Getting a kitten for a gift - what else do I need?
December 23, 2008 11:05 AM   Subscribe

I've decided to adopt a kitten for my fiance as a Christmas gift this year. She's an absolute animal lover, and she has been wanting to get a kitten for a while now (her cat of 15 years died this summer). I'm going to arrange the adoption and then have her pick the kitten out the day after the holiday. However, I'm going to arrange an assortment of kitten necessities for her to open on Christmas morning. Never having had a kitten, what do I need?
posted by ghastlyfop to Pets & Animals (21 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Kitten kibble
bowls for water & food
Optional but good: A blanket for kitten-bedding
Another kitten
posted by Tomorrowful at 11:10 AM on December 23, 2008 [2 favorites]

I should probably mention that we currently have one other cat. Do we need a separate litter box?
posted by ghastlyfop at 11:12 AM on December 23, 2008

Suggestion: go trawling the archives and find the (numerous) other questions re: introducing cats to other cats, especially adult cats to kittens. This is a non-trivial process you're about to undertake.
posted by Tomorrowful at 11:14 AM on December 23, 2008

Wad up some wrapping paper into a ball and put a ribbon on it. That's all a kitten needs.
posted by mikepop at 11:15 AM on December 23, 2008 [2 favorites]

Luckily, my fiance has a loooonnnng history with felines, so I'm covered there.
posted by ghastlyfop at 11:17 AM on December 23, 2008

Yes, you need a separate litter box. And if you do find other things you need to buy, your fiance would be thrilled to go to the pet store the next day, I'm sure.
posted by iamkimiam at 11:18 AM on December 23, 2008

Oh, and I forgot to're awesome and you're about to make her really happy. Yay!
posted by iamkimiam at 11:18 AM on December 23, 2008 [1 favorite]

Can I add a plug for a self-cleaning litter box? They're amazing. The first time I met my S.O.'s cat, I was totally amazed at how little his apartment smelled like cat. I attribute this to the self cleaning litter box.
posted by soleiluna at 11:23 AM on December 23, 2008

Litter, litterbox, food and water bowls, a little kitten laser-pointer toy (they LOVE these) and maybe a twist-tie that's been wrapped around a sharpie to create a long spring-type-formation. Cats love knocking those around.

Mostly, try to get used to the fact that you really need to get two kittens, as tomorrowful said above. I know that when my ex did this same thing for me for Christmas two years ago, the shelter we went to (the ne-plus-ultra BARC) wouldn't allow us to adopt any cat into an apartment without at least one other cat around unless the cat in question had been deemed "antisocial." Kittens and cats really need others to play with.

Good luck, and enjoy!
posted by Navelgazer at 11:24 AM on December 23, 2008 [1 favorite]

You generally want at least 1 litter box per cat in the house. You'll want to keep the kitten in a separate room for a while (a month maybe?) letting him/her out for a while towards the end. Hopefully they'll get along!
posted by majikstreet at 11:36 AM on December 23, 2008

Since you already have a cat, you might want to convey that these toys are for new kitten and not current cat. So she understands the gift right away.

Maybe you could get a collar, and get a tag made for it that says "Brand New Kitty!" or "Cat #2" or something.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 12:23 PM on December 23, 2008 [1 favorite]

kitten food works, too
posted by Solon and Thanks at 12:23 PM on December 23, 2008

The two kitten rule is not writ in stone. I've had one cat, or should I say she has had me, without any emotional trauma. In fact when I once brought in another playmate they treated each other like distant cousins...really couldn't care two bits if the other existed or not.
posted by Gungho at 12:25 PM on December 23, 2008

I missed the bit about having another cat already, so you can disregard my sermonizing above.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:54 PM on December 23, 2008

Another vote that you don't need two kittens. I brought my (4 mo old male) kitten home when the elder (male) cat was 6 years old. Older cat loved grooming younger cat. Here's how well they got along, less than a month after introduction.
posted by desjardins at 12:54 PM on December 23, 2008 [2 favorites]

My cats (obtained as kittens) were TERRIFIED of the self-cleaning litter box. I discovered instead the joy of crystal/silica gel litter. No smell, no worries of ingestion for a kitten (like clumping litter), and it's $12 a container at Target.
posted by Phineas Rhyne at 12:57 PM on December 23, 2008

This is exactly what I'm doing for my fiance for Christmas! In addition to buying the cat necessities, I plan on making an appropriate lolcat card for her to open.
posted by otolith at 1:44 PM on December 23, 2008 [2 favorites]

My wife and I recently adopted two kittens. (We had planned on getting one adult cat. Plans change.) While they both get along well with our old cat, we're firmly convinced that having adopted a single kitten would have been a Bad Idea.

These kittens are exploding with energy, and need to play. A lot. Two kittens make natural playmates. One kitten is going to require a lot of attention from you and the older cat, and may terrorize that cat a bit.

Also be prepared for the fact that they are unbelievable eating machines and pooping machines. We have 2 litterboxes, so not 1/cat, which seems ok, but they really need to be scooped daily. Also btw, we did nothing special to introduce the kittens to our old cat. Just let them figure things out. Took about 2 weeks before they started grooming each other.
posted by adamrice at 6:52 PM on December 23, 2008

Funny/Practical: child-proof latches for the cupboards.
posted by pointilist at 6:57 PM on December 23, 2008

Seconding the child/kitty proof latches on the cupboards. In my case, I installed them on just the ones containing the garbage can. However, Lloyd did quickly figure out to stick his front leg through the partly opened door and pull over the can. He also likes to stand next to the door and pull it open as far as it will go (an inch or two), then let it bang shut, while looking at me the whole time with a very bright eyed, "oh hi Mom!" look.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 8:04 PM on December 23, 2008

Get one of those fluttering feather toys on a string on a stick. Watching kittens do backflips trying to catch those things is hilariously fun.
posted by Jacqueline at 1:38 AM on December 24, 2008

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