A new kitten is a very big responsibility. They are cute, cuddly, and fun but they are also sensitive and delicate. Kittens need very special care to survive and flourish. Taking proper care of your kitten will give you a happy, healthy, loving ball of fur.
Your new kitten is a living, breathing being. You always need to take this into account when dealing with it. He or she will be frightened of being in a new place with new things going on. It will need to be regularly fed and have its water bowl full of fresh clean water at all times. Don’t drag the kitten around where it doesn’t want to go and you shouldn’t handle it roughly either. They actually have more bones than you do, which means they are very tiny and delicate and it is easy to hurt them without realizing it.
When you bring the new kitten home, don’t just let her out into the house. Leave her in her cat carrier where she can see out and watch everyone for a little while. This will allow her to feel more comfortable and she will be less likely to run and hide when you do let her out.
While the kitten is in the carrier set out her food and water. Any kitten you get should be at least 8 weeks old and so eating solid food. Make sure that she is able to get to her food and water at all times. Don’t put it in a hidden location because you will forget to keep it filled then. The kitchen is a good place to keep it. Whenever you go grab something to eat you can check to see if the bowls have food and water in them.
Fill the litter box with a couple of inches of litter and place it somewhere it will always be accessible to the kitten. If she can’t get to it, she can’t go in it, and will go wherever she can then.
If you’ve purchased one, set up the kitten’s cat tree where she’ll be able to sit on it and look out the window. That will encourage her to use it.
Set her bed right by yours so she’ll feel safe and secure when she sleeps in it.
Finally, when the house is quiet and the kitten seems calm, open her cage. Let her sniff around the room a little and then take her and show her where the litter box is. Set her inside and using her little paw, scrape at the litter a little. This will tell her she should go here and if she was left with her mother long enough, she shouldn’t have a problem with it. She may even go right then.
Next, show her where her food and water is. If she isn’t interested, don’t force her to eat. She may be still sensitive from the move.
Show her where her cat tree is and let her sit at a medium height level. This way she will realize it’s hers and if she’s still scared and jumps off, she won’t hurt herself. Leave the kitten be for a while. She may jump straight down and go hide or she might stay right there and watch everything going on. If she’s well socialized, she may just follow you, asking to get picked up.
Whenever you do pick up the kitten, make sure you are careful and pick her up correctly. Do this by placing one hand right behind her legs and the other over her tail and cupping her butt. Always use two hands and nestle her against you chest. This will give her a sense of security and keep her from falling.
If the kitten is extremely nervous and hiding, you may want to act reassuring. Do this by sitting near where she’s at and reading a book. Cats feel threatened when they get looked at too closely and so by ignoring the kitten you will be behaving more cat-like and non-threatening. This will also get her curiosity going and she may come out just to see what you’re looking at. If you have a cat toy you can roll it gently around and act like you’re playing with it. This will make her want to play with it too and she may come out to do so.
After a while you can start to go about your normal routine. Watch out for a little one getting under your feet. They can really easily trip you and you can easily hurt them. Try not to be really loud and behave calmly and soothingly.
You will want to spend some time kitten-proofing your house. Make sure you don’t have thread or yarn where the kitten can get to it. It is really dangerous. Check to be sure no cords or strings are hanging near where the kitten can get at them. Blind cords are the worst for this and every year kittens strangle themselves on these. Remember the kitten can jump much higher than you think it can.
No matter how kitten-proof you make your place, your kitten will find a way to get into trouble. So always keep an eye out for anything that is dangerous. Don’t use candles and make sure all the pots and pans are pushed way back from the edge of the stove. Your kitten will jump up there and knocking over a pot of water or stepping on a knife left out will be dangerous. Cats make you a better housekeeper, since anything left out will be gotten into.
The kitten will adjust to your house eventually although it may take time. Just go slow and don’t push her. Scoop the litter box everyday and change it every few days. Keep her food and water bowls filled and make sure she has enough toys so she doesn’t tear up your stuff.
Kittens are very social animals and if left alone all day will get into trouble. They may also get too aggressive in their play with you. The best thing you can do for your kitten and for the sake of your home is to get another kitten. This will give the first kitten a playmate and someone to cuddle with when you’re not around. Kittens grow up into better behaved cats when they have a kitten playmate growing up. Only having one kitten can work if you are playing with it all the time, you don’t go to work, and you aren’t in school. Your kitten will get very lonely without a playmate and may start some destructive behavior. It is much easier to have two kittens than it is to have only one lonely one.
Your kitten will need to be groomed regularly. Brush the kitten gently everyday, making sure no knots buildup in her fur. If the kitten’s hair is long, you will have to really make sure she stays knot free since it’s difficult for her to do it all by herself.
You won’t need to bathe your kitten unless she gets into a mess. It is actually harmful to their skin to wash them too much. If you do have to bathe her though, make sure you use room temperature water so she doesn’t get burned or freeze and only use shampoo that says it’s safe for kittens that age. Also, make sure she is nice and dry afterwards to avoid having her get a chill.
As soon as possible after getting a kitten take it to the vet to start getting its shots. Vaccines need to be given in a series and so you will have to go a few times to get them all taken care off. Make sure you get the rabies vaccine taken care of as soon as possible since you will get fined if you wait too long. The kitten will also need to get a prescription for flea treatment as well. Your vet will likely want you to use either Advantage or Frontline to keep fleas from bothering your baby. While at the vets it’s also a good idea to set up an appointment to get your kitten spayed or neutered. This won’t happen until the kitten is 4 or 5 months old, but by setting it early you will be sure to remember.
You may also want to introduce your kitten to other animals so it becomes well socialized. It is much easier to introduce animals like rats and rabbits when the kitten is little and doesn’t realize he should be frightening them instead of them scaring him. If you have friends with these animals tell them what you are trying to do and ask them to bring their animals over so you can introduce them in a safe and secure way. Cats and rabbits will frequently become great pals when introduced early.
Every once and while look your kitten over carefully and make sure he is healthy. See if his nails need to be trimmed or if you need to brush his teeth. You may even want to keep a weekly record of his weight to make sure he never looses any. Feel along his skin and make sure he is smooth and has no bumps that might be tumors. This regular exam can help you notice if something is wrong with your little one so you can get him to the vet before its too late.
Take good care of your new kitten and he or she should live many years and be a wonderful member of your family. Give them lots of love and they will love you in return.
- Remember; never let your kittens or cats outside. It is dangerous and they are often killed by cars and wild animals and loose dogs and sadistic people.
- Always watch out for anything dangerous your kitten can get into. Tinsel from Christmas tree, poisonous plants, and sharp, pointy things are all very dangerous and possibly deadly.