Is there anything more exciting than the arrival of a new kitten in your home? Whilst it’s always a thrill to welcome home a new four-legged family member, kittens require a lot of care in their first few weeks to ensure they settle in properly and are set up for a long and healthy life. To help you stay on top of your kitten parenting during those crucial first few weeks, we’ve put together a new kitten checklist for you to follow.
Bringing them home
When you bring your kitten home for the first time, it’s best to set them up with everything they need (litter, bed, food, water, toys, scratching post) in a small, quiet room of the house. This will help them acclimatize to their new environment without becoming overwhelmed. Once your kitten seems settled, you can gradually give them more room to roam, but don’t let your kitten wander anywhere they won’t be allowed as an adult cat. Establishing house rules early means your cat won’t develop any bad habits.
For the first few days, your new kitten will be missing their mother. You can make them feel more comfortable with a ticking clock to mimic mum’s heartbeat, and a toy or piece of fabric with mum’s smell on it.
What do I feed them?
Keep your kitten’s diet consistent for the first fortnight by feeding them the same food they were getting before they came home with you. After this initial period, make changes slowly to avoid upsetting your kitten’s stomach. We recommend feeding your kitten good quality dry food as well as lean meat protein. Tinned food should be reserved for treats only and not given as a meal on a daily basis.
At four months, your kitten will start teething and you will need to provide them with something to chew. Daily chewing (minimum 5 minutes) helps promote healthy teeth and gums. We recommend giving your kitten tough pieces of raw meat or a raw chicken neck to chew on.
Cats are smart when it comes to toilet training, so it’s likely that your kitten will already have got the hang of the litter box before you bring them home.
However, accidents do happen when kittens get disoriented and can’t remember where their litter box is. To avoid this, confine them to a small, quiet room for the first few days after you bring them home so your kitten acclimatizes and learns where their food, toilet and bedding is.
Week one of kitten ownership will inevitably require a visit to the vet. Your vet is the best person to talk to about your kitten’s diet, training, behaviour, and care requirements. Your kitten will need to visit the vet several times during their first year of life to get their vaccinations, worming and de-sexing procedure (performed at between 4-6 months of age at Vets on Parker). If you’re ever concerned about the wellbeing or development of your kitten, Vets on Parker offer complimentary kitten health checks so please don’t hesitate to bring them in.