Kitten Care
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Puss CatsPuss Cats - Your one-stop shop for cat and kitten information including cat breeds, cat and kitten care, cat health and behavior as well as common cat problems. Browse the picture galleries for cute and funny cat and kitten pictures or view pictures of the many cat breeds.

KittensKittens - An informative guide addressing basic kitten care, handling kittens, their development and behaviour and other general information on raising healthy, happy kittens.



Kitten care is essential to your kitten's health and life. Learn to care for your kitten with practical advice on raising a healthy kitten and other kitten care tips, which can help your kitten live a longer, healthier life.


KITTEN CARE

Bringing a young kitten into your home can be both exciting and a little daunting. Discover how with the correct kitten care you can encourage your new kitten to develop into an affectionate, loyal and fun-loving friend.

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Kittens are very interesting to watch for they love to entertain us with their endless charm. There is never a dull moment. The early months of a kitten's life is very important and a lot of care is needed. How the kitten develops will be the outcome of them as adult cats.

Quick Tips:

  • Never pick them up by the scruff of the neck
  • Never give cows milk to young kittens
  • Never take kittens away from mother until at least six weeks
  • Never take kittens outdoors until after one week of vaccination.
Milestones

At birth, a kitten should weigh two to four ounces. By the end of its first week it should double its body weight.

The kitten should open its eyes at about eight days. The eyes will stay blue for about two more weeks. (The true eye color will not appear until the kitten is about three months old.)

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At two weeks the ears will start to stand up. At about three weeks the kitten will try to walk. At four weeks kittens start to play with each other and develop teeth.

Check with your veterinarian as to the timing of the needed vaccinations. The kitten should be ready for adoption at eight weeks, and can be spayed or neutered at that time if in good health.

In the later months kittens learn how to clean themselves, use litter boxes, hunt, and play.

Weaning Process

The word weaning means slowly changing the kittens diet from just milk to food.

The weaning process should start when the kitten is about three weeks old. Start with liquids. Then slowly add soft foods to the milk. Canned baby food does well in adding to the milk. After the kitten is about five weeks old, add finely chopped canned cat food.

After the kitten is six to eight weeks of age, increase the solids in the diet. Pet stores offer kitten food. Contact your local veterinarian for suggestions.

Kittens should not be separated from their mothers until they are at least six weeks. After eight weeks of age is the best time to separate the kittens from their mothers after they are fully weaned.

Feeding Kittens

After a kitten is fully weaned choose a dry food intended specifically for kittens.Dry food helps keep the teeth clean and healthy. Dry food is also easier to use than canned food and doesn't spoil when left in the bowl.

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Switch to adult cat food at about ten months of age. Adult food is lower in calories, so plump kittens should change a month or two sooner, thin kittens a little later.

Kittens are usually happiest when they have dry food continually available. Although some cats eventually become overweight when allowed all the food they want, this can usually be avoided by choosing a reduced calorie diet.

If your kitten tends to be a little chubby, avoid canned food and eliminate extra treats.

Kitten behaviour

Kittens learn most cat behavior by watching older cats but mainly by their mother's actions. There are certain instincts that cats are already born with such as the ability to hiss, spit or purr.

It is natural for kittens to stay close to their siblings. The two reasons for this is it keeps them warm and prevents them from getting lost.

Playing

Kittens play all the time.Playing plays a major role in helping them develop into adult cats.Often it may seem that a litter will be fighting but it is actually play.

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Sometimes they may get too rough but it's all apart of developing. However, if you feel that they are harming each other, interfere and stop the quarrel.

Play Toys

Kittens love to play. Provide harmless outlets for all that energy by supplying toys that are safe. Select toys too large to be swallowed but small enough to bat around. A ping pong ball, crumpled wax paper or a toilet paper tube are all excellent choices

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Don't let your kitten play with string or thread, and be careful not to leave threaded needles where cats can reach them. Any long string-like object, especially if there is a needle attached, can become trapped in the intestine and will eventually cut completely through the intestinal wall.

Aggressive Play

Your kitten must always associate your hands with gentleness and kind attention. Never encourage biting or aggressive play by batting at kittens with your hands.

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When it comes time for grooming or administering medications, your cat must know that hands are not for biting and realize that you expect cooperation.

Hunting

Much of the kittens development occurs during the first six months of its life. Queen cats will teach their litter to hunt, and other skills that will be required to survive.

Queens that are outdoor cats will kill a prey and bring it back to her kittens. She will eat it in front of the kittens as they curiously watch.

Then, she will bring a dead prey to her kittens for them to eat. At last she will bring a live prey and have the kittens kill it while she makes sure the prey doesn't run off.

At three weeks of age, it is wise to contact a vet about worming and vaccinations. Keep the kittens and the queen indoors until they have all been vaccinated and at least one week after that. This will prevent diseases.

Discouraging Bad Behavior

When "no" doesn't work, the best alternative is a squirt bottle. Chasing your kitten, spanking, or throwing things may eventually accomplish your goal, but does not promote a good relationship with your kitten.

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When your kitten is misbehaving, a sudden jet of water provides immediate and effective discouragement without being associated directly with you.

If bringing a new kitten into your household, it is a good idea to take the kitten to the veterinarian for a check-up and for required shots. A veterinarian can detect any signs of illnesses or diseases and help protect your new kitten.



Cat CareCat Care - Cat care encompasses so many aspects of its life. You must feed the cat properly, ensure good cat health care, help with grooming, and flea patrol.

Orphaned Kitten CareOrphaned Kitten Care - Orphaned kitten care involves a combination of common sense and the correct information on such subjects as bottle feeding before weaning age and being aware of potential health problems orphaned kittens are susceptible to.

Newborn Kitten CareNewborn Kitten Care - Newborn kitten care advice, including bottle-feeding your virtually helpless feline as well as precautions to take and other helpful tips to care for your kitten.

Litter Box Training

Kittens should be introduced to litter boxes at the age of three weeks. A litter pan should be filled with three to four inches of litter; not too small or too big.

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First start by placing a litter pan in a quiet place where the kitten will not be disturbed. Keep the litter fresh at all times. Put the kittens in the litter boxes often.

If you catch them in the process, quickly put the kitten in the litter box. If you are too late, never press the kittens nose in the spot, this will cause the kitten to recognize the smell and do it again in that particular spot. Instead place the kitten in the litter box again. Be sure to keep the litter box clean.

Grooming

Kittens with smooth shiny coats will grow up having short hair and need little or no grooming. Those with fuzzy hair develop longer coats requiring more attention.

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Although cats clean themselves, there are difficult-to-reach areas where hair mats tend to accumulate. Comb out little tangles before they become big hair mats. Getting them out later will be a tough project for both of you. Be gentle. If mats have already begun to develop, try doing just a little every day.

If your kitten shows signs of resistance, comb an easy area for a while and then stop. Finish each session on an up note, with you in control. If you stop immediately when your kitten tries to bite, it will learn that biting is an effective method of getting its own way.

Hairballs

As cats groom themselves, they accumulate hair in their stomachs and often regurgitate it. This process is usually accompanied by loud howling, gagging, retching, and gasping noises that can be very alarming.

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An occasional small hairball isn't much of a problem, but in long-haired cats, hairballs sometimes become quite large and cause trouble.

Minimize the problem by grooming out loose hair before it can be swallowed and by using a hairball lubricant like Laxatone or Petromalt.

Scratching

Kittens need a place to scratch and sharpen their claws. This is such a strong instinct and so necessary for normal development, that unless there is a satisfactory alternative, no amount of scolding will keep your furniture from being torn apart.

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The simple answer is to buy or make a good scratching post.

Nail Trimming

Kittens keep their nails in condition by scratching. Nail trimming is seldom required, and because the nails grow so rapidly, trimming is not a useful way to avoid furniture damage.

Kitten Care

Dental Care

Nearly all cats have problems with their teeth, including gum disease and cavities, just like people. These problems soon become painful and expensive. Simple things can be done in kittenhood which make a big difference later on. Feed your kitten dry food. It helps keep the teeth clean and having something hard enough to chew keeps the teeth and gums healthier.

Treat your cat's mouth daily with an enzyme to control plaque formation. This is best done by brushing the teeth, and many cat owners do this successfully. An easier alternative is to give an enzyme chew treat every day. These are available from veterinarians.

Indoors or Outdoors?

Where your kitten should live depends on your own living arrangements and preferences. Cats can be perfectly content living indoors all their lives. Indoor cats should have their own places to climb and play, and are happier with the companionship of another pet or lots of attention from their owners.

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If you don't mind your cat exploring outside, then when your kitten is three or four months old, start letting it out occasionally, under supervision at first. Kittens tend to stay nearby until they have learned their way around the neighborhood and seldom become lost.

Because a kitten doesn't really present much of a threat, other cats are less hostile than they would be to an adult, and neighborhood relationships can be worked out gradually.

Site structure created by John Middlemas Site written by Gemma Littlemore