Kittens make adorable pets. If you’re planning on bringing one home, you’ll need to be prepared so that your new pet will be safe, healthy, and comfortable. Here are some tips to help your new kitten feel right at home with your family.
[caption id="attachment_355" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Andrii Podilnyk, Unsplash
Time Your Homecoming Right
You probably can’t wait to bring your new bundle of fur home. Make sure you give your pet enough time with her mother. Although you can bring a younger kitten home, 8 to 10 weeks
is the best age as this gives her time to learn healthy habits while still in the litter. If you are rescuing a kitten, the situation may be different, and the kitten may be an orphan. In this case, make sure kitty is used to being handled and is inquisitive and ready to play. A young kitten will sleep a lot, up to 20 hours each day. So make sure she has a comfortable place to curl up where she won’t be disturbed.
[caption id="attachment_356" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Nine Kopfer, Unsplash
Find a Good Vet
One of the best ways to find a vet you can count on is by talking to your animal-owning friends and getting referrals. You’ll need a vet for your cat's annual shots, but also in case she gets hurt or sick. Hopefully, this will not happen, but if it does and you need a vet out of hours, it can cause a lot of stress. Especially if you’re not sure if you need an emergency vet or you should wait till morning. There no need to worry, thanks to the airVet app
for Android and iPhone. This free app allows you the convenience of contacting your own vet or another fully licensed in-network veterinarian so that you can get the advice you need right away.
[caption id="attachment_357" align="aligncenter" width="300"] SirenPhoto, Hashtag Lilac
Get the Right Menu
Feeding a kitten
is not the same as feeding an adult cat. For the first year of their lives, young cats are growing, and they need the right nutrition for the development of healthy bones and tissue. Find a food that is specially designed for kittens. If they have already been weaned, try to find out what food the cat is already used to. Don’t be upset if the kitten doesn’t eat straight away. Sometimes kittens will play with their food before eating. Make sure your kitten’s water bowl is always full so she remains hydrated. For kittens 6-8 months, you should be feeding three times per day, after 6 months, you can drop down to 2. Your vet will recommend the portion size, based on your kitten.
[caption id="attachment_358" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Danilo Batista, Unsplash
Give Your Kitten Time to Settle
When you first bring kitty home, everyone will want to hold her, but to make her feel at home, you should minimize handling for the first few days. Introduce her to the litter box, her feeding area, and her bed, and give her time to explore. If you have young children, show them how to hold the kitten correctly
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Keep Your Kitten Safe
Young kittens are very inquisitive and just about everything is a toy to them. Make sure she can’t reach long cords to blinds which could choke her and make sure she doesn’t chew on electrical cables. To keep her occupied, provide your kitten with plenty of toys. Make sure you remove all toxic plants
and don’t leave mouse or bug poison where your kitten can reach them. Get her used to a cat carrier early on so that when you need to take her to the vet or on vacation, you won’t have to fight to get her in there.
[caption id="attachment_360" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Jari Hytonen, Unsplash
Litter Train Your Kitten
Training your new cat to use the bathroom is important. Choose a litterbox
that is easy for the kitten to climb in and out of and choose the right litter; one which is unscented and quick-clumping is the best. Where you place the litterbox is also important. Choose a quiet corner that is away from your kitten’s main area of play, but make sure it’s easy to find. Don’t forget to reward your kitten with a treat
each time she uses the litterbox.
[caption id="attachment_361" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Manki Kim, Unsplash
Watching your new pet develop her personality and grow into an adult cat is a wonderful journey. Following these tips can make it easier for both of you.
Visit Dr. Jeff Werber’s
Instagram account (@werbs_dvm
) to view and submit questions and answers on weekly AMAs – or call and leave a voicemail at 424-835-0576. Your call will be returned posthaste.
For emergencies, download Dr. Jeff Werber’s app Airvet
, a video-chat option for veterinary needs at any time of day or night!