Getting a kitten is incredibly exciting, but it can also seem daunting, as there are a lot of factors to consider in order to take good care of your new furry friend. Here are some handy tips.
To keep your kitten healthy and happy, you will need to buy a food bowl, a water bowl, a litter box with a scoop, and a few sacks of cat litter. Unless you are prepared to see all your furniture get ruined, it is also a good idea to buy a cat scratcher—if you have enough space, buy one which doubles as a cat tree so your kitten can climb on it and get plenty of exercise. Unless your cat is going to live exclusively indoors, consider buying a collar and a tag with your phone number on it in case your new kitten gets lost.
Just like children, kittens need toys to keep them stimulated and in good shape. You can buy toys made specifically for cats or give your kitten items that you might see as trash but which they would enjoy playing with, such as an empty shoebox or a cardboard toilet paper tube. Some toys for humans, such as a table tennis ball, are also safe for cats, but keep your kitten away from children’s toys made of sponge, soft rubber, or any other material which might break off. Although there is a stereotype of kittens chasing yarn balls, yarn, thread, and string are dangerous because your cat might chew a piece off and choke on it or end up with a gastrointestinal obstruction.
Your kitten will need to be vaccinated and also undergo regular preventative treatment for worms, ticks, and fleas. These vets in Knoxville TN recommend that all cats be vaccinated for rabies, Bordetella, feline leukemia, panleukopenia, herpesvirus, and calicivirus. Other vaccines may be offered to you depending on your kitten’s environment, levels of activity, and so on. Your vet will also be able to advise you on the best time to spay or neuter your cat.
Kittens are usually weaned between 4 and 6 weeks of age, after which time they should be comfortable eating solid food. Until they are six months old, kittens need to feed 3 or 4 times a day; this will be reduced to twice a day after six months. Choose both wet and dry food that’s been specially formulated for young cats, and feel free to offer your kitten small bits of cooked fish or meat or even scrambled eggs!
Integrating within the family
If you have young children, your new kitten might initially get scared if your kids make noise or grab the kitten too roughly. Explain to your kids that the kitten will need time to get used to them and to the new environment, and teach them to spot the physical signs that the kitten is scared or uncomfortable, such as raised hair and tucked tail.