A few years ago I decided I wanted a pet. A kitten, specifically.
Getting a cat seems easy… right? They are cute, adorable, snuggly and generally pretty easy to look after... surely?
Well, after scrolling through lots of adoption and rescue sites I found the cutest ginger kitten, and before I knew it he was mine. Banjo's now a member of the family, but there were definitely a few things I needed to learn in those early days.
I’d never owned a cat before (our family grew up owning dogs), so it was an exciting new experience. This also meant that I needed to do a whole lot of research to find out what my new kitten needed. What type of litter should I use? Where will he sleep? What do I need to know beforehand?
It seems my experience is very common, and veterinarian Dr Chantelle McGowan knows exactly what it’s like to welcome a new kitten into your home, and be overwhelmed with where to start.
"Whether adopting your cat from a rescue, a breeder or a friend, make sure you are aware of the health and behavioural needs of cats," Dr McGowan tells Mamamia. "Many people think of cats as ‘low-maintenance’ versions of dogs; while the average healthy cat may sleep or rest up to 20 hours a day, they are not ‘little dogs’ and have equally specific environmental needs in order to keep them happy and healthy."
So what exactly do you need to know?
1. Indoors or outdoors? Know where you plan to keep your kitten.
The number one question I had when I first adopted my kitten was “Do I keep him indoors only or let him roam outside too?”. At the time I lived in a second-storey apartment, so I opted to keep him indoors to keep him safe. However, both options are important to consider depending on your circumstances.