We all know that kittens have a lot of cuteness, but raising one from babyhood can become quite a challenge. If you add such a furbaby to your home, do you know how to raise a kitten?
A Tiny Kitten Is Fragile
Kittens as newborns depend completely on their mothers for nourishment, warmth, and elimination. If orphaned, the kitten will need a human to take over the mother role.
You will have to keep them warm and feed them every couple of hours, 24 hours a day, up to about four weeks old.
I’ve known folks who used a doll’s bottle and nipple, as it provided the small size necessary for feeding a kitten. Your vet can give you more complete instructions as to the proper bottle formula, and how long the kitten will need it.
From birth to four or five weeks of age, you will have to stimulate the anogenital area so the kitten can urinate and defecate. You can do so by using a warm, wet cotton ball. Gently rub the anogenital region. Without such help, the kitten could die
From Eight weeks to Eleven Weeks Of Age
As kittens are usually weaned by eight weeks, you can start your baby cat on a kitten diet at this time. Make sure you choose a food that’s formatted for kittens. The food should have an energy-dense composition, rich in protein and highly digestible.
During this time of life, your kitten will be very busy, running, jumping, playing, and exploring. Though you will gain great enjoyment from watching Kitten’s antics, you must also make sure you supervise.
Because she does not know all the dangers of the world, your baby cat could get into serious trouble. It’s best to keep her in a safe, enclosed space so you can keep an eye on her.
Two To Four Months Of Age
During this period, the kitten will experience rapid growth. At this time, the small kitten will have almost three times the energy of an adult cat. Thus, feed the little one three to four individual meals a day during this period. Make these meals at minimum 30% high-quality protein.
Four To Six Months Of Age
At this age, your small kitten reaches sexual maturity. You should ask your vet about having your kitten spayed or neutered before the kitten goes into heat or starts spraying. Avoid problems before they start.
It’s Time To Train And Socialize
This period proves very important to the kitten’s adjustment to the world, people, and other animals. The more of this training you can do while the kitten is still quite young, the better your baby will adjust to the world she shares with you.
Starting the socialization process while the kitten is still quite young helps her in adulthood. She should be played with and comforted frequently. Expose her to as many new sights, sounds, smells, and sensations as possible.
Get her used to her such things as wearing a collar, riding in her carrier or in the car, plus regular grooming. If she becomes frightened, comfort her and return her to her safe place for a rest.
Potty Training At The Top Of The List
Start litter box training as soon as you bring her home. If the kitten stays with her mother until weaned, she will usually learn the process of the litter box by watching Mom.
Thus, it’s quite possible that your kitten will already know how to use a litter box. Your job becomes showing her where to find it. Put her in the litter box after meals and play sessions. Use positive reinforcement, such as treats and praise, when she uses it correctly.
It might prove helpful to have a couple of litter boxes for her to use until she’s got the process down. Make sure to clean boxes regularly — At least once a day.
Other Socialization Methods
- Pet her frequently, so she gets used to human handling
- Give her toys to play with, or make her toys — any youngster needs playthings
- Comb and brush her weekly — easier to get her used to it early on
- After she’s had all her vaccinations, take her outside in a carrier or on a leash. Please realize it is dangerous to let her out on her own when so young.
- Boxes and paper bags will intrigue her
- Teach her about scratching posts
- No biting or scratching during play. If she starts either of these, distract her with a toy.
Give Lots Of Rewards, But No Punishment
Always make sure to reward your kitten when she is good, as you want to reinforce that good behavior. However, do not punish her if she does something unacceptable. Simply ignore her and walk away.
Also, give the kitten lots of pets and positive attention. She needs to know you care. Love can make so many things go smoothly.
Let Your Kitten Meet Other Cats
In this way, the kitten will learn to respect older cats. From their littermates, they learn how to interact with their peer group. She’ll also learn such things as respecting another cat’s territory.
The Vet Can Help With Problems
Make sure you schedule regular check-ups with your vet. Check general health, keep up on vaccinations, and if necessary, go through the deworming process.
The vet can also advise you regarding the best time for spaying or neutering.
Just like with human babies, kittens seem to grow from babyhood so fast. Your kitten will grow from being baby to adulthood very quickly. The little cat grows through infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and will become a young adult by the time she reaches two years of age.
By that age, the eye color (always blue at birth) , coat color, plus pattern and length, and personality all will be well-established.
Therefore, enjoy your kitten, as she won’t be a kitten for very long.
References I used for this post: catster.com/kittens/kitten-facts-things-to-know petfinder.com/cats/cat-care/kitten-care-must-know-tips-for-raising-kittens/ hillspet.com/cat-care/new-pet-parent/bringing-home-and-raising-your-new-kitten thedodo.com/dodowell/kitten-care