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Health & nutrition

Life stage

How to Take Care of a Kitten

Kittens are fun bundles of energy that bring light-hearted joy into your home. Even though full-grown cats are largely independent and wise about staying out of trouble, kittens are infinitely more curious and require a bit more care and guidance. It’s your job to teach your kitten how and where to use the litter box, what to and not to eat, where to sleep, and more.

Securing Your Home for a Kitten

Kittens are curious creatures. They experience their environment through their senses, which means that they’re inclined to lick, chew, and eat things they come across. Many of these things you won’t want your kitten exposed to. Get anything that your kitten might chew, eat, or choke on out of the way. This could include things like pencil erasers, toilet paper and paper towels, writing paper, children’s toys and component parts, ponytail holders, etc.

Basically, get things that could be swallowed or chewed off and swallowed away from where your kitten will begin their life in your home.

Feeding Your Kitten

Another aspect of how to take care of a kitten pertains to food. While people find and adopt kittens at all ages, kittens are typically adopted at 10-12 weeks old. Some may be adopted earlier or even found before they’re supposed to be weaned.

Thus, what you feed your kitten depends on age. If your kitten should still be nursing, you can get a kitten bottle and kitten formula from your vet or pet food supplier and “nurse” your kitten until they’re ready to transition to solid food.

Kitten weaning begins at 4 weeks, and by 6 weeks, kitten should be able to eat solid foods without needing any supplementation.

You should feed your kitten a food made specifically for kittens. Kitten food has proteins, vitamins, and minerals that are essential for the rapid growth and development your kitten will experience in their first year of life. A good kitten food will also sustain your kitten’s high energy levels.

Kittens should eat 3-4 times per day. The need to eat so frequently will taper off as your kitten’s energy levels and growth levels out; however, early on—in the first year—your kitten will need to eat often.

Setting Up the Litter Box

In addition to getting your kitten set up with kitten food, your kitten will also need a place to dispense of waste. You’ll want to set up a litter box. A lot of people designate a spot in the laundry room or their own bathroom for the litter box. Your main goal is making sure it’s accessible for your kitten but not temping to other pets if you have any.

You’ll want to show your kitten where the litter box is. While many kittens instinctively know what to do when they have business (dig, cover), they don’t always know where to do it. Show your kitten several times a day where the litter box is. It won’t take long for them to find it when they need it.

Give Your Kitten Toys

When it comes to how to take care of a kitten, once you’ve got your basic bases covered, you’ll want to address their primal instincts. Kittens love to hunt and scratch and play. They need toys to fulfill these needs so your drapes, couch, and shoelaces don’t become the objects of your curiosity.

  • Toys to start your kitten off with include:
  • A scratching post
  • Toy mice
  • Toys on a string, so you can play with your kitten

If you buy your kitten a toy they don’t like…it’s okay. There are a ton of options out there; something will strike your kitten’s fancy!

Create a Happy Sleeping Space

Your kitten needs a place of their own to sleep. Kittens get lonely for their litter mates and their mother, so invest in a plush kitten bed that helps stimulate a companionable environment. You can also get a ticking clock and wrap it in a blanket if your kitten is extremely young; this simulates the mother cat’s heartbeat.

Kittens also love a stuffed animal. Buy a plush toy with no detachable parts or parts that can be chewed off and put it in your kitten’s bed. Many kittens will snuggle up to a stuffed animal.

Get Your Kitten to the Vet

Finally, you want to take your kitten to the vet for vaccinations, spaying or neutering, and chipping. Kitten vaccines start at 6-8 weeks. This is the time maternal immunity wears off. Vaccines help your kittens build their own immune systems, essential for lifelong health.

Kittens should also get spayed or neutered. Even if you have an indoor cat, if you don’t plan to breed, a non-spayed or neutered cat will go through “heat” and will either spray or experience a menstrual cycle. This usually happens by the time your kitten is six months old, so getting your kitten fixed early is a good idea.

Finally, you’ll want your vet to chip your kitten. Chipping costs about as much as two venti lattes from Starbucks with an extra shot, so it’s well worth it. While chips don’t track lost kittens and cats, they do enable them to be found when and if they’re lost and recovered. Many pets have been rescued and returned home because they’re chipped.

The main thing when it comes to how to take care of a kitten is setting them up for a lifetime of love and support and care. With the right food, health care, things to play with, and a safe space to eat, sleep, and play, you will take perfect care of your kitten!

Kittens are such fun additions to any household. When it comes to how to take care of a kitten…you just need patience, a great sense of humor, and quality kitten food like the formulas made at Wellness Pet Food. A food made just for kittens goes a long way in their overall health, happiness, and growth.

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