How To Care For A Kitten

how to care for a kitten

If you want to know how to care for a kitten you’ve come to the right place. In this article you’ll discover everything you need to know, from looking after a newborn, right through to the first few months of your kitten’s life. You’ll discover important but often overlooked steps in preparing your home, as well as feeding, grooming, and lots more.

Getting a kitten should never be done on a whim. Cats are a responsibility and deserve quality care. Many abandoned pets are a result of not being able to look after them. Kittens and puppies are cute, but grow into adults very fast.

Preparing your home for the new arrival

how to look after a kitten

Caring for a kitten starts before you even bring it home. You must firstly think about where the kitten will sleep, and provide a quiet space for her. This is important as she needs time to adjust to her new surroundings. Being taken away from the mother is very scary for a kitten.

Having somewhere to hide if she gets afraid, like a hidey hole will provide comfort for her. You can easily buy a hidey hole bed from your local pet store or Amazon. In addition, Put a nice cosy blanket inside covered with your scent. This will help your little fur baby feel secure. One often overlooked but very important point is to make sure all windows are securely fastened. You don’t want your little one wandering outside! Also, ensure all plants and breakables are out of reach.

Provide places for your kitty to climb, as well as a scratching post, and toys to play with. Place a small size litter box in one corner of the room, and food bowls in another. Never place a litter box near your cat’s food. In addition, you’ll need a small water bowl as well.

If you’re getting your kitten from a foster home ask if you can have a small blanket or something with a familiar smell. This will give a sense of security, making her feel safe.

How to feed your kitten

how to feed a kitten

One common question on how to care for a kitten is how to feed it. Having this tiny bundle of fur to care for can be a bit daunting if you’re a new pet parent. However, as long as you follow a few basic rules you’ll be fine. Firstly, if you get your kitten from a breeder it should be at least 8 weeks old. This is to allow time for weaning and the kitten to develop immunity. Also, it should be on solids by this time.

Many breeders keep kittens until 12 weeks old as they’re still so tiny and vulnerable. However, rescue centres usually allow you to take a kitten home after 8 weeks. Talk to the breeder or volunteer at the rescue centre for advice on what food to give. It’s always best to stick to the same food if possible.

This is because kittens have very sensitive tummies and easily upset by a sudden change in diet. Either wet or dry is fine, and even a mix of both. One of the benefits of dry food is it helps keep your kitten’s teeth clean. Kittens have small stomachs, and need to eat little and often. 4 small meals a day is best up to the age of about 6 months. After that, you can cut back to about 3 meals a day up to 1 year old. Beyond which your kitten will now be able to eat adult food.

You can buy food especially for kittens, and one of the brands I recommend is Royal Canin. They’re well known for quality prescription diets, and I’ve used some of their foods on my cats with great results.

Royal Canin Feline Health Nutrition Kitten Canned Cat Food

royal canin kitten food

Royal Canin kitten food contains easy to digest slices in gravy.In addition, the correct ratio of fats, proteins, and carb for a growing kitten, ensure a healthy immune system.

Average rating 4.6 out of 5

You can buy Royal Canin Kitten Canned Food here

Hill’s Science Diet Dry Cat Food, Kitten, Chicken Recipe

hills science kitten food

Hill’s Science cat foods are made with natural ingredients to ensure the health of your growing kitten. Dry food kitten recipe is packed with high quality protein to support lean muscle.

Specially balanced minerals ensure a healthy immune system, as well as strong bones and teeth. Also, DHA sourced from fish is added to support brain and eye development in young kittens.

Average rating 4.7 out of 5

You can buy Hill’s Science Diet Dry Cat Food for kittens here

Caring for your kittens teeth

Many cat parents fail to realise the importance of keeping their fur babies teeth healthy. Just like kids, kittens have baby teeth. These are formed around two weeks, but gradually become loose and fall out. By four months all permanent incissors are formed, and by six months all premolars are in place. Lastly, by the time your kitten is seven months old all 30 of her permanent teeth will have formed.

Similar to babies and puppies, kittens teethe, and you may notice your little kitty seems irritable, or has trouble eating dry foods. Don’t panic if you see the odd tooth on the floor, or your kitty pawing at her mouth. This is a normal part of teething. Try feeding soft foods during this time to ease sore gums.

Try and introduce your cat to brushing by rubbing her gums gently with a small blob of pet toothpaste. Many cats over age three show signs of dental disease, so starting a dental routine when your kitten’s teeth have fully formed is a good idea. Wait until she’s at least seven months old and check with your vet first.

Grooming your kitten

When kittens are born, the mother licks their fur to stimulate suckling and provide comfort. After about four weeks, kittens not only start grooming their siblings, but their mum as well. Grooming is a natural instinct, but long and medium hair cats need a bit of extra help. Even short hair kitties should be groomed weekly, so getting your kitten used to being brushed is important. Knowing how to groom your cat the right way helps prevent tangles and allows you to spot any problems early on.

When to get your kitten neutered

Before you allow your cat outside you must get her neutered. Kittens mature very fast, and females can get pregnant as young as four months old. Whether you have a male or female cat you have a responsibility to prevent unwanted kittens. Spaying or neutering should be carried out as soon as your kitty reaches four months. Unneutered toms are not only on the prowl for females in heat, but frequently spray unpleasant smelling urine as well.

Keeping your kitten’s vaccinations up to date

It’s vital to get your kitten vaccinated to protect her from infectious diseases. The first vaccination should be done at around nine weeks old. This should be followed by a second one at age three months. After that, your cat should continue to get annual booster vaccinations. Vaccinations should be part of an annual check up. This ensures your cat keeps healthy, and any minor problems addressed before they develop.

how to care for a kitten that’s been abandoned

how to care for a kitten that's been abandoned

Occasionally, for whatever reason, a mother may reject a newborn. This could be because the litter is very big and the weakest gets left behind. Sometimes tiny kittens are abandoned by people who can’t look after them, and out of ignorance don’t consider rehoming.

Firstly, you need to keep the kitten warm as newborns are unable to regulate body temperature until around three weeks old. Place the little one on a heated pad, or hot water bottle wrapped in a towel. You’ll need to get it checked over by a vet, in case it’s dehydrated or has worms. Your vet will do a general check up to assess the general health of the kitten and offer advice on looking after it.

A tiny kitten will need bottle feeding regularly throughout the day and can’t be left on its own. You can get specially formulated milk for newborn kittens as well as a bottle with teat. Once the kitten starts getting stronger and growing try introducing solids.

The rewards of caring for a kitten

Kittens, just like babies, grow into adults, only a lot faster! The rewards you get for caring for your kitten are huge. Though your feline companion can’t talk, she’ll reward you with lots of unconditional love. In addition to which, you’ll get a sense of wellbeing, and contentment at looking after another little life. There’s something very special about caring for a kitten or puppy, and watching it grow into a healthy, and much loved adult.

If you’ve enjoyed this post on how to care for a kitten, please share. Also, if you have any questions or want to share your experiences, please feel free to leave your comment in the box below.

Wishing you a purrfect day:)
Kathy

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8 comments

  1. This post is so informative. I have a 16 year old cat and though she is in very good health I am always worried about losing her. I happened on your post as I am thinking of getting another cat. My only worry is how the old dragon will accept the new baby!

    1. Hi Mariella, I have posted another article on this blog about introducing a kitten to an older cat. It outlines everything you need to do in order to prevent fur flying everywhere:) Good luck

  2. Hi there and thanks for this really cute and helpful article.
    I’ve recently become a first time cat mum. It’s really daunting for me as I’m a dog person, and a big dog person at that. I worry so much about my kitten because she is forever climbing up high or getting stuck in the couch or behind the TV. I knew how to puppy proof my home but it seems infinitely more difficult for kittens. Do you have any articles that could be helpful to me?

    1. Thank you Marketa:) Yes, caring for a kitten can seem daunting if you’re new to it! As she grows, she’ll be less likely to get stuck in the couch lol! Cats are highly inquisitive creatures, and they love to explore. I don’t have any other articles to recommend at this time, but I will be posting more on kitten care in the near future:)

  3. This is great information on how to care for a kitten, and since I never had a kitten this information is all new to me. I have always had puppies instead of kittens mainly because I am very allergic to cats for some reason but not dogs, but I was wondering since you seem to know so much about kittens are there any breed of kittens that are a good fit for someone with kitten allergies?

    Jeff

    1. Thank you Jeff:) Glad you enjoyed my post. If you have an allergy to cats you could always get a hairless breed such as the sphynx, bambino, or donskoy:)

  4. Wow
    What a valuable article.
    My granny has cats and I have often wondered how they get taken care of since I only know about dogs.
    I didn’t know that you need to teach them how to eat and also didnt know that there teeth need to be looked after just like that of kids

    1. Thank you Thabo:) Yes, pets as well as humans need to care for their teeth:) The same applies to dogs, so make sure you brush your dog’s teeth, or give him dental sticks for dogs.

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