Now that you’ve taken the first steps towards proper cat parenthood, there are many things to consider. 

Bringing a cat to its new home can be overwhelming for first-time pet parents, leading to unnecessary overspending. The initial vet fees for kittens and even adult cats can end up costing hundreds of dollars out of pocket.

Many new cat owners don’t consider the impact of an expensive vet bill when bringing home their new friend. But costly bills can lead to financial stress and even economic euthanasia. That’s why so many pet families turn to pet insurance to help pay for necessary procedures and medication. Compare pet insurance policies and get a quote today with Insurify.

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How Much a New Kitten Costs

New cat parents know about the importance of budgeting for the tallest scratching post and fanciest litter box technology, but there are many additional costs associated with bringing your kitten home. The first year you bring your furry family member home, you can expect to spend upwards of $1,000. And plan to spend between $500 and $800 each year after. 

Luckily, most animal shelters will provide small starter kits with each adoption that usually include a few cat toys and catnip. While this is a great tool for new pets, cats are notoriously able to entertain themselves with a cardboard box or even a paper bag. The real expenses cat parents face usually come from expensive vet bills, especially for unexpected accidents or illnesses.

Take Your New Kitten to the Vet 

Most first-year fees come from the initial vet visits for treatments like vaccinations, spaying or neutering, and microchip surgery. Sterilization surgery alone can end up costing upwards of $800, depending on the vet. Checkups and vaccines can also end up costing up to $100 for each trip. Luckily, shelters usually include these procedures in the adoption fees.

Unfortunately, not all shelters can offer vet procedures, which can lead to improper treatment. Not to mention the first few years of a cat’s life are vital for developing good behaviors, which also puts them at risk for getting hurt. As they’re still figuring out their new surroundings and growing, kittens are pretty much prone to expensive vet bills.

Still, there are now several helpful tools for pet owners. Pet insurance for cats, like human health insurance, can help pay for your cat’s medical costs. Traditional plans can cover up to 100 percent of treatments for broken bones, kidney disease, and even leukemia. Many providers also offer wellness plan add-ons, which would cover routine and preventive treatments. 

It’s essential to purchase a pet insurance policy early. Buying a policy immediately upon bringing your new pet home prevents the accumulation of any pre-existing conditions, which are illnesses or injuries that have occurred in a pet’s medical history. The earlier you find the perfect plan for your kitten, the more money you’ll save in the long run.

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Buy a Pet Insurance Policy

Those interested in insuring their kittens should ideally start an insurance policy as soon as possible to prevent the issue of pre-existing conditions. Traditional pet insurance companies do not cover pre-existing conditions. That means if your kitten needs a tumor removed before purchasing a policy, your insurance probably won’t cover it. However, some pet insurance companies will cover some pre-existing conditions

The initial tumor removal can cost anywhere between $1,000 and $8,000, depending on its location. Chemotherapy treatments can add on an additional $10,000. That means you could end up spending up to $18,000 out of pocket. By purchasing a pet insurance plan early, you could save up to $16,200. 

Pre-existing conditions can be especially difficult to navigate for pets that have chronic or recurring illnesses. Luckily, a handful of companies, like Embrace and Pets Best, will forgive certain conditions and reinstate coverage after a certain amount of time. These usually include less severe, expensive treatments for things like upper respiratory disease.

Big medical bills often lead pet parents to drastic last resorts like improper treatment and even economic euthanasia. Pet parents shouldn’t have to choose between going into debt and saving their best friend’s life. Pet insurance policies can help guarantee a long and happy life with your furry friends.

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Introducing Your New Kitten to Your Home 

The first few weeks after bringing home your new cat can be very stressful. It’s an essential time for them to get comfortable in their new home and for you to develop a bond with your new furry friend. While you may know that kittens need fresh water and kitten food, there are many other tricks cat parents can use to make the transition that much easier.

1. Keep them confined

You might associate kittens with their curiosity, but that doesn’t mean big, new spaces can’t be overwhelming. It might be easier to slowly introduce your new friend to their new home over time, rather than all at once. Isolating a kitten in one room helps them establish a home base and get used to the smell of their new home

2. It’s all about scent

Cats are far more sensitive to smells than humans, which is vital to keep in mind when acclimating them to their new home. Multi-pet owners shouldn’t throw new kittens into the same room as a resident cat. It’s far safer to introduce their scent to each other slowly. Some cat parents also have success with pheromones and other aromatherapies to help a kitten feel more relaxed.

3. Patience is key

As much as we hate to admit it, your new kitten might not want to be your best friend right away. It’s important to stay patient as your new cat acclimates to their forever home. It’s normal for them to seek out hiding places and safe spaces, which might seem like they’re hiding from you. Pet parents should let their cats get comfortable on their own time, and it might not happen the first day

Set Up a Feeding Schedule for Your Kitten

Bringing a new kitten into your home opens the door to endless fun and companionship, but that doesn’t mean kittens don’t require training and routine. Maintaining a daily routine for kittens over eight weeks when it comes to feedings, playtime, and sleeping will help them adjust to your schedule and prevent behavioral problems.

Animal behavior experts suggest implementing a daily routine that follows the same flow as your routine. That usually means providing active playtime and socialization, a meal, and then time for sleep. That is the optimal schedule for getting out any extra energy that might lead to nighttime disruptions and any destruction while you sleep. 

Adopting kittens that are younger than eight weeks old, especially if they aren’t eating solid food yet, can be tricky. Kittens between one week and three weeks are incredibly sensitive to their environment and require bottle feedings every few hours, which is almost round-the-clock care. Kittens between four and six weeks are less sensitive but still require hand-feedings. 

When to Neuter Your Cat 

Most vets will recommend that you spay or neuter your kittens when they’re around four to six months old, which is when most cats reach puberty. Sterilizing your cat has become a standard procedure and can prevent several behavioral and health issues. That includes aggression, territorial spraying, vocalizations, testicular cancer, and uterine tumors.

Un-neutered female cats can have up to three unwanted litters per year, which can lead to upwards of 20 kittens. Additional kittens will cost far more than most sterilization surgeries, which average around $200. Pet wellness plans can usually help cover the cost of a spay or neuter and aftercare. Providers like Pets Best, Embrace, and Banfield offer coverage for sterilization.

If you’re looking for the perfect pet insurance policy or pet wellness plan for your new kitten, be sure to compare plans and policies on Insurify

Consider Adopting Two Kittens Instead of One

Before you actually bring your kitten home, you might hear an adoption counselor mention adopting two or more kittens at once, but that isn’t a trick to get more cats adopted. Studies show that kittens adopted with a friend or littermate adjust to their new home better and are less destructive. 

Rather than bring home one kitten, pet parents should consider adopting two. Paired kittens can provide their own entertainment rather than rely on the owner. They’ll also learn manners and proper behaviors from each other through reactions from biting and grooming habits. 

Pet parents can also rest easy knowing that two kittens cost roughly the same as one, aside from vaccinations and sterilization surgeries. Kittens usually share the same supplies, like toys, beds, and litter boxes. You may have to buy food and litter more often, but you’ll also save tons on expensive toys for your bored single cat.

Be Prepared Before You Bring Them Home

Don’t wait until after you have your kitten in your car to swing by the store for food and litter. Having everything you need already set up by the time you bring home your new friend will make the transition that much easier. It also prevents any uncomfortable situations and accidents while you’re overwhelmed kitten waits for you to set up a litterbox.

Pet parents who have opened their homes to shelter cats should focus on taking a glamorous cat portrait for Instagram or finding the perfect cat-sized cowboy hat, not expensive vet trips. Buying a pet insurance policy can provide that extra peace of mind to keep you focused on your new kitty rather than future vet bills. 

Finding the best pet insurance policy can mean starting a long adventure with your new best friend. Compare pet insurance policies and get a quote today with Insurify.

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Updated March 10, 2021

Samantha Vargas is a freelance writer for Insurify. She has a background in comparative English literature and film and has produced a variety of journalistic content for the University at Buffalo's independent student newspaper, The Spectrum. She currently works in Buffalo, NY while finishing her master's degree. She spends her free time baking and working with animal welfare groups.