Kittens are so special and bring such enormous joy to the whole family. Over the years we’ve cared for lots of kittens and below share our top tips for looking after a new Kitten.
It’s very important that your new kitten has been fully socialized by its breeder. To reduce stress and anxiety as adults it’s vital that the breeder (ideally when the kitten is between two and seven weeks of age) has fully handled and allowed the kitten to get to know the sights, sounds and smells of a domestic home and has introduced it to different people, children and friendly dogs.
Kittens can be anxious in your new home. Place their new bed in a warm, private place where they can retreat to if things get too much. Cats really need a place that’s just for them.
Introduce your kitten to existing pets slowly. Pets recognise each other through scent, so try placing toys from your existing pet into your new kittens bedding and vice versa, so that they become comfortable with each others smell.
It’s best to continue feeding your new kitten on the same food they were getting from the breeder, at least for a few days. If you wish to change their food it’s a good idea to stick to food that’s especially made for kittens and make the change gradually by mixing the new and old food over the course of a week.
Always ensure your kitten has a clean, fresh supply of water. Always wash their bowls separately from your own household dishes and try to avoid using any harsh cleaning products which could upset your kittens stomach. If you would like to give your kitten’s nutrition a boost, you can buy dedicated kitten milk as a treat every now and again.
Most kittens love to scratch to keep their claws in good condition. To save your furniture it’s a good idea to invest in a good quality scratching post.
To strengthen the bond between yourself and your kitten it’s a good idea to set aside some time every day to play with your kitten. Most kittens will have a “mad half-hour” when they run around letting off steam. Don’t try to stop your kitten when they’re letting off steam, as this could possibly lead to behavioural problems when they get older (e.g. attention seeking). Kittens will usually grow out of their mad turns as they venture outdoors and start chasing things.
Kittens should be taught to use litter trays as soon as possible. Litter trays should be placed in a private place well away from their bed and food/water dishes. Kittens sometimes adapt better to litter trays that have a hood over them which gives them more privacy.
If your kitten seems to be reluctant to use her litter tray it may be helpful to place her into the tray after she’s eaten. It may also be a good idea to pop her into her tray first thing in the morning and just before you retire for the night.
Make sure that you empty their litter tray regularly and try not use any harsh chemicals to clean it, which may put your cat off from using it.
If you find your cat is reluctant to use their tray it may be a sign of stress and anxiety. Try placing the tray somewhere where they may feel more comfortable with more privacy.
Before you allow your kitten to venture outside you must ensure they are vaccinated and can be identified. First vaccinations are usually required at around 8 weeks of age and the boosters at 12 weeks. A kitten should always have a collar and tag and preferably be microchipped by your vet too.
Kittens and cats need regular worming and flea treatment throughout their lives. Treatments such as Frontline and Drontal can be bought from your local pet store, but we would suggest you consult your local vet as to the best course of treatment. Please be aware that most pet sitters will not visit a cat or kitten that has fleas.
Kittens need lots of loving care to help them grow into healthy and confident cats. Hopefully our top kitten tips will help you ensure your kitten gets the best possible start in life. We love looking after kittens and if you need any care when you are at work or on holiday please contact us. If you have any questions about your kitten, please give me a call on (0131) 333 0640 or send me an email.