Is One Enough?
How many kittens do you want? One? Two? Five?! Twelve?!
Kittens are inquisitive and sociable and benefit from having other cats around. They learn by playing and watching others, and they keep each other company while you’re away. If you do decide to get more than one kitten, ensure your home is large enough for multiple cats.
Please keep in mind how many cats end up in shelters, because their owners have not considered in advance the responsibility of owning a kitten for life.
Bringing Your New Kitten Home
You’ve had a long hard think and decided that you should get a kitten. But, before your new kitten has time to settle into its new home you need to make sure you’ve got all the essentials prepared!
The first thing you need is a secure cat carrier for when you pick your kitten up and travel with them back to their new home! An inquisitive kitten, loose in the car, is just a recipe for disaster!
So, you’ve got your kitten home safely and it’s time for them to settle in. It may be difficult to resist the urge to immediately start playing with them, but you need to understand they may be a little be nervous. It’s worth setting up a nice quiet area for your new kitten while they get used to their new surroundings. A nice, cosy spot with a warm cat bed or a soft blanket is perfect.
Make sure your kitten knows where their food and water bowls are, as well as their litter tray. These should be in an easily accessible area, where your kitten can eat, drink and do their business undisturbed.
Now that the boring stuff is sorted, it’s time to focus on fun things – Toys! Your baby cat is going to love playing, and the time you spend playing and interacting with them is going to help you both bond.Kittens love chasing and pouncing on things, it’s a chase for them to practise their hunting skills! Ball toys and cat danglers are but two of the toys that are bound to excite and entertain your kitten. It’s also worthwhile to invest in a cat brush and other grooming products for your kitten. It’s another activity that will strengthen your bond with your new cat and it will also help them get used to the routine of being brushed or having their claws clipped. Speaking of claws, let’s not forget about scratch posts! Without something suitable to scratch, your kitten will find something else like your furniture, carpet and curtains!
Switching from Milk to Solid Food
When adopting a kitten, they should be at least 8 weeks old. This means that they are old enough to eat independently and should be weaned from their mother. But if it’s your cat that has given birth and you have a whole litter of newborn kittens to care for, it’s useful to know how to effectively switch them from mother’s milk to solid meals. Kittens can be gradually switched to solid food from about 4 to 5 weeks. You should first start with kitten wet food or moistened dry food, mixed with formula to form a slurry.
Then as they get older you can reduce how wet their food is as they learn to eat. It is important that you feed kittens a special diet tailored to their nutritional needs. Do not feed them regular cat food as this does not contain the nutrients or energy they need for their rapid growth.
First Vet Visit
One of the main reasons for your kitten’s first visit to the vet is to get them vaccinated. Vaccination usually happens when your kitten is between 9 and 12 weeks old and is designed to protect them against common diseases such as cat leukaemia and cat flu. After their first vaccination you will need to book an appointment with your vet every year, so that they can get booster shots.
You can also discuss neutering with your vet. Your kitten may still be a baby, but within a year they will be fully grown, so it’s important to think about it.
A cat can be neutered from about four months of age, but it can be younger, so consult your vet for advice. Neutering helps reduce the risk of male cats spraying to mark their territory, as well as any unwanted grand-kitties. There are no harmful effects from neutering your cat, so unless you are looking to become a breeder it is very important to have your cat neutered as soon as possible.
With your cat growing up and exploring outside, something else you might want to consider is getting them microchipped. Microchipping is a useful way to permanently identify your cat if they should get lost.
It involves your vet injecting a small microchip, roughly the size of a grain of rice, into the loose skin on your kitten’s neck. This microchip will have your address and contact details digitally encoded onto it. So, in the event your lost kitten is found, you can be easily contacted when they scan your cat’s microchip.