Rules to raising a healthy sociable kitten

Raising a kitten exciting as they can be so full of energy and a ball of fun! But it’s a big responsibility, this guide will help you through some of the  basics of taking care of your bundle of fur fun!

Your kitten can get itself into a bundle of trouble when unattended.  Make sure you work out a plan of where you kitten will stay when you are unable to watch over them or need to go out.  If your kitten is staying in a room ensure there are no blind cords or curtain cords hanging down that can be reached.  Try to have as little furniture in the designated room as possible, a kitten can climb up into couches and become stuck in springs etc.  It is safe and a good practice to keep your kitten in a crate or pen area when unattended, this ensures a safe zone where your kitten has little risk of being hurt or getting itself into trouble.  Never leave a collar on your kitten when unattended as the collar can get stuck and the kittens weight is generally not enough to break the collar free.

Kittens are cute, it’s understandable we wish cats could stay kittens forever. You as the pet parent are laying the foundation for your cat’s future, health and his or her behavior. All of your hard work during the first few months is heavily compensated by Kitten cuteness, snuggling and crazy adorable antics your kitten will provide.

1. Your Kitten’s Age

Your Kitten’s age is crucial information, they have very specific developmental needs for the first 10 weeks of their lives. Nourishment, warmth, socialization, and excretion this is why it is important for the Kitten to be with its mother until a particular age.  If you are in a situation where you need to care for an orphaned kitten under 10 weeks old, it is best to consult with your vet for special instructions.  Under 10 weeks of age the kitten will require extra care and special food to ensure the correct nourishment needs are being met and the Kitten develops properly.

2. Vet – First Checkup

If you do not have a vet then seek recommendations either online or from a family member or friend. If your Kitten comes from a rescue group or shelter, ask advice on vets they prefer to use.

It is important you take your new Kitten for a vet consult within the first few days so the vet can check your kitten out and have a record of the Kittens weight to use to check development going forward.  The first visit is important for the owner and the kitten, it’s not only testing for health issues or birth defects, parasites, and cat flu.  It also ensures you get a chance to ask any questions that you are unsure about. Kittens like children require special care when they are young.

3. Vet  Advice

  1. Have your vet recommend a type of food, how often to feed, and portion sizes.
  2. Discuss safe options for controlling parasites, both external and internal for a Kitten.  NEVER use Cat or Dog flea or worm treatment on a kitten under 12 months.
  3. Learn about possible signs of illness to watch for during your kitten’s first 3 months.
  4. Discuss how to introduce your kitten to other household pets properly to ensure they get along.
  5. Schedule visits for vaccinations

4. Food

A Growing kitten needs as much as three times more calories and nutrients than adult cats. It’s important to find a good quality food designed especially for kittens. The age of your Kitten will dictate what type of kitten food you require.  You need to ensure that your kitten gets the proper nourishment it requires in order to grow and develop.

5. Set Up A Feeding Schedule

To keep up with your kitten’s needs  you have to establish a daily feeding routine.  Prior to 3 months of age the Kitten will require small amounts of Kitten food every 2 -3 hours, if under 10 weeks of age will need to be a Weaning food which can be either wet / dry or a combination of both. At 3 to 6 moths of age vets recommend feeding your kitten three times a day. Once  six months, you can feed your cat twice a day. Your Kitten has turned into an adult cat at approx 12 months of age. Make sure there is always a fresh water bowl filled at all times available to your pet.

6.How to Bring up a Sociable Kitten

When your vet has given your Kitten the all clear from disease and parasites it’s safe to let your new kitten explore its surroundings. If you have other pets in your home introduce them slowly over a period of time.  It is normally best to have your kitten secure in a cage and allow other pets to visit for short periods of time over a few weeks.  Handling and playing with your kitten every day will help form a strong emotional bond with you.

7. Room or Crate

You will need a space in your home that your kitten feels safe and secure. Before you bring your kitten home it’s best to designate a quiet area of the home or use a large crate as you would for a puppy. In this area you will need to put a few essentials like a comfy pet bed, small amount of food, water and a small litter box which is designed for a kitten. Tip: Remember, cats don’t like their food and Litter box too close together. Make sure you place the food dishes opposite to the litter box.

8. What do I require for a Kitten

Essential items:

  1. Quality food, specifically for kittens
  2. Collar and ID tags  (do not leave a collar on the kitten when unattended)
  3. Food and water bowls
  4. Small Litter Box and cat litter
  5. A warm cat bed
  6. Cat carrier
  7. Scratching post
  8. Kitten safe toys.  Only use when supervised, kittens can swallow small parts.
  9. Cat brush

9. Early Signs of Illness
Kittens are more susceptible to a number of illnesses, and it’s always best to catch a health issue early. With a Kitten they can go down hill very fast when sick, it is important to contact your vet immediately if your kitten displays any of the following:

  1. Lack of appetite
  2. Poor weight gain
  3. Vomiting
  4. Swollen or painful abdomen
  5. Lethargy (tiredness)
  6. Diarrhea
  7. Difficulty breathing
  8. Wheezing or coughing
  9. Pale gums
  10. Swollen, red eyes or eye discharge
  11. Nasal discharge
  12. Inability to pass urine or stool
Try to introduce your kitten to the outdoors on a lead for the first few weeks, you can start this around 4 months of age.  Getting your kitten used to the backyard and areas around your home slowly in small bursts.  After a few weeks, let your kitten out when you are around at home just for small amounts of time. From approx 6 months of age you are safe for your kitten to go outdoors for periods of time.  If you can provide the use of a cat door for the kitten to come back indoors when you are not home that is the best solution.  Your kitten may become scared during the day and if they know they are able to get back indoors they will seek shelter rather than run.  Sometimes they get lost when they are young due to panic, this can be caused by other animals or loud noises. 
It is best to have microchip cat door this ensures only your cat can come in to the house, but it is not necessary. When training your cat for the first time to use a cat door always have 2 people one on one side of the door and one on the other side.  Pass your cat through the door to the other person and do this a few times each session every day for a week to 10 days.  After that, your pet will get the idea on his / her own how to use the door.  Never frighten your pet or push your pet through the door in a manner that will upset them. Try coax them by calling their name, or use a special treat. 
Cat doors allow your pet freedom and a place to seek shelter,  if using a microchip cat door you are able to programme in times your pet can come and go.  It also ensures other pets cannot follow your cat into your house saving your cat from fighting and also from spraying happening in your home. 

By Friends With Tales

We love our friends with tales and do our best to post useful tips and information to help you look after them. If you want to write articles for us - get in touch on our contact page.