Making the decision to bring a kitten in to your home is wonderful, but it is not something to do on a whim. Kittens and cats need lots of care, attention, and time to have a happy life, not to mention regular medical care, and skipping key steps in the early days could lead to big problems later on. If you are new to kitten care, or you simply want to make sure you are doing the best you can for them, here are five tips to keep in mind when you bring your new kitten home for the first time.
- Check your kitten’s age
Kittens need to be with their mother and littermates for at least the first ten weeks of their life, as they have physical and developmental needs that need to be met to set it up for a healthy life. Adopting a kitten that has been taken from its mother too soon could lead to health and behavioral problems.
- ‘Kit’ out your kitten’s new home
Choose a quiet room in your home that can be your kitten’s designated space when it first arrives. Being taken away from its mother and littermates will be a very distressing experience, so it is kinder to give them a peaceful place with their food, water, litter box (placed as far from their food as possible), kitten-safe toys, and lots of snuggly places to sleep. You might consider giving them a heated pad or hot water bottle to cuddle up to that will mimic the heat of their mother.
- Register with a veterinary clinic
Your kitten will need to see a veterinarian regularly in the first few months of their life, and then at least once a year for the rest of their life for checkups and vaccinations. When you have your kitten, take them straight to Mesa vets to get them checked for signs of health problems, birth defects, fleas, ticks, or other parasites. The vet will also be able to provide advice on the right medications, food, and training techniques.
- Buy the right food
There are a huge number of cat food brands on the market, but you need to be sure you are choosing a food that is suitable for their age and that contains the nutrients they need for healthy growth. Your kitten will have a big appetite, but it can be easy to overfeed them. Discuss how much food you should be giving them and how often you should feed them with your vet, but kittens might eat three small meals a day.
- Introduce your kitten to the household
When your kitten has been checked by the vet, declared healthy, and is comfortable in their room, you can let them explore the rest of their new home. Introductions to resident pets and children should be done cautiously, gradually, and always supervised. Try to handle and play with your kitten a lot to strengthen your bond and give them lots of positive reinforcement when they do something good.