All You Need To Know About Kittens – Adopting a kitten or just thinking about it? There’s nothing better than taking home a big-eyed, velvet-nosed pooch (hey, who rescues who?), but even if you’ve had a kitty before, it’s wise to go over the basics.
It is best to separate kittens from their biological mothers and siblings when they are 10 to 12 weeks old. If the litter has not had much human contact, it is better to bring them home after six to seven weeks.
All You Need To Know About Kittens
As for personality, this may be a time when curiosity won’t kill a cat: look for a playful, inquisitive kitty, not shy. Most importantly, choose a cat that complements all family members.
What To Do When You Find A Kitten
Before introducing your kitty to his new environment, put away anything he might chew, swallow or choke on. Keep napkins, paper towels, toilet paper, pens, pencils, rubber bands, jewelry, balloons, and small items out of paw’s reach. If you have other pets, make sure they’ve seen the vet recently so they don’t share the infection with the new sibling.
Choose a secluded room away from other furry family members to help Kitty adjust to her new life. If sleep is a problem, try the time-tested trick of wrapping the clock in a blanket next to his bed. Open his carrier and place him nearby, along with his food, water bowls, litter box, and toys.
Avoid toys with small, moving parts that can easily detach and choke animals. Hanging strings, strings, or ribbons can irritate cats, but be careful that they don’t entangle or suffocate Kitty. Small stuffed animals and trackballs are the best toys because they are safe and encourage exercise.
You may enjoy watching Kitty play more than she does playing, but you’ll want to watch her behavior during her time off. Take a look at how she gets in and out of her carrier in her new room. If he runs fast, he may need more time to adjust. If he walks, you’ll know he’s ready to explore the rest of the house.
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It can take up to two weeks for a kitten to fully relax, so limit human interaction for the first few days, then introduce him to family members one by one so he learns to be touched by everyone.
Teach small children to hold the kittens with one hand behind their front legs and the other under their hind legs. Also, they need to know that there is no pulling of Kitty’s curls, ears or tail. Although tantrums may occur, children four and under should not handle Kitty at all, especially when unsupervised.
Other pets will immediately smell their new sibling, so introduce Kitty to her pad; don’t let him have free reign of the house because it’s their territory.
The resident cat(s) may check on Kitty briefly while you watch. If a whistle occurs, separate the siblings immediately and try again in a few days. As for Fido, make sure he’s properly leashed when meeting him, and also avoid letting Kitty run away, or he might think it’s time to chase.
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If all siblings play well, reinforce their good behavior with appropriate rewards. Also, never leave playtime unsupervised until Kitty is an adult.
Cats have a basic instinct to explore, so let Kitty roam one room at a time at first. If he gets nervous and needs an emergency retreat, put his open carrier in the room you’re checking. If he hides under the bed or sits under the couch, let Kitty explore while you keep a close eye on him. If he starts kneading your precious blanket, gently place him on the floor to teach him that your bed is off limits.
Kittens need a lot of food and energy – two to three times more than a cat – because they grow so fast. 30% of their total energy needs to come from protein, so feed them a food specially formulated for the first year, such as dry kitten food or a can of nutrient-rich kitten formula. The rest of Kitty’s diet should consist of high-quality dry and wet foods that are packed with protein and essential amino acids to help provide her with beneficial nutritional support.
Unlike babies, kittens don’t eat all their food in one sitting, so you can set up an all-day/night buffet. Dry food is convenient because it doesn’t spoil if it sits for a while; Make sure fresh water is always available as well. You’ll also want to keep your siblings, like Fido, from stealing Kitty’s food by placing her bowl out of reach.
Emergency Kitten Hand Rearing Guide
Kittens instinctively dig for waste to bury, but they may still need some wiggle room to go about their business. After the kitty has finished eating or holding the cat, introduce it to the litter box. If he doesn’t take it naturally, control his front paw and imitate digging. You may need to repeat this process regularly.
For the first few weeks, provide Kitty with pre-adoption food, feeding schedule, and litter. After he adapts, you can gradually move on to other litter products and food.
It’s a good idea to schedule a vet visit before bringing your kitty home so that it can be examined within a few days of arrival. Your vet will check for ear mites, fleas, deworm him, and give him all the necessary vaccinations and shots.
It also determines the best time to spay or neuter, which can be eight weeks. Spaying helps protect Kitty from the risk of breast, uterine and ovarian cancer, and neutering reduces the risk of prostate cancer in males. Added bonus: you’ll enjoy a “spray-free” house and less smelly litter box cleaning.
Kitten Development Milestones To Watch For
Dogs aren’t the only ones who benefit from exercise. Just like preschoolers, kittens have good manners and you can train your cat to come when you call. Also, if you have multiple kittens, you may need to nip rough acorns in the bud.
The free Buddies app puts pet information and inspiration at your fingertips. Tap into more informative articles, the Pet Parent Connect community, and our Ask a Pet Lover feature – where you can chat live with trained experts. You can also use the app to earn exclusive rewards like points and gifts! Learn more. When you find kittens, your first reaction should not be to move them or take them to a shelter! If you find a kitten or cat, pause and follow these easy steps.
What to do when you find kittens 1. Determine if the kittens are in an area of known danger (dogs, traffic, etc.).
Do not touch the kittens, look around to determine if they are in a certain threatening area, such as traffic.
Bringing A Kitten Home
2. If you know there is danger, move the kittens to a closer, safer place where their mother can still find them, but they are safe from danger. (On the other side of the wall, under a nearby structure, etc.)
Healthy kittens have clean fur and a big belly. Sick kittens are thin, dirty, and may have crusty eyes or a runny nose. If the kittens seem healthy and there is no known threat where they are, leave them there. I know it’s hard because we’re used to mixing, but during this time think of them like a bird’s nest. Even if they are alone for a moment, mom will come right back.
4. Check on mom every few hours if they look healthy and where you left them.
Once you see the mother coming back, you can be sure that the kittens can stay. Mother cats cannot abandon their babies.
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5. If the kittens appear sick or injured, or if the mother does not return within 24 hours, call your local animal shelter or hotline.
The city or animal shelter will ask you if you’re willing to adopt and care for the kittens, or help you figure out what to do if you’re not.
We know it’s hard, but if the kittens are healthy, so be it; or educate them if possible.
NACA recognizes that all teams are unique and what is safe and feasible for one team may not be for another. The thought of dealing with juvenile kittens makes many organizations uncomfortable. Their vulnerability, the time commitment required to keep them alive, and the fear of a bad outcome add stress to employees performing many daily tasks. (Seeing someone walk into a shelter with newborn kittens can trigger an anxiety attack!)
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But we are here to tell you that there is no need to fear neonatal kittens. This toolkit is designed to help any organization build a team that is ready, knowledgeable, and confident, ready to guide those little ones through the system the next time a box full of babies arrives at the door.
Even if it’s not the time of year when newborn kittens walk through your door, it’s a good idea to advise your community on what to do when they are found.
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