Bringing a new kitten home is exciting. The following guidelines will help you and your kitten adjust to this big change in your lives.
Kittens can leave their mother and littermates after they have been weened, usually at 8 to 10 weeks of age. Like human babies, kittens require special care, including veterinary care, feeding and socialization. The best time to bring a new kitten home is when you have at least 1 to 2 days to focus on helping him or her to adjust to their new surroundings.
To safely transport your new kitten home, you’ll need a carrier. Realizing that leaving mom is a big deal for the kitten; a carrier will help him or her feel more secure. Don’t use another pets carrier as its smell could be stressful for the new kitten. Place a towel at the bottom for warmth and to absorb urine just in case of an accident.
Before your kitten has contact with other cats, he or she must be tested for feline leukemia virus (FLV) and feline immunodeficiency virus(FIV), given a physical examination,tested and treated for parasites and vaccinated. This will prevent the spread of disease and or parasites to other pets. If you have other pets talk to us about how to introduce your kitten to them.
Before you bring your kitten home, prepare a small room or space that will be his or her own for the first few days or weeks. Having a smaller area to explore at first will help your kitten get comfortable with is or her new home. It will also allow any other pets to get used to the scent of the new member of the family without a stressful introduction. Cats don’t like to eat next to the litterbox, so place the litterbox on one side of the room and food and water dishes on the other. Make sure your kitten can get in and out of the litter box without any help. To help your kitten feel secure, make sure the room has hiding places. If there isn’t furniture to hide beneath, place cardboard boxes on their sides or cut doorways into them. Providing a warm, comfortable bed is essential. You can purchase a pet bed or line a box with something soft, using a sweatshirt that you’ve worn will help the kitten become accustomed to your scent.
When you bring your kitten home, put the carrier in the room you’ve prepared. Open the carrier door, but let the kitten come out when it is ready. After your kitten comes out, leave the carrier in the corner with the door open to act as another hiding place. Everyday scoop out the litterbox and provide fresh food and water.
Your kitten may hide at first, but he or she will explore when no one is watching. When your kitten becomes more comfortable with his or her new home, your kitten will likely want plenty of attention from you!
After your kitten has been to your veterinarian, becomes comfortable in his or her new room and develops a regular routine of eating, drinking and using the litterbox, you can let him out to venture into the rest of your house. At this point, you need to make sure that your kitten stays save and has enough privacy to eat, sleep and use the litterbox. Keep your kitten’s bed, litterbox and food/water dishes in the same place so that he or she knows where to find them.
Kittens receive some immunity (protection against diesease) from their mothers at birth and through nursing. This immunity slowly wears off, so kittens should be vaccinated against various diseases on a schedule, beginning at 2 to 3 months of age. For a complete list of kitten vaccines and timing please call our office at (647) 347-8387
Intestinal parasites are common for kittens. Fecal examinations and treatments are usually repeated until two consecutive fecal examinations have negative results. External parasites (fleas, ticks, and mites) are treated with products approved for use on kittens. It is extremely important that you consult your veterinarian before you start any sort of anti parasite regime with your kitten as over the counter medications can often do more harm than good with a kitten.
Kittens should be spayed or neutered by 6 months of age. this helps control the pet population and reduces the change of behavioral problems and some medical conditions.
Proper nutrition is paramount for kittens, as they require two to three times as many calires and nutrients as adult cats. A mother cats milk provides everything a kitten needs during the first 4 weeks of life. Cow’s milk should never be given to cats or kittens as it can give them diarrhea. Most kittens are completely weaned between 8 to 10 weeks of age. Between the ages of to 7 weeks of age, kittens will be able to chew dry food. It is important that you feed your kitten a name brand kitten food with the American Associate of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) statement on the bag or label until your kitten is approximately 9-12 months of age. After which time you may gradually switch over to adult food with the same AAFCO statement.
Cats learn how to socialize with each other from their mother and litter mates; therefore, if possible, kittens should remain with their mother and/or litter mates until they are about 10 weeks old. Kittens that have human contact before they are 10 to 12 weeks old are more likely to interact well with people throughout their lives. Handling and playing with your kitten will help you bond with him or her. Your kitten should be gradually introduced with your other pets under careful supervision. Ask us for advice on the best way to do this.
Enjoy your new kitten, and let your veterinarian know if you have any questions!