The time has come for you to learn how to care for a kitten you’ve adopted or rescued whose mother has died or abandoned her. As a pet owner, raising a kitten to adulthood can be a joyful experience. However, the first eight to twelve weeks of a kitten’s life are critical, and this is the time when kittens require extra care and attention.
You need to learn how to care for kittens from the time they are born until they mature into adults. So, this article is all about providing knowledge on how to take care of a kitten in various stages of its life.
So, let’s get started!
How to take care of a kitten? – Stages of Life
If you adopted a kitten nearly 4-6 weeks old, you might need to put less effort into taking care of that kitten, but if you have adopted a newborn kitten or found a stray newborn kitten, then you should learn more about raising that kitten. So, here is your guide to raising a kitten in various stages of life:
1) How to take care of a newborn kitten: (0-4 Weeks)
Kittens are considered newborns between the ages of 0 to 4 weeks. At this point in their lives, they rely on their mother to provide warmth. If the mother cat is still with her kittens, keeping them warm, dry, and in a private, dark spot is only necessary.
Unfortunately, sometimes the mother of a baby kitten is not present or is unable to care for her young. If that’s the case, you’ll need to step in to keep the cats warm and fed.
Keeping a kitten warm is one of the most critical things you can do to ensure its survival in its initial few hours. Slowly elevate a kitten’s temperature by putting him in a blanket and holding him close to your body if he has cold ears, mouth, or paws. Once he’s warmed up, you can start giving him a kitten-specific milk replacer. Every two to four hours, they must be fed.
2) 5-8 Weeks
At this point, newborn kittens should be weaned from their mothers or bottle-fed and eat a high-protein, energy-dense diet. Their motor skills and coordination should be improving at this point.
Combine the formula with a little amount of kitten-specific canned cat food and serve it in a small spoon or a shallow dish.
Additionally, always have a shallow dish of clean water handy. This is also a good opportunity to install a litter box that is low enough for these cats to readily enter and exit.
At six weeks of age, your kitten should be eating both solid and canned kitten food. At this age, your kittens should also begin receiving immunizations against feline distemper, feline herpes, calicivirus, and eventually rabies. Until the kitten is 4 months old, shots need to be given every 3 to 4 weeks.
3) 8 Weeks – 4 Months Old
Prepare to be awakened during the night by a kitten who is eager to play because kittens have a lot more energy than adults. Kittens are undergoing a phase of fast growth in this stage. As the kitten grows older, the best ways to care for it are to provide a lot of time for bonding and daily feedings of 3 to 4 high-protein meals.
When you get your kitten to this age, it’s a fantastic time to get him used to having his nails cut and to utilize the scratcher post for the first time.
4) 4-6 Months Old
With the onset of puberty comes the onset of sexual maturity in cats. It’ll be like a real adolescent going through puberty, with an energy increase and sometimes behavior changes. It’s time to talk about and make arrangements for your kitten’s spaying or neutering.
Just before the age of six to eight months is the ideal time for a kitten to be sterilized or spayed. It’s essential to continue playing with your child in a hands-on, bonding-based way and, if required, to use behavior modification.
How to take care of a kitten? – Necessary Things to Consider
Here are some necessary things you need to consider or keep in mind while you take care of your kitten:
1) Place for Kitten
Many veterinarians recommend keeping cats indoors because they tend to live longer, healthier lives. Provide window perches and toys if you decide to keep your kitten indoors.
2) Cat Food
Until one year old, kittens require up to three times as many calories as adult cats to thrive. Choose kitten food and follow the feeding instructions on the package.
This will ensure that your kitten is getting the nutrition they need. Ask your vet if canned food, dry kibbles, or a combination of both is appropriate for your pet.
3) Place Water in several places
Always provide ample amounts of clean, chilled water for your kitten. Place multiple water bowls throughout the home and maintain their cleanliness. Some cats favor circulating water and may prefer a cat water fountain to a standard bowl.
4) Provide a Cat Bed
It’s crucial to give your kitten a dry, cozy bed of their own, even if they’d prefer to sleep with you. Place the bed somewhere cozy and private, and use safe and easy to clean and dry linen.
5) Litter Trays
Place a litter box in a discreet and peaceful spot for your kitten to use when it needs to defecate. Some litter boxes are too high for kittens to readily enter and exit, so you may need to begin with a box with low sides until your kitten matures.
Feline declawing is highly debated. The final joint of each “finger” of a cat’s claw is surgically removed during the procedure. People who oppose declawing claim that it is cruel. The other argument is that it can help cats become better pets and reduce their chances of ending up at a shelter.
Before the age of six months, you should have your cat declaws surgically removed. Defending themselves is difficult for declawed cats; thus, they should always be kept indoors.
Regular grooming (soft brushing) is essential for medium- and long-haired cats in particular. Start grooming your kitten as soon as possible so that it becomes a joyful bonding experience and a routine aspect of maintenance.
Grooming eliminates dust, dead skin, loose hair, grass seeds, tangles, and shed fur, preventing your cat from developing “fur balls.”
Your cat’s grooming should always be a pleasant experience. Refrain from yanking or pulling at your hair.
8) Harmful Foods for Kittens
Your cat’s health is at risk if you give it alcohol, coffee, or tea. Onions and garlic are known to induce anemia in cats, so keep them out of reach of your feline companion. Catnip or oat grass can be given to your kitten as a reward for excellent behavior.
9) Harmful Plants for Kittens
Several indoor and outdoor plants, including chrysanthemums, azaleas, tulip bulbs, and oleander, can be harmful to your kitten. Lilies are particularly poisonous to cats, and even small amounts can cause severe illness in your kitten.
10) Reward-based Training
This method is part of rewarding your cat when they do what you want them to do. When you use rewards, your cat is more likely to repeat the desired behavior since it is reinforced in a good way. A cat food treat, a pat on the back, or vocal praise are all examples of rewards.
11) Health Care
Consult your veterinarian regarding annual checkups, immunizations, microchipping, spaying or neutering, and flea and worm control.
How much does it cost to take care of a kitten?
The ASPCA estimates that your cat will cost you $634 each year. This works out to a monthly cost of about $53. Food, water, and kitty litter are the most basic necessities for a cat’s daily life, but many other costs are involved, especially when considering the individual cat.
The majority of cats are relatively low maintenance when it comes to grooming. However, some may require more grooming to maintain a clean and glossy coat.
How hard is it to take care of a kitten?
Cats are low-maintenance pets compared to dogs, which require companionship, walking, training, etc. However, just like any other animal, cats require some level of care. So you may need to take care of them in the first year of their life, but then it will become easy to take care of them.
So this was all about how to take care of a kitten. Good look with your kitty raising! We really hope you will be able to take better care of your kitten with the tips and things we have mentioned.
Please leave your valuable thoughts & suggestions in the comments below!
Thank you for reading!