It is always great to welcome a new member to your family. And when it comes to kittens, raising them is pretty similar to raising children. If you provide them with proper care and training while they are still young, they will grow up to be healthy and well-adjusted adult cats. So, if you and your family have recently adopted a kitten, make sure you follow these tips religiously.
Remember, this is not an adult cat, so don’t treat it that way
Just like humans, kittens will have different care requirements while they are small than when they are a full-grown cat. Consider the four stages of development:
1. Less than 8 weeks of age
Kittens at this age should ideally still be with their mother and littermates, since they are unable to regulate their own body temperatures and rely on one another in order to transfer heat and survive. Not to mention that they are also still developing their vision-leg coordination. If you adopt an orphan kitty at this age, have in mind that it will require special care that includes bottle-feeding and helping it pee and poop. If you don’t have any experience with this, it is a good idea to consult a vet for specific advice and instructions.
2. 8 to 11 weeks of age
These kittens should be eating kitten diet that has to be energy-dense, easily digestible and rich in protein – such as balanced Royal Canin cat food for kittens. Besides food, there are other changes that will occur during this period. The kitten will begin to develop complex motor skills such as jumping, running, playing and exploring, so have in mind that it should be under constant supervision. Set boundaries in order to keep it safe.
3. 2 to 4 months of age
This is a phase when the kitten grows rapidly and has almost three times more energy than adult cats (so basically this is their puberty). It will need either three or four meals a day during this time and those meals should be at least 30% high-quality protein.
4. 4 to 6 months of age
This is when kittens reach their adolescence and sexual maturity. Consider having your kitten spayed or neutered before this stage in order to avoid accidental litters and territorial spraying.
Reward good behavior and socialize
Just like with children, what kittens learn during their kittenhood will affect how they will interact with other animals and people when they get older. It is your job to show your kitten that this world is a wonderful place. Pet it frequently, place it in its litter box after meals as well as after play sessions to teach it to use it, get it used to grooming and combing, allow it to experience different surfaces for walking, give it objects to explore such as paper bags and boxes, make noise, play loud music, have friends over and tell them to give it treats, do not allow it to scratch or bite during play, expose it to other cats and animals after being vaccinated, reward friendly behavior and always be patient. You can even teach it to perform tricks.
In order to make sure your kitten has good health, provide it with preventative care. Schedule its first vet appointment within a week after getting it. Early and frequent vet visits will help your kitten socialize with the vet and your vet to establish a baseline for its health. Furthermore, ask the vet about worms and other parasites and have it de-wormed if it is necessary. Take care of fleas and administer topical flea preventatives as soon as your kitten is 8 weeks old. And finally, make sure it gets all the needed vaccines.
Your kitten’s new home is supposed to be warm and cozy. Choose a nice, secluded room for it to adjust to its new life. Open the carrier and place food, water bowls, toys and a litter box nearby. Avoid giving it toys that are small and can choke your kitten. Small stuffed animals are the best toys. Observe it while it is playing, but also while it is resting, because that is when you will see is whether it ready for exploring (it saunters) or is it still adjusting to its new home (it dashes to the carrier super fast).
If you have some more useful tips you would like to share, feel free to leave your comment below.