New kittens mean storage solutions are needed

Joan Fieldstone

January 28, 2014

By: Joan Fieldstone, Home Improv Advocate

In: General RemodelingInterior Home Improvement

In the last 20 years I have never been without a cat or two…or three or four. When my last surviving kitty became too sick to save during the New Year's holiday, my BFF -- the one who encourages my home improvement mania and collects old pianos and stray cats -- decided that the best therapy for my grief was a house full of kittens.

Since she just happened to have a few too many felines, she immediately supplied me with three -- all under the age of six months.

I forgot what it's like to live with kittens.

Getting ready for multiple kitties means large amounts of supplies. And since I've maintained a one-cat household for over four years now, I was woefully ill-equipped to welcome a trio of litter-mates named Martini, Truffles, and Sadie -- as different from one another as Moe, Larry, and Curly but no less of a havoc-producing threesome. Definitely a lot cuter than the Stooges, however, don't you think?

grey and black kitten

Martini

grey long-haired kitten

Truffles

orange kitten

Sadie

The secret to a peaceful transition into feline parenthood is organization -- okay, perhaps "peaceful" is too optimistic a word. Let me start again. The secret to a less-stressful acquisition of three kittens who went from terrified to terrifying in the space of three days is preparation. Have the supplies you need and a place for everything planned out ahead of time.

I had to improvise for the short term until I had time and money to go shopping. Things I needed, did not have, did not have enough of, or completely forgot I would need were not limited to the following:

  • Food and water bowls
  • A litter box for each cat, plus one extra. No idea why the extra is needed, but that's what I've always been told. I have three boxes, and kitties are using only one.
  • A place for each litter box -- and a nearby scooper and receptacle. You do not want to carry cat-droppings and litter through the house to dump it.
  • A jumbo container of litter to start -- at least 20 lbs.
  • A jumbo supply of high-quality kitten food. Kittens require more protein and fat than adult cats, but people food does not contain certain nutrients cats need to prevent heart failure.
  • Toys -- lots and lots of toys to bat about, chase, and lose in five minutes under or behind or in a piece of furniture. They will remain lost until you move the furniture someday.
  • Dedicated structures for climbing and scratching because if you don't have several substitutes for your furniture, drapes, and book shelves at the ready, you will forever be replacing all of your cherished décor.

Once I acquired the necessary paraphernalia of multiple-cat ownership, I had to figure out where to put everything. That's why it's a good idea to always think ahead when it comes to home storage solutions, even if your home storage capability is not completely bursting at the seams today. You never know when a half-empty cabinet or closet will prove its worth.

Remodeling for pets can be as simple as adding an extra shelf or clearing a cabinet for just pet supplies. Tripping over giant bags of food and litter or soiled litter boxes adds to the stress levels when you are staggering about at 5 a.m., the hour at which all cat owners must awaken to fill the food dish -- or else pay the price.

And what price is that, you might ask?

When cats want breakfast, they learn very quickly the best practices for prying their person from sleep. You may think you are going to catch another 20 minutes of shut-eye after spending a sleepless night wondering what produced that loud thud and sound of something shattering around 2 a.m. However, your cats will have very effective ways of waking you to meet their exacting needs. In my case, claws applied to my scalp usually does the trick.

Come to think of it, while you're considering the scope and expense of new-cat ownership, you might want to calculate the cost of more drastic pet remodeling solutions -- like putting on a room addition or even an entire wing just for the kitties.

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