Five Steps for Taking Care of a New Kitten
By: Grant Eckert
Bringing home a beautiful kitten can be an exciting time for anyone - whether you've owned a kitten before or not. But in order to be the best owner you can, you will want to take a few steps in the beginning of their lives.
These kittens are not just small cats; they require different forms of help in order to grow up healthy and social. Here are five steps for taking care of a new kitten that will help you bond with this new bundle of fur.
One of the first things you need to consider in owning a new kitten is their litter training. While some younger kittens have already been trained by the time you get them, those that have not will need your help. Thankfully, litter training a cat is much easier than house breaking a dog, so this isn't something that will take a long time to accomplish.
Take your kitten to the litter pan when they are brought home and place them in it. They are naturally curious so they will walk around and scratch at the clay as they move. Take their paw and gently move it in a digging motion to help them see what they can do with this litter.
Most cats will naturally understand what is supposed to happen in the pan, so you generally don't have to train them in the same sense you train a dog. When they begin to go to the bathroom elsewhere, just move them to the litter pan and repeat the scratching motion with their paw.
Eventually, you will want to come up with a litter location for them to use. If you have other cats, it can help for you to place a different litter box near the 'regular' litter pan. This will help the kitten see what the others are doing, while also allowing them a little privacy as they get used to the litter.
You should use regular litter that they will see on a day to day basis - clay based is very popular and easy to scoop.
Introducing the Kitten to Other Cats
If you have other cats, this is going to be the more difficult step in raising a kitten, especially when your other cats are much older. To help make this process easier, you will want to place your kitten in a separate room than the other cats, with the door closed. This will give them time to get used to your home, learn about the litter pan, etc.
Your other cats will come up to the door to 'check out' the new kitten, so let them meow at each other and paw at each other from under the door. Each day, slowly let out the kitten for a few minutes to let the other cats get to know them, gradually allowing more and more time together - supervised, of course. This should help to prevent too many personality clashes.
Feeding of Your Kitten
Since a kitten's digestive system is different from an adult cat's, you will want to treat it differently. Find a simple kitten formula of food that the kitten can eat, keeping it away from any other cats as it's not good for their digestion. Your kitten should be eating up to five times a day at first, slowly moving toward a less frequent meal pattern.
This will help them learn to eat only smaller amounts as their digestion system develops.
Getting the Proper Shots
Taking your kitten to the vet is a very important part of their future health. You will want to make sure you are getting them checked for any problems, getting their vaccinations, and having them fixed as soon as it is recommended.
This will help your cat stay healthy and strong, plus this appointment will begin to establish your relationship with the vet in case of medical issues that come up.
Playtime with Your New Kitten
The best step of taking care of a new kitten is playing and interacting with them - and it's necessary for proper development. You want to touch and play with your kitten as much as you can as they are growing up to help them feel safe and loved.
If you have a job that keeps you away for a lot of the day, be sure to make the most of the time you do have when you arrive home.
You don't have to play with toys or with anything expensive either. Simply petting your kitten and dancing a piece of string in front of them can make them feel like a part of your family.
Kittens grow up to be adult cats eventually, but when you take the time to love and nurture them from the start, they will also be your companions for life.
Grant Eckert is a writer for VetRxDirect. VetRxDirect is a leading provider of Pet Medications