bringing home a kitten

Bringing home and rearing a new kitten is both challenging and rewarding. Whether you’re thinking about obtaining a kitten or have already brought a fluffy little bundle of joy into your life, you undoubtedly want to be the greatest pet parent possible. Continue reading to discover more about kittens and how to give your little pet the greatest start in life.

Bringing Home A Kitten

Raising a kitten is a very different experience from owning an older cat. Kittens have endless energy and curiosity, so they take up a lot of your time and energy. To be properly socialized, young kittens need not just plenty of care and playing, but also a lot of monitoring to keep them out of mischief.

The fact is that, although adorable and cuddly, kittens can be tiresome. Keep in mind that the kitten stage does not continue forever, and your cat will never be as little or charming again. Enjoy this time with your cat; the link you build will endure their whole lives.

Preparing for Your Kitten

Before you bring your new kitten home, make a few preparations to ensure a seamless transition.

Kitten-Proof Your Home

First, verify your kitten’s safety by inspecting each area from their perspective and looking for any potential threats. Close or block windows, vents, and any nooks and crannies they may want to investigate. Keep power wires, window blind cords, and other strings out of reach. Remove tiny things that might cause choking if eaten.

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Purchase Supplies

You’ll need a variety of things to care for your cat. Before taking them home, you should stock up on the following essential items:

  • Quality kitten food
  • Cat treats
  • Food and water dishes
  • Litter box and cat litter
  • Cat bed
  • Cat carrier
  • Collar and ID tags
  • Cat brush and/or flea comb
  • Toothbrush and pet-safe toothpaste
  • Scratching post and kitten-safe toys

Set Up a Base Camp

Set aside a calm place as a “base camp” for your cat to adjust to their new environment. This area should be off-limits to other pets, and small children should be entered only with adult supervision.

Fill the room with a litter box, food and water dishes, comfy bedding, a scratching post, and a toy. Keep food and drink away from the litter box, since cats don’t like to eat near where they do their business – but who does?

This base camp will provide a secure environment for your kitty to get to know you and adjust to the unfamiliar noises and scents of their new home. If you have additional pets, keep the door locked or install a pet fence to keep them out. Before exposing your new kitten to other animals, be sure they have had all of their vaccines and have a clean bill of health from your veterinarian.

Then, gently introduce your other pets to the kitten by having them approach the gate and smell each other from a safe distance. Allow them to make full contact under observation after they seem to accept each other’s presence without showing aggressiveness.

Feeding Your Kitten

Ideally, kittens should stay with their mother and litter mates until they are at least 8 weeks old. By this time, they should be completely weaned and capable of regulating their own body temperature.

If you find yourself caring for newborn baby kittens, you must keep them warm and give them kitten formula every two hours. In circumstances like these, it’s advisable to talk to your veterinarian about an appropriate feeding regimen and other particular needs.

Typically, when you bring home your new kitten, they will have already been weaned to solid food. If feasible, ask the previous guardian or the shelter to provide you with a week’s supply of the food they are presently consuming.

You may choose to keep giving them the same brand and kind of food. If you modify their meals, do it gradually to avoid intestinal issues. Add a little bit of the new food to the old meal and gradually increase it over the course of a week.

Whatever you chose to give them, make sure it’s high-quality food designed specifically for growing kittens. Kitten food should be designed to match the nutritional profiles for growth established by the Association of American Feed Control Officials, or it should have been clinically evaluated to ensure that all needs for developing kittens are met. Adjust your kitten’s feeding regimen based on age:

  • Up to 6 months: Feed your kitten three or four times a day. At this time of fast growth and development, kittens need a lot of energy. It may be simpler at this point to free-feed your kitten by having a dish of kibble available whenever they are hungry.
  • 6 to 9 months: As your cat reaches sexual maturity and their growth rate slows, they will need less calories and should not be overfed.
  • 9 to 12 months:
  • At 12 months, your cat is no longer a kitten. When they reach 9 months, you may start moving them to adult cat food. You should also start monitoring their weight to ensure they are not overfed.

Along with excellent kitten food, ensure that your kitten has easy access to clean, fresh water. Avoid feeding them milk. Despite popular belief, cats cannot digest dairy and may have stomach distress if they consume it.

Training Your Kitten

Litter Box Training

On your kitten’s first day home, one of the first things you should do is teach her in the litter box. Kittens that remain with their moms until completely weaned often understand the function of a litter box by seeing their mothers. Typically, your kitten will know what to do, and all you will have to do is show them the box.

You may need to remind them where the box is and provide positive reinforcement, such as treats and praise, until they are comfortable using it on their own without asking. At this point, it may be beneficial to have a several litter boxes about the home so they have easy access to one until they figure things out.

Obedience Training

Beyond toilet training, teaching a kitten often entails establishing and enforcing boundaries and home norms. Again, use positive reinforcement to teach your cat, and avoid scolding or speaking angrily to it. Never hit or shake your kitty. Instead, ignore poor behaviour and promote positive behaviour with love, food, and praise.

If ignoring them is not an option, divert their focus to anything else. For example, if your cat bites or scratches your hand, offer them a toy to play with. If they scratch your furniture, guide them to a scratching post or pad. If all else fails, confine them to their base camp until they have calmed down.

Unlike popular belief, cats can be trained in a variety of ways. Kittens, like puppies, are intelligent and capable of learning, even if their independence may suggest otherwise. Training a pet requires patience.

Begin with something easy, like training them to “come” when called by name. Then, gradually teach more instructions like “sit,” “lie down,” and “stay.” It is critical to employ positive reinforcement if you want these behaviours to persist as they age.

Socializing and Playing With Your Kitten

Kittenhood is a critical period for socializing your cat. To help them develop into well-balanced adults, play with them regularly and introduce them to new sights, sounds, scents, and experiences. Kittenhood is an excellent time to introduce them to routines like wearing a collar, travelling in a pet carrier or automobile, and accepting grooming activities like washing, brushing, nail clipping, and dental brushing.

Remember that they are still a kitten, discovering the world for the first time. There may be times when sights or noises startle them. In these circumstances, console them, accept that they are overstimulated, and return them to a secure area to rest. As they get used to these items, you may gradually add more stimuli.

However, you may be astonished by how their curiosity and fearlessness encourage them to explore more than you would expect. How else can you explain a little kitten wanting to cuddle close to a huge dog?

In addition to socializing, kittens need exercise via play. Play fosters a link between the two of you and gets their blood circulating, which is essential to their healthy growth. Set aside time every day to play with them so they receive adequate exercise. Play can also help your kitty wind down before sleep.

Creating a Sleep Space for Your Kitten

Kittens sleep a lot at a young age, anything between 16 and 20 hours each day. For this reason, it is critical that kids have a comfortable location to snooze and sleep at night. You may be tempted to keep them in your bedroom, but unless you want to keep their litter box there, it’s preferable to set off a space in the home just for them.

This will help them to relax in their own area without disrupting yours. While it’s fairly unusual for kittens to wake up in the middle of the night and meow loudly in an attempt to attract your attention, try to ignore them. Slowly, they’ll learn that evening is for sleeping, and you won’t arrive.

Scheduling Your Kitten’s Vaccinations and Health Checks

Within a week after bringing your kitten home, take it for a health check. On the initial appointment, your veterinarian should check for parasites and other health issues, as well as provide your kitten’s first round of immunizations if they have not already had them.

Vets are an excellent resource for everything from diet to behavioural issues, and developing a solid connection with your vet is critical to get the care and guidance you need as your cat grows. Consider this introductory visit the beginning of a lifetime collaboration.

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Following the first appointment, your kitten will need to return to the veterinarian every two to four weeks for a medical examination, weight check, parasite checks, feline immunodeficiency virus and leukemia virus tests, and vaccination boosters as required.

Your veterinarian will likely advise you on internal and external parasite management, spay/neuter surgery, and diet; follow their advice. These visits are excellent opportunities to ask your veterinarian any concerns you may have regarding your kitten’s care, behaviour, or nutrition.

Raising a kitten might be difficult, but the payoff is years of love, devotion, and affection, not to mention the delight of seeing your cat grow from a little fluff ball to a sleek and healthy adult.

Remember, your veterinarian is here to help you along the process. Now that you’ve learned all there is to know about kittens and how to nurture them, you’re ready to give your new kitten a warm home and a wonderful life.