There is absolutely no doubting that a kitten is one of the cutest, most adorable animals on this planet. That is why in the US alone there are nearly 75 million of them being kept as pets! However, sometimes these kittens end up in shelters and the main reason is, that people do not do the research into the care that they need. The following is a short guide to help with this!
There are a few options available when it comes to choosing a kitten. You can adopt, buy from a breeder or explore online pet sites, Facebook groups or sales apps. For the purpose of this guide, we will concentrate on adoption and buying from a breeder.
Approximately 3.4 million cats are placed into shelters every year, many of which are kittens from unwanted litters! Tragically, due to shelters being overcrowded many of the kittens and cats end up being euthanized to make way for new strays.
By adopting one of these kittens you may well be saving its life which is an incredibly nice thing to do. You will also be contributing to the running of the shelter by paying an adoption fee for your new friend.
If you want a particular breed of kitten, you will need to go through a breeder. This is the only way to ensure that you are buying a healthy kitten from a reputable source. Many breeders nowadays have websites where you can view their kittens and find details of their pedigree. If you are interested, the top ten most popular cat breeds at present are:
- British shorthair
- Maine coon
- Norwegian forest
Bringing Your New Kitten Home
Kittens are ready to leave their mothers at 8 weeks of age but experts suggest they are better left until they are 12 to 13 weeks. This is because they learn and develop best left with their mothers as long as possible.
Once it is time to bring your kitten home, you will need a cat carrier preferably sprayed with pheromones that help to keep your kitten calm and stress-free. On the journey home, you can occasionally feed treats to your kitten. This will also help keep them settled and teach them that the cat carrier is not a bad place to be.
Introducing Your Kitten To Their New Home
Once home, your kitten will be curious, confused and excited. It is best to keep them in a small space, one room until they calm down and get used to being in a new environment. This is especially true if there are other pets in the home whom you will want to introduce your kitten to gradually.
In the room you choose for your kitten, you should provide a litter box, bed, toys, scratching post, food, and water. Ensure the litter box is away from everything else as cats like to go to the toilet in private.
You will not want your kitten to get injured or sick in their new home so you should take some safety precautions. These include but are not exclusive to:
- Putting away/covering up dangling cords on blinds and electrical wires
- Keeping string, yarn, thread out of their reach
- Moving toxic plants, potpourri out of reach
Kittens are incredibly curious so anything else you can think of you should move too.
First Vet Visit With You
The chances are your kittens first visit to the vet will have already been made for them to receive their first vaccination. You, however, will need to take them for their second and third as well as for neutering or spaying. Whilst you’re there it is also a good idea to have them micro-chipped.
You should not allow your kitten to go outside until one week after their second vaccination. Although your kitten will now be micro-chipped, it is also good to get them a fast release collar with a name tag and bell.
Do not allow your kitten to wander in the garden or roam free until they are over six months old. You should accompany your kitten on all outside visits until they are of this age. If you are worried, your kitten may escape you, you can use a cat-specific lead and walk them. Many people who have expensive cats do this to prevent them from getting lost or being stolen.
Learning and Play
Kittens learn from a very early age and will have developed their personalities by around 5 to 7 weeks of age. By the time you bring your kitten home, you will know if they are a grumpy cat who likes to be alone or full of fun happy cat that wants to play all day long. Should you have playful a kitten which most are, you will want to invest in toys such as feathers, pole toys, catnip stuffed toys, balls and things that make sounds.
From an educational point of view you will want to ensure six things which are:
- No teeth or claws on people
- Always to use the litter tray
- Meeting new people is great
- Being held/handled is nice
- A scratching post is the only place for scratching
- Going to the vet is fun
Feeding Your Kitten
It is vital for your kitten that they are fed the right foods. This will ensure that they grow up to be fit and healthy and stay that way. You should preferably feed wet food as this is where cats get most of the water they need from.
When purchasing kitten food be sure to check the first five ingredients carefully. These are what the bulk of your kitten's food is made up of. You should avoid:
- Fillers such as corn and grain
- Brewers rice/yeast
- Meat by-products
- Animal digest
You should look for:
- Chicken, turkey, duck, and rabbit deboned/meal
- Salmon/flaxseed oil
- Cranberries/acai berries