With today's modern veterinary medicine, you can expect to share your life with your cat for 16 years or more so it is crucial that you choose a kitten that will grow up to be a healthy and happy adult. Owning a cat or two has also been proven to be good for our health, bringing us happiness.
This page will give you some kitten tips and advice from choosing your kitten to bringing it home to settle in. Always remember that owning a cat is a lifetime responsibility not to be taken lightly.
Choosing your Kitten
The first thing to consider when choosing your kitten is if you are looking for a family companion or a cat that you intend to show or breed in future.
If you are looking for a family pet, then the most important consideration will be temperament and health. If you are looking for a cat to show or breed let the breeder know this when you first enquire to be sure they have suitable kittens for you to view. A breeding or show cat should meet the breed standard showing no obvious faults.
When choosing your kitten, you should also take into consideration the type of home it comes from and it's mother's state of health. Do not buy a kitten from a breeder that will not let you see the mother cat. In pedigree cats, the mother cat should also be a true representative of the breed.
A healthy kitten will have bright and shiny eyes, glossy coat, clean bottom and an alert demeanour. Ears should also be clean, nose cool and damp without any nasal discharge with pale pink mouth and gums.
Kittens like adult cats require wholesome, high-protein food and a constant supply of water. Food is served more frequently with kittens than with adult cats. See my section on feline nutrition for guidelines on adult cats. Food and water bowls should be kept clean at all times.
Below I've listed some general feeding guidelines for your new kitten sorted by age.
- Age 3-5 Months: 5 to 4 meals daily
- Age 6-8 Months: 3 to 4 meals daily
- Age 9-12 Months: 3 meals daily
Your reward for feeding your kitten a well-balanced diet is a healthy beautiful adult cat.
Pedigree kittens are fully litter trained from a very early age. With any kitten irrespective of breed to avoid accidents it is absolutely vital that for the early days and weeks in a new home, the kitten is aware at all times where the litter tray is. In a new environment, the kitten may not be able to find the litter tray alone especially with a home with two or more floors and several rooms. It is important that the kitten is restricted to one area for the first few weeks and only allowed into other areas of your home under supervision.
Once your kitten has been allowed to roam freely, always keep a watchful eye and keep taking your new kitten back to it's litter tray at regular intervals. If you are living in a very large house on multiple floors, it is advisable to have a litter tray on every floor.
When your new kitten first arrives home, it is also advisable to use the same cat litter as your breeder while your kitten settles in. Later you can gradually change this to a brand of your choice. The litter tray should also be kept clean at all times. Changing all or some of the litter tray contents daily is recommended to avoid accidents. Cats will quickly find an alternative site to use as a toilet if the tray is not cleaned daily.
On arrival home with your new kitten, place the kitten while still in the carrier in a suitable warm room where the kitten can be safely kept for a few days. Let the kitten come out to explore in it's own time. Make sure there is a litter tray in the room and that the kitten knows exactly where it is. The kitten's room should also have a bowl of food and water kept a suitable distance from the litter tray. Cats are reluctant to use a litter tray that is too close to the cat's food. Let your new kitten come to you in it's own time.
Getting to know your Kitten
It can take days or even weeks to establish a relationship with a kitten so please be patient. Kittens need time to bond with you and before long your new kitten will become your best friend.
For the first few weeks, your kitten shouldn't be allowed to roam your home unsupervised when you are not there. You should put your kitten back in their own room with their litter tray, food and water. Make sure your new kitten also has a comfortable bed or basket to sleep in with some toys to play with.
It may be worth considering obtaining two kittens from your breeder especially if you will be out of the home for most of the day. This way they will always have a constant playmate and two cats can exercise each other far more effectively than you can.
Please remember that your new kitten should be kept indoors at all times and shouldn't be allowed outdoors until they are old enough to cope with outdoor life.
Excellent Care of Kittens Video