could cause digestive problems. Avoid all toys with squeakers that could be swallowed.

How to Look After a New Kitten: Scratching Post

Contrary to popular belief, kittens do not use a scratching post to sharpen their claws. They use it for exercise (to stretch out to their full length), to clean away dead scales from their nails, and to mark their territory, both visually and with their scent.

Get a scratching post right away to help train your kitten early. The scratching post should be sturdy and tall enough to let your kitten stretch out, full length.

Train your kitten to use the scratching post as soon as she comes home. Encourage her to use her post by playing with her often, near or around it. She’ll get the idea quickly. Then when she gets the urge to stretch, hopefully she’ll use the post instead of your furniture.

Try to place your kitten’s bed and scratching post close together so she learns to use it when she first wakes up and needs a stretch.

Kitten Pen

For kitten adaption, you also need a kitten pen, to accommodate the kittens in a confined area while allowing plenty of human contact, can be bought or built from wire mesh on a wooden frame. Its walls should be about 75 cm. tall, so the kittens cannot escape. (Once they are able to climb, however, a roof may be needed).

Within the pen are the kittening box for sleeping, a litter tray, feeding bowls, toys and so on. (Cats and kittens are instinctively extremely clean and will automatically use a litter tray which should be cleaned daily).

To sum up how to look after a new kitten, providing a gentle and supportive environment is key to helping your new kitten settle into their new home. By ensuring their basic needs are met, such as proper nutrition and comfortable bedding, you can create a safe and welcoming space for your furry friend. Remember to give them time to adjust, and with patience and care, you can help your new kitten thrive in their new surroundings.

Lisa Illman is the Founder of Kritter Kommunity, LLC. She has a tuxedo adult cat and has had him since he was a baby kitten. Before her cat Finnegan, Lisa had had two FIV-positive cats for over a decade. They inspired Lisa to invent a cat enclosure and a portable catio so they could safely sit outside and enjoy fresh air and sunshine. Lisa had a Poodle and a parakeet growing up. She currently loves to pet-sit for her neighbors’ dogs and cats.

Why is Kritter Kommunity Your Trusted Partner?

Our mission at Kritter Kommunity is to promote happy and healthy lives for pets and their owners. We specialize in Barkitecture and designing tips for pet-friendly homes, utilizing the natural instincts of cats, dogs, and small critters to create a home life that pets and people love. From tips on pet care to reviews on pet toys and furniture, we are a go-to source for all things cats, dogs and small critters. Join us in celebrating the joys of pet ownership and providing the best possible lives for our furry friends.

Why Is Kritter Kommunity Your Trusted Pet Partner?

Lisa Illman is the Founder of Kritter Kommunity, LLC. Not only does she have one tuxedo male adult cat currently, she has had him since he was a baby kitten; so she knows well the kitten lifecycle, the teenage cat lifecycle and the adult cat lifecycle (he is currently 11 years old). Prior to her cat Finnegan, Lisa had two FIV positive cats for over a decade. Lisa’s love for animals her entire life (she also had a poodle and parakeet growing up plus was a caretaker for her roommate’s 3 pets during college) and networking with the pet community for over a decade, enable her to find top content for her readers.