Welcoming a new kitten into your home is such an exciting time. You suddenly have this little bundle of fluff running and jumping everywhere, with many happy years ahead of you both. Caring for your new kitten is simple, but with so many things to consider, it is easy to miss something out. Our top ten tips on caring for your new kitten will help you with everything from planning for your kitten, to vaccinations, food and de-sexing.
10 Tips on How to Care for Your New Kitten
- Plan – try to resist the urge to bring home a new kitten without some planning beforehand. You’ll need to decide if you’d like a male or female kitten, if there is a specific breed or colour you would like and where you are going to get your kitten from. You’ll also need to have a bed, food, dishes, litter tray and toys ready too. Kittens are still learning from their mother up till they are 10 weeks old, so it is best to wait until this age before rehoming them.
- Vaccinate – your kitten received antibodies from its mother’s milk for the first few weeks. After that, a regular schedule of vaccinations is required to keep your kitten healthy. The first vaccine should be given at six weeks of age, followed by one or two booster shots depending on their age and timing of the first vaccine.
- Feeding – your kitten will need small and regular meals. At first, they will need feeding three times a day, with a specially developed kitten food. Later, this will be reduced to twice per day.
- Bringing your kitten home – your home is a big and scary place for a kitten. For the first few days it is a good idea to confine them to one room before slowing introducing the rest of your home to them.
- Playing – kittens love to play. Have a selection of toys they can chase, chew and pounce on. A cat tree of varying heights also gives them a place to play on and somewhere to practise jumping and climbing.
- Introducing to other pets – it is best to give it a few days before introducing your kitten to your other pets. You can start by bringing in a blanket they have used into their room to let them smell your pet. When bringing them out for the first meeting, putting your kitten inside their cage lets the other pets greet them safely.
- Microchip – collars can easily become caught on things inside and out, making a microchip a safer way of identifying your kitten. It can be done at the same time as their vaccination or de-sexing.
- De-sexing – a female kitten can become pregnant anytime from 12 weeks of age, while male kittens can help contribute to unwanted kittens too. It is best to neuter or spay your kitten early from around 12 weeks.
- Scratching – scratching is a natural activity for kittens. They use it as a time to play, sharpen their claws and leave their scent and visual markings. A scratching post for cats works well, as does a cat tree. If you see your kitten scratching somewhere you don’t want them to, gently take them to their scratching post. If you can’t supervise them, leave them in a room with their post until they only use this and not your furniture!
- Toileting – a kitten will usually come to your home toilet trained. But accidents do occur, making consistency key when toileting. Keep their litter box in the same place, away from people and other pets. Use around an inch of natural clumping clay or litter and clean every day. If they have an accident, put their faeces into their tray to give a reminder of where their toilet is.