Basics In Kitten Care
By Puppy Breeders in Massachusetts
Even if you’ve had years of experience with adult cats, taking care of a kitten is a whole new world. Kittens eat differently, sleep differently, and need time to adjust to changes both inside their bodies and in the outside world. Learn about a kitten’s basic needs and how to help your kitten grow into a happy, healthy adult cat.
Make Your Home Kitten-Proof
What, exactly, does kitten-proofing entail? Particularly if you already have older cats, what more do you need to do?
For one thing, kittens are much more active and curious than older cats. Like human babies, they often satisfy your curiosity by chewing everything in site. For this reason, you should purchase all-natural cat litter—not the clumping clay variety that is commonly used with older cats.
Another element of kitten-proofing your home is giving the kitten a safe place to be. This need not be an entire room, but it does need to be quiet and closed off from other animals. After a few days, give the kitten and the other animals some closely supervised time to get acquainted. If your new kitten has not been to the vet, keep it quarantined from other animals until you can be certain he doesn’t have any infectious diseases. Give the animals a few weeks to get used to each other and don’t push too hard; before you know it, the safe room will be a thing of the past!
The First Visit to the Veterinarian
The first visit to the vet should take place shortly after you’ve gotten your kitten, particularly if it was a stray and you do not know its medical history. This is particularly important if you have other household pets that could be infected if the kitten has any communicable diseases. Until you take the new kitten to the vet, you will need to keep him away from the other pets.
At the veterinarian’s office, your kitten will undergo a detailed physical exam. This will include looking at baby teeth to determine age, measuring temperature, palpating organs, listening to the heart, brushing fur for signs of fleas, and checking eyes and ears. After the physical exam is complete, the vet will perform several lab tests, such as:
Fecal float checks for worms
Blood Tests check for FeLV and FIV viruses
Depending on your kitten’s age when you first take her to the vet, she may be vaccinated. Vaccinations take place at 9 to 10 weeks of age. Kittens are given a booster shot at 12–14 weeks and possibly a Rabies vaccine, depending on local laws or if your cat is considered at risk.
Two procedures that may be taken care of at different times are spaying/neutering and declawing. Some vets prefer to spay/neuter at a younger age, as it may be better for the cat. You need to make a separate appointment for this. Unlike spaying and neutering, declawing is a more debatable procedure. Learn more about the benefits and disadvantages of this procedure before you make a final decision.
My Cat’s Social Growth and Development
In his first month and a half of growth, a new kitten experiences tremendous changes. Typically, new cat owners will not bring home a kitten until week 6, when it has been weaned off its mother’s milk. For this reason, typically new kitten owners will be more involved in the social growth than physical growth.
If the mother was comfortable with humans, the kittens will usually learn that behavior and learn to socialize easily with people. However, if your kitten has not become accustomed to being handled by humans by the age of six weeks, it will be difficult to train this behavior later, and the cat may always be somewhat more skittish than others.
Be sure to teach your kitten at a young age that hands are not toys—they feed, pet and hold the kittens.
Introducing My Kitten to Canned Food
Kittens need many more nutrients than adult cats. However; with smaller stomachs they must each more regularly. A six-week-old kitten should have four daily feedings until he reaches 12 weeks of age. From 12 weeks to six months, she can take three daily feedings. After that point, feed your kitten once daily, like other adult cats.
When choosing food, keep your kitten’s health top priority. Do not feed your kitten:
table scraps or milk
adult cat food
All of these may be easy options for you, the pet owner, but the kitten will not receive the nutrients she needs. Instead, feed her a well-balanced diet of food made specifically for developing kittens. Begin with canned food, which is more calorie-laden for energetic kittens. Later on, you can start supplementing with dry food.
Now that you’ve learned the basics of kitten care, bring home your new kitten and enjoy the time you spend together. She’ll be an adult cat before you know it!
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