Has your dream of raising a cat finally come true? But, with a kitten at hand and no previous experience raising cats, you might be overwhelmed with joy and confused at the same time.
Don’t worry, I’ll take you through the basics to raising a kitten all step of the way.
Raising a kitten is almost similar to bringing up a child. Even if you’re yet to raise a child of your own, you can still raise a kitten successfully to adulthood.
A kitten accorded proper care and training while growing up is likely to become a healthy cat, well-adjusted into your family.
Here’s how to raise your newly-adopted friend.
1. Treat it Like the Baby it is
A kitten has unique needs different from a mature cat just as in human infants. Learn about the various developmental stage of a cat to help through the process of caring for your kitten.
Kitten Below 8 Weeks – Kittens at this age are under the care of their mothers. At this stage, they’re developing leg coordination and vision. They rely on their mothers for heat regulation.
Adopting a kitten at this development stage means you have to bottle-feed it every couple of hours up to one month. It also needs help when pooping and peeing at this stage. Consult a vet for the best advice on caring for your kitten under this age group.
Kitten at 8 – 11 Weeks – At this developmental stage, kittens have been weaned off breastfeeding. Put your kitten on a well-balanced diet rich in proteins, energy and other nutrients. Make sure it’s easy to digest.
Choose wet or dry cat food formulated for kittens. The kitty begins to jump, play, run and explore at this stage when its complex motor skills develop. The growth stage also needs serious supervision because the kitten can easily get hurt. Keep it in safe, enclosed areas under your supervision.
2 – 4 Months – Kittens grow fast at this stage and thus require about three times more energy than a mature adult cat. Serve it at least four small meals in a day. Make sure each meal contains at least 30% of high proteins to support development and growth of your kitten.
4 – 6 Months – At this stage, your kitty has reached adolescence. Make sure your kitten is neutered or spayed before reaching this stage to prevent bad habits such as accidental litters and territorial spraying.
2. Reward Good Behavior & Promote Socialization
Whenever your kitten behaves well, reward it with a treat. Give a different treat each time you reward the cat to ensure you get to find out its favorite treat. Rewarding your kitten for good behavior encourages it to develop good habits and drop bad ones.
Teach the kitten how to use litter boxes and pet her as often as possible. Introduce her to toys and groom her at least once a week. Take her outside from time to time for a completely different experience.
Teach it new tricks and ignore bad behavior; don’t punish. Disallow scratching or biting during plays. Provide scratching posts and play loud music or make noise sometimes. Expose your kitten to other cats and be patient as it learns everything you’re teaching.
3. Visit a Vet
Take your kitten to the vet often for preventive care. If you notice anything abnormal or a sudden change in behavior, consult your vet for advice.