It's your brain on kitten.
Can’t. Stop. Looking. You will have an outsized and possibly over-the-top need to stare at this little creature, search for them the second you get home, and watch in awe as they sleep (and sleep and sleep). Nature (no fool that she is) baked in a few attributes in kittens that are similar to human babies—large head, round face, big eyes, rounded, soft, pudgy abdomen, and those sweet, non-threatening sounds—all of which have a profound effect on our brains, causing the release of the feel-good neurotransmitters, dopamine and oxytocin. Slightly overprotective? Who me? Totally normal.
Your new motto is, “Sorry, I can’t. I’m trapped under a cat.”
Ask any new kitten parent to name some of the adorable stuff their little furbaby does and you will get a range of responses. “They ‘help’ me read the newspaper or use the keyboard, thus rendering it impossible to read said newspaper or use said keyboard.” “I have been cast in the role of doorman for a cat who can’t decide which side of the door she prefers.” And, the ever popular “her ‘side’ of the bed is the middle.” All of these sweet, albeit sigh-worthy, behaviors stem from the fact that compared to dogs, cats are only semi-domesticated. Cat genome mapping explains why they instinctively couple their famed independence with a need to make you love them (and keep them around) by being in your face as much as possible. Enjoy it!
You’ll shop for products you never knew existed.
Does your luggage consist of Ikea blue bags and a faded college duffle while kitty has a travel carrier with multiple windows, a thick floor rug and a footprint that expands in all directions? What about a custom monogrammed mat to pimp-out the kitty litter box or an Instagram-worthy treat jar? A $400, guaranteed-to-de-fur vacuum or one of those robot ones for getting under the bed? The average new kitten parent will spend between $500 and $1,000 in the first year alone. Financial planners suggest starting a pet savings account for basic and unexpected care, so that you can feel confident about splurging on that must-have 5-level cat tree.
You’ll soon discover that yes, they liked that food yesterday, but today they’re wondering why you’re trying to poison them.
You have just stocked up on that particular brand and flavor of cat food because your new kitten enthusiastically lapped the bowl dry. Well friend, that was yesterday’s news, because today, you get the “look” that says, “not so much.” Cats, just like us, can be finicky eaters, and your cat might not be eating simply because they don’t like the food you’re giving them. While it may feel like a battle of the wills, it’s good to be aware that there may be solid reasons why a kitten will turn up their little nose at a dish of food that they wolfed down only yesterday. Experts advise trying a new food, moving the food dish to a more sheltered location, or mixing a little tuna juice or chicken stock into the mix. If issues with food persist, consult with your vet.
You’ll trade midnight snacks for midnight sneak attacks.
Zoomies, purring, rolling, bunting (that’s a head-butt to you and me). Your new kitten is a little ball of energy. Couple that with an innate need to explore anything that moves (or that can be made to move … like whatever is on your kitchen island) and a predisposition for being nocturnal by nature, and you have a recipe for some interrupted sleep. Play is important for burning off all that excess fuel, but if left unsupervised, kittens can find 1,000 ways to get into trouble (my kitten once climbed the curtains and launched herself onto beams spanning the 14-foot tall ceiling). Get over the fact that your magazine-worthy décor will be forever changed and invest in a few pet gates to close off spaces as needed. And plan on providing lots of super-seductive toys your kitten will love, such as trees, posts, cat shelves, paper bags, empty boxes and cat tunnels. Get more tips for how to handle problems in dreamland.
Bringing home a new kitten opens parts of your heart that you never even knew existed. But kittens aren’t just cats in training—they’re different, and once you give into that fact, you’ll start a journey to a lifetime of love, joy, happiness… and yes, a bit of confusion, panic and frustration. We promise you this—your life will never be the same!