How to care for a kitten
Continuing from last week’s post ‘Introducing a new cat’, I thought it might be wise to discuss how to care for a kitten. Kittens can be a lot of work; recognising this is important. They aren’t just to be bought because they look adorable, they can also be little devils! Kittens require a lot of attention and care, and while they aren’t kittens forever, their younger years are arguably the hardest.
Before the kitten’s arrival
Before you even pick up your kitten from wherever you get them, you must prepare your home. Some things to remember are:
- Provide space. Your new kitten will need a safe area to play in, sleep in and hide in. Make sure you have all three.
- Have cat essentials. Some of these include cat toys, scratching posts and litter trays.
- Make sure their litter tray is somewhere quiet and easily accessible.
- Cat-proof your home. Make sure any potential hazards are out of the way from the kitten’s reach.
You should also make sure to have sorted out:
- Finding a vet. Sign up with your local vet before picking up your kitten.
- Taking out pet insurance.
Some things should already have been done by whoever is caring for your kitten before you pick them up. However, you should ask to see if the following has been done in case you need to do them yourself.
- Organising their first kitten vaccinations.
- Started socialising with them. Providing them with a positive environment to meet new people.
- Started litter training them.
Arriving at home
“Bringing your new kitten home is an important time because what they learn and experience now will shape future behaviour.”
Once you have brought your new kitten back to its well-prepared home, you need to continue socialising with them in different ways such as:
- Introduce them to other people and pets. Check out our previous post here for ways to do this.
- Getting them used to being handled. You should slowly introduce them to a cat carrier as well as slowly and carefully groom them so they are used to being touched and carried.
- Have a routine. You should teach your new kitten things like which rooms they are allowed in and whether they can be on counters or not. Make sure to reward good behaviour with treats and ignore bad behaviour.
- Keep them on the same diet. Find out which kitten food they were eating before and keep them on it with small and regular meals.
3 months in
This is about the time when your kitten will be needing their second lot of vaccinations. They will also need to be neutered at about 4 months (and ask your vet about worming). Other than their medical health, make sure to continue with their training.
- Continue socialising. Spend lots of time with your kitten every day. Mental stimulation is important to allow your cat to solve problems, try hiding their food and letting them find it.
- Try getting them used to their name. See if they come to you when you call and reward them with a treat when they do.
- Let them rest. Being a kitten is hard work, they have so much energy but such a little body so they will need to sleep often.
6 months in
You may think 6 months is more than enough time to stop your kitten training, but they will still be learning. If you have any concerns for your kitten’s health or behaviour, speak to your vet. By keeping experiences positive from day one, you’ll help your kitten grow into a confident adult cat, making life more enjoyable for you both.
Caring for your kitten
I have used the advice and information from the RSPCA website and if you would like further information on how to care for your kitten I recommend visiting their site at https://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/pets/cats/kittens/kittencare.
Information in this post has been created and researched by My Three Cats. We do not provide medical advice. If your kitten is experiencing any issues, please get in touch with your vet immediately.