Feature Stories

Preparing for a Kitten

We recently got a kitten, which is of course the wrong way to phrase it. More accurately, a kitten recently got us. He came into a house of fools who were totally unprepared for all that was to be required of them. Not that we didn’t try to get ready. Googling bringing a new kitten home offered us a nearly unlimited supply of cat gurus who provided endless hours of advice.

But it was deficient in a most remarkable way. Yes, there was much about kitty litter, proper toys, cat trees, whether to bathe your cat, how to clip kitten nails, the fun of walking your cat, and the great controversy over dry kibble vs. wet food, or raw. There was even one on how to prepare fresh cat food while living off the grid in a trailer in the wilds of Idaho. Yet, the most important ingredient for living successfully with a cat was completely missing.

No, I’m not talking about humility, but of course that is essential to turning one’s home over to a feline. After all, you don’t have a kitten, the kitten has you. If anyone is going to be trained it is not the semi-wild obligate carnivore. It’s like having a sharp-toothed toddler who can claw its way to the highest shelf. While you might pretend it is being trained, what is really happening is you are learning to adapt, adjust, and put away all the nice things you used to cherish around the house.

Just then I glossed over my point:  sharp teeth, sharp claws; our cuddly kitten totally fails to appreciate their potential for damage. Yes, it means ruined furniture, but we knew about that. It’s all over YouTube – kittens & cats rip things up, but not just things.

Fortunately, we had a box of band-aids on hand. Foolish us. Only one box. We weren’t ready. We hadn’t been warned, which is why I’m now warning you. When you bring your new kitten home, among the items you will need is an abundant supply of band-aids. Very specifically, you will need the small ones and not as part of a mixed assortment. Pay the few cents extra and get  the small bandages; the semi-invisible ones are preferable because you will be using a lot of them. Not just one box either. Plan on having several — at least one in each bathroom, the kitchen, and the room where you’ll be interacting with the kitten most.

Don’t misunderstand here. I’m not suggesting you need all these bandages because you are crazy enough to offer your kitten your bare hand as a cat toy. Oh, no. They are necessary because of the multiple times your little darling is going to inadvertently snag you with a claw or tag you with a tooth. Not in anger, not in play, just a little oops and off you go to stop the bleeding.

None of this should dissuade you from getting a kitten. We love having our new kitten, Daniel Stripped Tiger. He is a delight and offers us endless entertainment and wonderfully affectionate companionship. We are trying to keep up with him and having those extra boxes of bandages helps.

Scott Funk lives, works, and writes (and gardens) in Vermont. His Boomer Funk columns are available at VermontFunk.com,

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