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Five Tips to Help Choose and Care for Your New Kitten

Adopt and save a life
Please consider adopting rather than buying a kitten. Shelters like SPCAs are usually flooded with litters of unwanted kittens desperate for a loving home.

Apart from saving a kitten in a shelter, adopting is usually a far less expensive way than paying for a kitten and then paying again for all the initial vet care as well. Shelter adoption fees normally include desexing, vaccination/s to date, deworming, defleaing and health checks. Some even include microchipping and microchip registration. Hundreds of shelters and rescues throughout NZ list their pets for adoption with us on Petsonthenet – see our Cats and Kittens for Adoption.

Adopt a kitten and save a life

However if you have your heart set on a pedigree like a Bengal, Birman or Burmese, we recommend you always deal with a registered member of the NZ Cat Fancy (NZCF). This means you can meet the parents of your kitten, get their papers and know that your kitten has been bred to be a healthy example of the breed. 

While very little kittens are cute, the NZ Code of Cat Welfare recommends that the youngest a kitten should be removed from its mother to be rehomed is 8 weeks of age. However they recommend the best practice is 10 weeks of age. Kittens do not wean from their mother until approximately 4-6 weeks. The exception is of course abandoned kittens with no mother who will require regular syringe feeding every few hours with special orphan kitten milk from the vet (not cow’s milk). If you have found, or are caring for a young orphaned kitten, please discuss care urgently with a vet, vet nurse or SPCA.

Desex your kitten
A female kitten can become pregnant from 3 - 4 months of age (12 - 16 weeks). So SPCA and the NZ Vet Association and Petsonthenet all recommend early desexing. Most shelter kittens are already desexed, however if your kitten is not yet desexed, please ensure he or she is desexed early (by the age of 3-4 months ideally) to prevent unwanted litters. There are also numerous health and behaviour benefits for desexed male and female kittens. For example a desexed kitten/cat is far less likely to wander, so less likely to be injured in fights or be run over by a car etc. There is financial assistance to assist desexing available throughout New Zealand if required. Healthy kittens are happy kittens! Talk with your vet or SPCA about the booster vaccinations and other treatments your kitten needs now. Also ask them to help provide a written plan/booklet for ongoing annual vaccinations and preventative treatments such as worm and flea treatments.

Ensure your kitten is eating the right food for their age as kittens have specialised nutrition needs that are different than adult cats. See the Kitten Care Guide from Royal Canin for more on kitten and cat feeding

Don’t lose your kitten!
Take regular pictures of your kitten in case he or she gets lostMicrochip and register your kitten with NZ Companion Animal Register (NZCAR). Take regular pictures as your kitten gets bigger and turns into a cat just in case your kitten goes missing and you need pictures for lost pet fliers or a lost pet listing here on Petsonthenet. Of course desexing your kitten helps to greatly reduce the chances of your kitten going missing.

Kids and Kittens
It’s lovely for kids to grow up with a kitten. However children need to be taught how to handle the kitten very gently. And just like a baby – don’t wake kittens up when they are sleeping. Kittens need lots of sleep! On the other hand regular handling and socialising with children, people and other pets means your kitten will be settled, confident and happy in normal day to day situations and will grow into a lovely companion pet. Remember kittens (cats) are for life. Your kitten will be with you for many years to come through many different life stages and changes like house moves, new babies, other new pets etc. There will be ongoing costs that will need to be met over the life of your cat like food, annual vaccinations, monthly defleaing, deworming, vet bills, possibly pet insurance, cattery or cat minder services when you go away on holiday etc. Purrs help us humans live longer happier lives, so please have a look at our kittens and cats for adoption, or call in to your local shelter or SPCA and get ready to fall in love!

For much more information on caring for a kitten, we recommend you download the Kitten Care Guide from Royal Canin with much more information to help you on many more topics such as...

   Preparing your home for a kitten
   Toilet training

   Kittens and other pets
Toilet training
Children and kittens


All opinions discussed are soley the opinions of



Kittens adopted via Petsonthenet


For much more information on caring for
a kitten, we recommend you download the
Kitten Care Guide from Royal Canin for
more information on...

   Preparing your home for a kitten
   Toilet training

   Kittens and other pets
Toilet training
Children and kittens




Five top tips for choosing and caring for a new kitten5 top tips to help choose and care for your new kitten

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Be part of the solution - Petsonthenet's philosophies; "Adopt, don't buy" and "Desex your pets"

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