England seamer James Anderson took 2-48 from 23 overs as Kent closed on 216-8 after winning the toss and electing to bat against Lancashire at Old Trafford.
Anderson is playing only his fourth game for the county in three seasons and had to wait until his 19th over before claiming his first wicket when he bowled Mike Powell for 57.
He added a second just before the close when Matt Coles pulled to Simon Kerrigan at deep square-leg.
Kyle Hogg, who was given the new ball along with Anderson ahead of skipper Glen Chapple, claimed the opening two Kent scalps.
He trapped Sam Northeast lbw with the final ball of the fourth over and after Robert Key and Brendan Nash saw the visitors safely to lunch on 53-1, he struck again after the interval as Key was out lbw for 31.
Nash and Powell frustrated their hosts for most of the afternoon session but their 70-run stand was ended when former West Indies Test batsman Nash fell lbw to off-spinner Steven Croft for 50.
Kent lost five wickets in the final session. Daniel Bell-Drummond went lbw in the second over after the interval as Kerrigan claimed his first wicket.
Hogg finished with 3-32 as he moved one away to find Darren Stevens' edge and wicketkeeper Gareth Cross pulled off a good one-handed catch.
Chapple then knocked Geraint Jones' off stump flying as Kent began to crumble, and Anderson finally got into the wickets with just 11 overs remaining as he bowled Powell before adding the scalp of Coles.