Putting Together Kitten Packs
So your litter of kittens are ready to go to their new homes, but when their bags are packed, what exactly should be included in a kitten pack? Putting together kitten packs is probably the last thing a breeder does before they wave goodbye to their kittens. Everyone loves a goodie bag, especially one for their new kitten, but this is also the perfect opportunity to educate and support a new kitten owner as well as make the kitten’s first few days settling in as smooth as possible. Here are some ideas and suggestions for what could be included in the kitten pack for new owners.
Essential Items For Your Kitten Packs
This is the essential paperwork which is the minimum that should be included for a new kitten owner.
All kittens should be registered with the GCCF or another governing body such as TICA or FB before leaving home.
Kittens should have a vaccination card showing they have completed a full course of vaccinations at least seven days prior to leaving home.
This should show at least three generations of cats with registration numbers. Pedigree templates are available for a small charge from the GCCF or you can use specialist software such as Breeders Assistant, however they are very simple to make yourself using Word. Pedigrees should include the breeders name and contact details as well as the kitten’s pedigree name, breed, colour and registration number. This should be signed as accurate by the breeder. I also like to include photos of the dam and sire on the pedigree as well as a photo of the kitten for the new owners. Laminating the pedigree will keep it in pristine condition or it could be rolled up and tied with a ribbon.
Four weeks free insurance for new kitten owners is available from Pet Plan and the GCCF insurance Agria. This requires you to set up as a breeder first and then register any kittens that leave for their new homes. Both companies offer incentives for breeders to register kittens with them such as points towards vouchers for shops, money for breed clubs or money off kitten registrations.
Care and Diet Sheet
When new owners collect a kitten, there can often be a lot of information for them to take in at once. I like to give new owners a care sheet with all the information they may need to help settle and care for the kitten. This is your perfect opportunity to explain how the kittens have been cared for and to pass on tips for settling in or what the kittens like or don’t like. I like to include what I have been feeding the kittens and how often, which type of litter I use and whether they are used to a covered or open litter tray. I also put this information on my website under ‘Kitten Care’ so that new and prospective owners can check it easily and have everything ready for their new arrival. A good example of a care sheet and diet sheet are available from the GCCF website (www.gccfcats.org/pdf/Caring.pdf and www.gccfcats.org/pdf/Feeding.pdf).
As a record and reminder, dates of worming and flea treatments can also be included in this along with recommendations of when the kitten will next need treatment.
These are ‘optional extras’ but will support a new kitten owner and help the kitten settle in.
I always include a familiar smelling blanket in my Kitten Pack to help settle the kitten in and reassure them on the journey to their new home. Simply pop the blanket into the kitten’s bed for a few days before they leave so that they will have familiar reassuring smells from home when they cuddle up to their blanket.
Small fleece blankets are available very cheaply on the internet or in discount stores for pets or babies. Baby blankets come in lots of different colours or you could choose pink for the girls and blue for the boys.
If you are clever enough to knit or croquet, or lucky enough to have a friend or relative that does, handmade croquet blankets can be a lovely additional extra for the Kitten Pack. Or if you were looking for something a little more fancy, packs of kitten blankets embroidered with your prefix or with the kitten’s name are available on line or from specialist stores.
With all the other changes a kitten has to contend with when moving home, it is best to keep their diet the same for at least a few days, to avoid upset stomachs. A diet sheet is helpful and I also like to include a small amount of the kitten’s usual food for the first few days as a kitten is settling in. This is also a perfect opportunity to support a new owner in choosing a high quality food for their kitten by allowing them to try it out for a few days.
Many companies make smaller bags of their dry food and it is simple to include a few tins, sachets or cartons of the kitten’s usual wet food. If your dry food company does not make smaller bags, you could try filling a jar with enough of the kitten’s usual dry food to last a couple of days. Finally a ribbon, available cheaply from discount stores, and feeding instructions will add the finishing touches to the jar.
Many of the cat food companies, such as Royal Canin, Hills and Applaws, will also offer free kitten packs if you register as a breeder. These usually include a kitten care guide, food samples and information about the food.
Cat and Kitten Toys
Toys are perfect to help build that bond between a kitten and their new family. Kitten toys are a very simple extra to add to the Kitten Packs. This could be a favourite toy that the kitten has played with and you would like them to take it to their new home to help with settling in, or it could be a brand new toy that you know they enjoy. Large bags of mice or multipack deals are available cheaply on the internet or look through the one pound buckets at the stalls at cat shows.
A nice idea is to make your own toys to go in the kitten packs, such as these knitted mice.
Or you could follow Kate Burrow’s excellent ideas for cat toys on a budget.
New Owner Agreement and Receipt
I ask all new owners to sign a kitten agreement that sets out my expectations that the kitten will be kept as a pet. A good example of this is available from the GCCF at www.gccfcats.org/pdf/agreement.pdf. This is also perfect as a receipt and to act as my new owner records.
Life Long Support
Most importantly, kitten owners need a life time of support from their kitten’s breeders. Don’t forget to include your own contact details on the pedigree or on a business card. Make sure it is easy for owners to contact you when they have questions or need support, especially for those first few worrying days when the kitten is settling in. Happy owners mean happy kittens.
With thanks to Tina Mullineaux of Mullsi Siamese and Orientals for her valuable help with this article.