Choose a good quality commercial brand tailored especially for kittens to supply all the vitamin and minerals your kitten requires to grow into a healthy cat. Use both moist and dry food and select a small sample of each of the top brands to find out your kitten’s preference. Kittens only have small stomachs and need feeding small meals several times a day at regular intervals.
Food and water bowls
Some cats are allergic to plastics. Stainless steel bowls are unbreakable and dishwasher-safe and present no problems to the allergic cat.
Have a couple of containers of water available for your kitten at all times. Select heavy based bowls that cannot be easily knocked over during play, and replenish them daily.
Select a soft, comfortable bed and add a snug warm blanket. The bed should be located in a draft-free area of the house as kittens need to be kept warm at night.
It’s important to buy a kitten sized toilet tray, that is, one with sides not so high that your kitten will feel intimidated when trying to access it.
There are several types available; clumping and non-clumping or natural fibre, select the one suited to your cleaning preferences.
Training a kitten to use the toilet tray
Most kittens learn readily, but there may be a couple of accidents in the mean time. Never punish a kitten; it sends the wrong message and he may see the tray as something to fear.
Place your kitten in the tray soon after a meal, or when he starts to squat. If he has an accident outside the box, wipe up with a paper towel and place it back in the toilet box. Return the kitten to the box and using his paw, gently cover the paper. He will soon learn that this is place to toilet. Always praise good behaviour. See Litter box training
Cat carriers are essential. You will need one to transport your feline to and from the vet and for other outings as well as travel. Select a carrier that you expect will fit your cat as an adult. Place an old towel inside before putting the cat in, it will prevent him sliding around while travelling in the car.
Keeping kittens safe
Be aware that kittens love to swing on cords, so keep appliances such as electric kettles well away from inquisitive paws. Choking hazards such as beads, buttons and other small items should be kept well away from kittens.
Adjusting to a new life
Until now, a kitten has had his mother and siblings as company. You will now need to try and fill that role. Ensure he knows where he is to sleep and the location of his food and water bowls and his toilet tray. Cats like routine, so if possible, try to keep these items in the same area of the house. He will now need to learn how to play and socialise.
Start by introducing games; this is part of kitten development. Don’t use your fingers as playthings for kittens as they will continue to attack them as adults, possibly causing you injury. Balls (neither too large nor small) and long pieces string offer hours of fun for kittens. There are many commercial cat games available, but simple playthings are often all that’s needed. See Cat toys
Kittens need to scratch, stretch and exercise and the scratching post is an invaluable object. The scratching post is also an alternative to furniture and curtains. When your kitten is ready to play, place him at the base of the scratching post, it won’t take long for him to understand its use. If the kitten attempts to scratch the furniture, just pick him up and place him at the post again.
The social kitten becomes the friendly cat
Socialisation early in life should make for a friendly, well-balanced cat. If he is introduced to as many people, kids and other animals early in life, he is more likely to accept them as an adult. When introducing you kitten to other felines, ensure his vaccinations are up to date; otherwise leave the introduction until he is immunised.
When your new kitten meets your other pets
Allow the other pets to become accustomed to the new kitten by keeping him in one room of the house for the first couple of days. In this way, other animals will pick up his scent and start to become accustomed to it. On about the third day, pick the kitten up and show him briefly to the other pets. Over the next week, allow only supervised time together and always allow animals to get away from one another. Never leave a kitten alone with another older or larger animal unless you are certain the kitten will be safe.
To avoid your other pets feeling threatened, make a fuss of them rather than the kitten when introducing them for the first time.
Ears, eyes and teeth
Teach a kitten early in life that he is to allow examination of ears, eyes and teeth. Be brief when you first start and praise the kitten for not resisting.
Grooming a kitten
Long-haired cats need regular grooming. Start when the kitten is young and select a soft brush. If the kitten is in a too playful mood, wait until he has settled down.
Tags: cat carrier, kittens playing, kitty litter, scratching posts