Bringing home a kitten may be exciting but it’s also challenging as it needs your full attention and care. While the adorable bundle of fluff will make hearts melt, it will need looking after for life. Whether you are an experienced pet parent or a first time pet owner, it is always best to do some research and know the basics of kitten care. Here are a few fundamental steps to keep in mind while bringing home a new kitten.
Home Sweet Home
Getting used to new surroundings can be overwhelming for the new kitty, so give her time to adjust. Allow your cat to spend time alone if she chooses – don’t rush into introducing your cat to other people or pets. Away from her mother, the kitten needs to feel secure as well as warm. Whether you provide a cardboard box or a fancy bed from a pet store, make sure it is cosy and is kept in a quiet corner.
It is also important to show your cat where her food bowl and litter box are kept. Let the kitten play and get acquainted to the things around her.
The kitten adjusts better and becomes friendly when handled gently.
Gear up on training tricks
Litter training is easy as cats are naturally clean animals and don’t litter the house as compared to dogs. Kittens should start to use a litter tray as soon as possible. You can start by putting the litter tray in a secluded place. Once the kitten has finished eating, place her near the litter box.
Let her dig and scratch the box, before she instinctively starts to use it. Praise her when she does but don’t punish her for not using it. Keep placing her near the box after her meals so she gets used to it.
Cats communicate via scratching as it leaves a visual message for them and helps them sharpen their claws. To discourage clawing furniture, provide a carpet-covered scratching post.
Monitor your kitten’s feed
Kittens grow very quickly, so their appetite and need for food increases too. Make sure you increase the amount of food according to her age. Kittens generally gain 100 gm per week and by 6 months as s/he reaches 75% of adult weight. Thus, with their speedy growth, their diet intake has to be maintained alongside.
The easiest and most successful way to ensure that your growing kitten is getting a healthy, balanced diet is to feed a complete premium food for kittens. As your kitten is growing up, feed her four times a day at least. Whatever you are feeding her, remember, little and often is the order of the day.
Kittens should be offered as much food as they can eat, and fresh water should be available at all times. A good rule of thumb is to leave the food out for 20 to 30 minutes and then to dispose of the uneaten portion.
Shop for quality food
Growing kittens need more calories and nutrients than adult cats. The simplest way to ensure s/he’s properly fed is to buy good brand food formulated for kittens. By 12 months, your kitten can be gradually introduced to a food designed for adult cats. A good diet should provide all the nutrients essential for a growing kitten to become a healthy cat. Ensure that your kitten has her own feeding and water bowls and that they are kept clean.
Find a good vet
Regular visits to the vet are a must, at least for the initial few months –to check for ear mites and fleas;vaccinate her for preventive care.
When you introduce the cat to the outside world, it is wise to ensure that she is completely adjusted to her new environment. Kittens should not be permitted to come in contact with other cats until they have completed their course of vaccinations.
Grooming your cat offers you an excellent opportunity to check her skin for lumps, rashes, discharges or any other signs of illness. If your cat is dirty, you may use a clean, damp cloth to wipe her down. Wet the cloth with warm water only and don’t use any soaps.
You can generally expect your cat to live between 10 and 15 years or longer, provided you can avoid accidents and disease. Although cats are very independent animals, the responsibility for their health and physical wellbeing ultimately lies with you – the cat owner.
I have a three-month-old Pomeranian which tries to chew everything from footwear to people’s hands and feet, and sometimes, even clothes! She gets aggressive if I try to pull something away from her. What should I do?
—Kanwalbeer Kaur (UP)
Chewing is common among young puppies because of their strong desire to explore. As they grow older, this tendency reduces and they are less likely to be destructive. Until then, prevent access to footwear, clothes etc and instead, provide him with chewy toys. Exercise and play with your dog regularly to ensure he gets to spend his energy and also provide positive interaction. Keep an edible item like a bitter apple around so that he is not tempted to chew.
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