To take care of a kitten is just like having a baby. Having a baby is a kind of task. Right from birth, the baby needs to be handled with care, pampered and taught all the things right. We take immense care about food and health. You may have seen cat performing her motherly duties like a pro to her kitten. But when it comes to us humans, it is not the same process.
If you have a puppy and you wanna know that, go check our latest post on “How to take care of your puppy?”
When a kitten steps at your door with its tiny paws, it has its own share of fears & restlessness of entering into an entirely new space, and you being its keeper are liable to provide it with every possible necessity to help it flourish in your locale. But are you doing your duty right?
To take care of a kitten is a demanding task but when you start doing it, you eventually fall in love with literally everything associated with it. Be it handling their tantrums, or cuddling them. That’s the very essence of keeping and nurturing a pet. You just tend to fall for their cute natural instincts, be it them doing adorable tactics to gain your attention or purring on your laps out of endearment.
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Consult a Veterinarian
Right from you find the newborn and make a decision that you want to keep the kitten with you, you need to visit a veterinarian and educate yourself about all the things and precautions you need to take about bringing up a kitten. They may have a normal checkup and even guide you to some dos and don’ts for the kitten. They may even sometimes find a foster mother for the kitten, who can take care of even feeding the newborn for some days till you can take actual care of the baby cat. Just like consulting a doctor, you get assurance about your health. Once in a while, take your kitten to the vet, so that you might know about what your kitten has been up to.
You must pay proper attention towards their vaccination when you’re bringing them home and you got to take several measures recurrently regarding their health and get them proper checkups from vet periodically. There are certain diseases that are very common in kittens, and they include feline rhinotracheitis, feline calicivirus, and feline panleukopenia. Protection against these highly predictable diseases is a requisite. Vaccination schedule for FVRCP can begin as early as 6 weeks of age. Kittens are usually vaccinated once every three to four weeks until they reach 16 weeks of age or older. Rabies is also one among the core diseases your kitten could suffer with, if not given proper vaccination on time. Hence, vaccination for rabies is given as early as kittens reach 12 weeks of age.
Nutrition- A Healthy kitten spreads happiness in the family
In order to satisfy high energy and proteins requirements, it is often recommended to use highly digestible ingredients and various components to aid in their development. Their diet plans should be AAFCO (Association Of American Feed Control Officials) approved to ensure full supplementation. Prime elements of their nutriment include high- fat content to meet caloric requirements of growth, high protein to meet muscle growth requirements as well as supplementation of docosahexaenoic acid for the build-out of their brain cells and optimization of cognition.
Generally, the mother cat feeds them for the first four weeks of birth. Hence, providing the kitten with the bottled commercial milk replacer. They should get used to it. After a good three to four weeks, the bottle should be replaced with a shallow bowl, so that they can start licking the milk. Later the milk should be added with a moisty chewable diet.
ALERT: Never ever give them cow’s milk. Not even the full grown cat. It is not easily digestible to the cat and they may even get diarrhea.
Bathing And Washing
Kittens have a connatural propensity of keeping themselves clean by licking all day but that’s not enough in itself as stated above, these sensitive beings are prone to infections and filth. Hence it’s always better to make your kitty habitual of bathing at an early stage. After reaching at least 8 weeks of age, they should be bathed every 10 days or so using a kitten shampoo. Many a time, guardians remiss at this stage and wash them with normal shampoos notwithstanding that the grooming products for humans are too aggressive for the felines causing irritability.
Also, assure that your kitten doesn’t get too cold during or after a bath, or else it may succumb to infections. Constant bathing may wash away all the oil in your kitty’s skin that it released during grooming, causing it shivering out of dryness, cold and wet. Hence these things are to be taken care of when you’re bathing your little one. Other nitty-gritty to be kept in mind is to ensure that her nails are trimmed and the water to bathe must be lukewarm. Before pouring water onto her, clean her coat to remove any loose hair and mats, and you may also insert cotton balls in her ears to resist the water from getting in. When you’re done with the washing, wrap her in a dry towel and take her out to a warm cozy place.
Cats are super-clean animals especially about their genitals and their surrounding areas. After ever excrete, the mother cat cleans the baby and even grooms it for doing so. After eating they are prone to excrete. Kittens cannot clean them on their own, and hence you can take a soft washcloth or a piece of gauze and dip it in warm water and gently clean the urinary part and the genitals. You will have to do this till the kitten is a second or third week old. This warm-water-dipped-tissue will give the feeling of its mother cat cleaning it.
Another way of keeping your cat cooler especially if you live in a hot climate is trimming of your cat’s fur. It won’t only make it cooler and give it comfort, but will also make it appear lion-esque and certain stylish haircuts could enhance the beauty of your kitty.
Grooming also plays a pivotal role when it comes to taking care of your kitten in the best possible way. You must accustom your little companion to be groomed during the dawning stage especially if it has long hair. Begin your grooming session when it is mellow and relaxed. Grooming it every now and then makes you take a check on it for any sort of parasites, infections, lumps or discharges and to ensure that it is in its best possible condition and more pleasant to snuggle with. Your kitty will definitely enjoy its grooming if you brush it in a soothing way giving it relaxing massage feels. Place your tiny one on your lap and stroke it with your hand till it dozes off. Once it has fallen asleep, replace your hand with the brush.
Kittens are as private as us. They don’t like being watched by prying eyes when they’re doing their thing. So its always essential to keep its litter box in a safe and quiet place away from the reach of others, so she can reach it easily without the fear of getting distracted by others’ presence. But for it to come off, you ought to train it to use the litter tray in a decent way. You ought to make it a note to never keep her litter box near to the place you feed her meals, or else she might never use the tray given to her and may find another spot to secrete her waste. Puerile kitty needs to be taught to keep its place spick and span and in apple-pie order. Inculcating habits in your kitten to keep itself tidy and successfully using her litter tray in the correct way should be followed by you rewarding her good work with praise and cuddles and bestowing her with surprise treats.
When they are four weeks old make a DIY: Take a box and cut one side of it for the entry and exit of the kitten. Then whenever the kitten is done eating, place them in the box where they can pass out the waste. It will be called the litter-box and you will have to teach them to use it for some time.
Handling and keeping them warm
Kittens do carve for the touch. It is extremely essential for the young one to be warm. Mothers generally provide the warmth a newborn needs, but in these cases, you need to keep them warm. Some tips to keep them warm may include a hot water bottle wrapped in a towel or a heating pad. You need to make sure that the kittens are not constrained inside the heat. They do need to move and need a normal temperature too. Make sure they can move away from the heat. Consult a veterinarian about the appropriate temperature that the kitten needs. If handling a heating pad, make sure they are warm enough for the young one.
As said before, kittens are fragile and need to be handled very carefully. A week old kitten has not even been developed properly and hence you should avoid to handle it the whole time. In case you have its mother around do not touch it again and again as it may surely upset the mother. Once the kitten is grown enough for some weeks then you can.
Understanding their behavior and coping with it
Then comes chewing and biting. Kittens do play with their brothers and sisters, as well as other kittens of their litter. But when they all aren’t around, they find humans hand. We do need to understand that they are toddlers and just like human babies, they are teething and tend to bite things. We need to make sure that no such things are around that can cause harm to the kitten. Sometimes they are just bored and hence they may harass you. It is up to you, that you take it in a mild way and show your displeasure since the start. Also while growing up, kittens do tend to jump a lot. Make sure that you don’t keep any things loose or glass articles as they might break and hurt the kitten unnecessarily.
A DIY Solution
Ever wondered, why kittens just start scratching and biting you? Because they are learning to behave. They are not even aware of the litter they cause and meow about it later. There are certain things that we need to take precautions. Kittens have claws and they do get the urge to scratch. Instead of considering it ‘a bad behavior’, we need to keep the furniture safe and any hazardous thing that they can scratch onto. We also need to teach them from the start that destructive scratching is dangerous.
Another DIY: Create a scratching board model. Kittens can scratch the board and play with it until it’s tired.
Say NO to Ignorance
It’s human behavior to give all the love to our little ones, but when it comes to our pets, we often neglect them because they belong to a different species belittling the fact that these tiny infants left their natural habitat to stay with us. Humans need to be humane enough to understand their situation well.
Kittens are skittish when they interact with someone from a different species; we being their apparent parents need to give them the warm environment and comfort to proliferate their solace in the new environment. They have a natural susceptibility of being friendly yet grumpy. We need to pay proper heed to their sensations the same way we do to our fellow humans. Before perceiving how to take care of your kitten, you should know your kitten in the first place, from its physical attributes to its emotional and mental conditioning. Kittens are usually jolly and playful if they’ve interacted well with their companions. Hence they should be emancipated for socializing in their early ages. Blue-eyed white cats are sometimes deaf since birth due to heredity and hence they shouldn’t be scolded for not following your instructions in the first place. Kitties are naturally agile, so make sure you do not compete with them.
Apart from all these motherly duties, constant pampering is required for the kitten. They love to cuddle but their mood swings are really bad. You surely need to watch out from the scratches and the biting they do. Cats are beautiful creatures and everyone loves to have around them. Cats do adore you and will follow you everywhere once they get used to you. Treat your cat well, appreciate it for its good behavior. Just like dogs, cats do like appreciation. Use good words and they will meow you back. They will purr on you and that means they are showing you affection. They are funny sometimes and you will really start enjoying their company once you get used to them too. Let them be sometimes! Don’t try to mingle with them, because they demand their ‘Me’ time too. They look really cute while playing and if you already have a cat, you can totally relate with it. Follow these tips and have a good time with kitten.
In the general run of things, people adopt kittens in the beginning out of excitement but eventually start shunning their basic needs and stop parenting them the right way. So it’s a humble request to all the readers, to start regarding your pets’ basic necessities and treat them the way they deserve to be treated. And even after doing all this, what we need to ponder upon is are we still doing enough for them?