Good Basic Kitten Care

cute kitten

How much kitten care does a kitten need?

The answer is . . . lots.

Before bringing your new kitten home think about what you will need to care for him or her.

You will need a suitable food dish, a supply of kitten formula food, a water bowl, brush and comb, a kitten litter tray and cat litter, a cat bed and bedding, and a kitten size carrier.

You may also want to have ready a few kitten toys, some of which should be interactive.

It will be a good move to introduce your new kitten to the idea of using a scratching post as soon as possible.

Remember that your investment in good basic care will reward you with the companionship, and affection, of a healthy cat for fifteen years or more.

Kitten Care - Feeding Your Kitten

Kittens under twelve weeks need feeding four or five times daily, then up to six months the kitten needs to be fed three times a day.

Your veterinarian may advise her or his own kitten feeding plan.

Your kitten deserves quality branded kitten food. Avoid cheaper kitten food no matter how much of a bargain it might seem.

Think of the small extra cost as a part of caring for your kitten.

grey kitten standing up

If at all possible monitor your kitten's eating habits by throwing out uneaten canned food after one hour. 

This way you will notice any sudden decrease in your kitten's appetite, which could be a sign of something amiss.

If you cannot be with your pet at feeding time then leave out dry food.

Kittens may not appear to drink very much but they need fresh water left for them at all times. Water bowls should be washed at the least daily.

Do not give your kitten cows milk, doing so is not good kitten care, not only is it unnecessary it can cause nasty bouts of diarrhea.

From the time you bring your eight to twelve week old kitten home she should be gaining weight at around a half ounce each day, up to 24 weeks when growth weight will decrease.

Some will gain a little more some a little less, males tend to gain a little more.

If your kitten starts losing weight or does not gain sufficiently, consult your veterinarian.

If a new kitten simply won't eat kitten food, try baby food with a little warm water to soften it. Then mix in a small amount of kitten food increasing the proportion with each feeding. See - Feeding Kittens.

kitten on bed

Please remember that this page gives purely basic kitten care advice. The best place by far to obtain all that you need to know about caring for your kitten, is your veterinarian.

By all means read good kitten books but you can do no better than to take your little pet on regular visits to your veterinarian.

The Litter Tray And Your Kitten

If you want your new kitten to learn to use the litter tray then scoop it frequently.

three white kittensWhat does a kitten need? She needs you to give her care and attention, so that she grows to become a happy and healthy cat.

A kitten will more readily do its toilet in a tray that is kept dry and is clean smelling, rather than one that has urine and stools left in it that are hours old.

Keeping your kitten's tray clean will also allow you to check on the stool consistency and the amount of urine.

Any change in the color or amount of urine, or any sign of runny stools, could be a signal that something is wrong.

Poisons, Chemicals, and Plants

Think of all the potentially dangerous chemicals and substances that you keep around your home.

Make sure cleaning products, antifreeze and anything else containing dangerous ingredients are stored safely away from your kitten, in securely closed containers. Wipe up spills immediately.

If you use anything containing chemicals to clean floors then let the floor dry completely before allowing your kitten to walk on it.

Cats and kittens have been known to become ill though licking their paws after walking on newly cleaned floors.

Many household plants are toxic to cats. Be sure about the plants that you have around your home, do not keep any that could be harmful to your kitten.

Be aware that rat poison and the like can be just as deadly for your kitten, or cat, as it can be for rodents.

Never give your kitten any human medications - even something as innocent seeming as aspirin can cause the death of a kitten.

Kitten Care - Introducing Your Kitten To Your Other Cats

kitten in grass

Your new kitten should not be introduced to your other cats for at least seven days. This quarantine, far from being mean or cruel, is common sense care.

Young kittens have weak immune systems and are quite likely to pick up a cold in the cattery. Keeping the youngster apart from your existing felines will prevent the spreading of any "nasties".

Another benefit of a short isolation period, is that your new and old pets will get on with each other better.

Allow the new kitten to explore the house while your cat is in another room.

Make the introduction bit by bit, it is a good idea to let your existing cat sniff your new kitten's blanket a few times before they meet. Give your old cat plenty of fuss, and make her feel she is still the boss. See Introducing a New Kitten

Kitten toys can be an aid to your kitten's development. Kittens love to stalk, chase, attack and investigate and they exercise and learn as they do so.
Kitten Toys

Caring For A Kitten - Vaccination

You will need to Take Your Kitten to be Vaccinated at around age two months, three months and four months, your veterinarian may also recommend bringing her back annually as part of her vaccination program.

 tabby kitten
Your investment in good basic kitten care will reward you with the companionship, and affection of a healthy kitten.

Kittens are into everything, they are curious and just love to explore.

No matter how clean your home is, no matter how healthy you think your other pets are, or whether your kitten is always kept indoors - your kitten can be exposed to infection.

Vaccines are not 100% effective, but will give your kitten a good degree of protection against feline leukemia, respiratory diseases, flu type viruses, feline panleukopenia, feline rabies and others.

It is important to understand that vaccines are not a treatment, they are a prevention. If your kitten is unwell because she has not been vaccinated, the vaccination shots should be given after recovery.

Kitten Care - Fleas, Ticks And Ear Mites

Ticks and Fleas Can Make Life Hell for your Kitten. These pests feed off of the blood of your pet causing serious problems such as dermatitis, tapeworm and anemia. Treat all the animals in your house if you find one of them infected.

Be certain that all sprays, powders and shampoos that you use are safe for kittens, your veterinarian will advise on this, and on all aspects of kitten care.

Ear Mites can be transmitted from cat to cat. If your kitten is shaking her head repeatedly and scratching her ears, she may have become infested with ear mites.

Take your pet to the veterinary to have her ears meticulously cleaned and appropriate medication prescribed.

calico and white kitten

Each stage of your kitten's development is precious, enjoy each one. Before you know it, that same helpless little kitten, will becomes your equally lovable fully mature cat.
Kitten Development.

Kitten Care - Spaying And Neutering

Most of us are well aware of the need to prevent unwanted litters. The unwanted cat population, in some areas, is such that large tribes of feral cats roam the streets.

Millions of cats are being put to sleep each year in animal shelters because there are no families to take them. Most of these animals are healthy and young.

But how does spaying and neutering fit in with basic kitten care?

Neutering males prevents urine spraying, and lessens their desire to escape outside to look for a mate.

Neutered males are far less territorial and so there is far less chance of a fight with rival tom, less chance of injuries becoming infected.

Spaying females helps to prevent mammary cancer, which is fatal in many cases, and uterine infections, common in un-spayed females.

This is a very serious condition that must be treated with surgery and thorough veterinary care.

Kittens should be neutered by the age of six months. Surgery is painless, performed under general anesthetic, and is relatively safe. Your kitten will be up and about in a day or so of its operation.

Caring for an orphaned kitten? This page has advice... Orphan Kitten Care

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> Kitten Care.