I love kittens. They are just the cutest things on the planet.
As the owner of Snaggle Foot Dog Walks and Pet Care in Round Lake, Illinois we have taken care of alot of cats but not too many kittens. We do get a lot of puppies but I wanted to take some time to help people bring their new kitten into their home.
Here are 10 tips to help you:
- Kittens are sometimes adopted at six weeks of age, but 10 to 12 weeks is better. Those extra weeks spent with his mother and siblings help a kitten learn acceptable behavior, from getting along with siblings to getting used to human contact. If a kitten has been gently handled and has gotten used to humans, he will be friendlier and better adjusted. In choosing a kitten, look for one that is inquisitive, doesn't shy away from your touch, and is ready to play.
- Make sure you make an appointment with your veterinarian a few days after you get your kitten so he/she can be checked out.
- Kittens grow very fast in their first year and need different nutrition than adult cats. Purchasing specially formulated kitten foods fitting their nutritional requirements should be given until the kitten is a year old.
- Away from his littermates or mother, the kitten needs to feel secure as well as warm. Keep your kitten's bed in a quiet place, away from household traffic.
- Litter training is easy -- cats instinctively bury their waste -- but takes patience. Put the litter box in a corner or other secluded spot. After your kitten has awakened from a nap, or shortly after she's finished eating, place her in the box. If she doesn't dig or scratch, gently take one of her front paws and simulate digging with it. Praise her if she uses the box, but never punish her if he doesn't. Just place her in it at hourly intervals until she gets the idea. To discourage clawing furniture, provide a carpet-covered scratching post.
- Although everyone will want to hold your new kitten, limit handling for the first few days while your new pet adjusts. Set up his bed, litter box and food in a quiet room where he can be secured until he gets to know his new home. Introduce one family member at a time, allowing the kitten to come to you and learn your touch. Make sure you supervise children when they are handling the new kitten. Children should be taught to be gentle with their new furbaby.
- Kittens can get tangled or choked by anything swinging or hanging. Therefore, keep your new pet safe by securely anchoring drape or blind cords out of reach. To prevent chewing on electric and phone cords, bundle them with a cord manager and fasten away from kittens' reach. Remove poisonous plants, and roach or ant traps and make sure the toilet lid is down. Keep kitchen and bathroom cabinets closed so your kitten doesn't encounter bleach, detergent, dental floss and other household items when exploring.In the laundry area, keep washer and dryer doors closed: A kitten may climb into a warm dryer for a nap. Remember, if something would be harmful for a toddler, it's the same for your kitten.
- Kittens can be spayed or neutered as early as eight weeks of age, but your vet can determine the best time for this surgery. Spaying protects your female kitten from the risk of mammary, uterine and ovarian cancers, and spares her the stresses of pregnancy. Neutering a male reduces his risk of prostate cancer, and he won't "spray" to mark his territory. Because the urine of intact males literally stinks, neutering your kitten will make the litter box cleanup less of a chore. Spaying or neutering also helps reduce the problem of cat overpopulation.
- When you first bring your kitten home, he may miss his siblings and mother. He'll meow in confusion or wake up during the night. Ease his stress by picking him up, stroking him while speaking in a soothing tone. Wrapping a ticking clock in a towel and placing it near his bed to remind him of his mother's heartbeat.
- Always purchase toys that are safe for kittens. Most pet stores have a variety of safe toys to choose from.