Cats are amongst the most popular pets in the world. People mostly prefer buying kittens and raising them on their own. There is no denying that they are cute and adorable fur balls. However, all that comes with a responsibility. As a pet or kitten owner, it is your job to look after it the best way you can to improve and maintain its health.
So, if you are planning to buy a kitten for yourself or have recently purchased one, here is an ultimate guide on how to take care of a kitten.
Understanding Your Kitten’s Nutritional Needs
The first and most important aspect of taking care of newborn kittens is understanding its nutritional needs. To begin with, kittens should begin eating solid food within 4 weeks of their birth and should move on from their mother’s milk to kitten food by the time they are 7 or 8 weeks old.
Keep in mind that kittens tend to be weak at this age especially if you need to do orphaned kitten care. Their immune system along with the bone structure is quite sensitive. And the only way to help them strengthen their bones and the immune system is by offering them nutrition-dense meals. Plus, the diet should be high in calories as kittens require 2 to 3 times more calories than adult cats.
In addition to that, kittens should also have plenty of healthy fats in their diet. Instead of opting for commercial-made fatty food items, you should opt for animal sources like salmon oil and chicken fat. And finally, kittens require more energy when compared to adult cats to keep them active. Therefore, you will need to feed them multiple times during the day to help them grow and develop.
The Types Of Protein And Fat You Should opt For
Kittens need proteins to help grow, strengthen and repair their muscles. The reason animal protein is preferred is that it is a complete protein. That is because it includes all the amino acids the kitten needs for development. If you want to take care of newborn kittens, don’t forget this tip.
Even though you can also feed meat and fish to your kitten, animal-based fats such as salmon oil and chicken fat tend to be the best sources. Furthermore, your kitten should intake a sufficient amount of carbohydrates as well.
Although carbohydrates provide both fiber and energy along with essential minerals and vitamins, you should make sure the kitten does not consume too much of them.
Training Tips For Your Kitten
If you want to know how to take care of a kitten, you should know that a part of taking care of your kitten includes training it to keep it both healthy and active. Both cats and dogs tend to be hyperactive and curious. However, that energy can sometimes translate into doing things that you do not want them to do.
Therefore, the best way to keep your kitten active is by training it by offering ample exercises and playing time. Exercises and playing help kittens consume and spend energy in a healthy way instead of spending it tearing, ripping, and scratching furniture items around the house.
You can buy a fishing pole and attach a small toy with its string and stick. Move the stick around and let your kitten chase the toy, trying to catch it. Moreover, you can also use a laser pointer to make your kitten run around the room.
And finally, you can also roll a small ball with a bell inside that will raise its curiosity and try to chase it as a result. However, make sure that it does not swallow it. You will have to spend some time and effort developing the right behavior. If it keeps on repeating things you do not want it to do, you should use a spray bottle with water to spray a bit of water on it, which will startle it and keep it from repeating the same behavior.
Health Tips For Your Kitten
By now, it is an established fact that a proper and healthy diet is necessary to take proper care of newborn kittens. But that is not it. There is a lot that goes into looking after your kitten’s health. For instance, you should find a good veterinarian and pay regular visits.
The immune system in cats varies based on breed, size, and age. With kittens, the chances of getting caught up in diseases and infections are comparatively higher as the immune system is weak at the time. Therefore, a veterinarian in this respect will thoroughly check and inspect your kitten for any signs of diseases or negative health factors.
Sometimes, the signs are not visible to the naked eye, especially if you are a first-time owner or you are doing orphaned kitten care. You might think that your kitten is limping due to a lack of energy but it might be that there is something wrong with its legs such as a fracture or any other injury.
Get Your Kitten Spayed Or Neutered
After paying a visit to your veterinarian, your kitten will have to wait around six months for another visit. However, in the meantime you should follow kitten care 101 and get it spayed or neutered. There are significant benefits attached to spraying and neutering.
For example, spaying a female kitten before her first heat cycle completely eliminates the risk of ovarian cancer and reduces the risk of cervical cancer as well. Meanwhile, neutering helps reduce territorial and aggressive behavior as it turns into an adult.
Neutering male kittens and spaying female kittens reduces the risk of unwanted litter as males won’t be able to impregnate females and females won’t go into the heat cycle. At the same time, the heat cycle differs for cats.
Depending on the breed, your cat may go into the heat cycle earlier than expected. Therefore, there is no universal rule as to when your kitten is supposed to go into heat cycle or that you will have to wait for a specific time period.
Groom Your Kitten
Grooming starts as soon as your kitten enters your home. That’s kitten care 101. Regular grooming is important for both kittens and adults. Some cat breeds come with medium to large hair or fur that increases the frequency of grooming. However, grooming is not only limited to the hair. It extends to the nails and other physical features.
Initially, you might struggle to groom your kitten as they are not used to the unusual sounds, machines, and grooming practices. So, you will need to calm it down. And once it lets you perform the grooming process with ease, you should award it with a treat.
Cats shed a lot of hair and dirt, dust and debris tend to get stuck in the hair. Grooming removes all that and allows the skin to breathe. If the hair is not trimmed or groomed, the kitten might end up swallowing fur balls that can get stuck inside the stomach.
Avoid using harsh movements and keep the scissors and other grooming tools away from the kitten. And plus, cats do not need regular baths as dogs do. They find it stressful. Therefore, avoid bathing unless the doctor recommends you due to medical reasons.
Tips For Raising Your Kitten The Right Way
Now that we have discussed the basics of orphaned kitten care like feeding and looking after your kitten the right way, it comes down to sharing some tips to raise your kitten the right way. The first thing you need to focus on is the bond. You are directly responsible for your kitten and it is dependent on you to fulfill its basic needs.
That said, you will need to spend an ample amount of time feeding it the right way and playing and exercising. This will help you develop a strong relationship with the animal. Provide scratching toys to your kitten since cats love to scratch.
Make it learn good etiquettes and award it with treats to encourage the behavior. On the other hand, you should groom your kitten as it contributes to bond development. Moreover, do not put your kitten inside a cage for too long and keep an eye on it while it is playing with the toys and all.
In the beginning, you can expect the kitten to be a bit stubborn and might take a while to become familiar with the commands. But you have to be patient. Exercising excessive force or violence will make things even worse.
And our final tip of this kitten care 101 guide is that you should not force your kitten to do things it does not like to do. As mentioned previously, cats find bathing stressful. So, if you were to force them, they might become aggressive and end up scratching you. Therefore, you will need to find out and work with what your kitten finds comfortable or stressful.