Are you thinking about getting a new feline pet and wondering how to look after a kitten? Caring for a furry friend is a real responsibility, and it is truly challenging when you have work and personal commitments to consider. The good news is that there are ways to care for a beloved pet while still keeping yourself on top of other areas of your life.
In this piece, we will be sharing the basics on how to look after a kitten and also know when you can start to leave him home alone. We will also discuss what you should do in looking after newborn kittens. This is the case if your own cat gave birth to a litter. Read on to learn what you need.
What do I need to buy for a new kitten? Before your little furball arrives:
- Ensure your home is suitably kitten-proofed.
Assign an area for your kitty. It should not have holes or attachments that he may poke, chew, or accidentally bump into. If it is near a window or some other opening, it should be closed and sealed off.
- Get the following pet accessories and supplies:
– Quality feline food appropriate for your kitten’s age
– Litter box and a supply of fresh litter
– Comfy cat bed
– Food and water bowls
– Collar and ID tag
– Kitten-appropriate toys
– Grooming brush
– Scratching post
– Pet carrier
– Feline-friendly toothbrush and paste
- Identify a go-to vet
If you do not have one yet, ask for recommendations from friends and family. You can also ask for one from the shelter or breeder you got your kitty from.
How many times do you feed a kitten? You should feed him 3-4 times a day small portions of food. Use the same type of food he is used to eating. When he is about 3-6 months old, you can feed him just three times daily. When he is 6 months old and beyond, you can begin feeding him twice daily. His food portions should be a bit larger, though.
If you wish to shift to other types of kitty food, do so gradually to avoid upsetting his stomach. You can begin by mixing a small amount of the new one with the usual food. Increase the portion of the new food within a week.
Ensure fresh water is available at all times during the day. Do not feed your kitten milk as this can lead to diarrhoea.
Kitten Care for When You Work
Can a kitten be left home alone? Yes, under certain conditions.
Ideally, a kitty less than 12 weeks old should not be left home alone for more than 4-5 hours daily. Those that are 4-6 months old can tolerate solitude for a maximum of 6-7 hours in a day.
Kittens are vulnerable in that they can get sick within just a few hours. Some call it the “fading kitten syndrome”. As such, it is recommended that kittens be acquired in pairs to keep each other company.
However, if you can only manage one kitty, ensure that he will not be left alone for too long. You can have a friend or a cat sitter come in to check in on him if you are unable to be home within 4 hours.
To keep your little friend safe while you are out, do the following:
- Confine him to a specific area
Do this without guilt as this is for your young feline’s own safety. Pick a spacious room and kitten-proof it. That means taking down breakables, chemicals, poisonous, plants, and other obstructions that may cause injuries. You can also choose to put him in a spacious crate. However, avoid locking him into the bathroom or closet. The space of both is just too cramped even for a small cat.
- Leave behind toys
Cardboard boxes, stuffed toys, balls, puzzle toys, or a climbing tree/house can help entertain your kitten in your absence.
- Put out fresh water, food, and newly cleaned litter box
Felines tend to be grazers, so they can just eat what they need when they are hungry. Do not position the food and water next to the litter box, though.
Looking after Kittens from Birth
If you have a cat that just gave birth to a litter, ensure her comfort so she can recover well.
What about the kittens? Let them stay with their mother in a box laid with clean, dry, and soft bedding in an area with a consistently comfortable temperature. Allow the mother cat to feed and care for her little ones for the first few weeks. As such, provide nutritious, high quality food and fresh water to the nursing moggy during this time.
In the meantime, begin to kitten-proof your home and prepare the necessary supplies, as previously mentioned.
The mother cat is likely to wean her kittens about 4 weeks after giving birth. When this happens, start putting out soft kitten food. The little furballs will soon learn to eat it as their mother start limiting nursing time.
Around this time, you should also supply a low-sided litter box for the kittens. Avoid using clumping litter as this may cause internal blockages when accidentally ingested.
Newborn Kitten Care for When You’re Working
Caring for a very young kitty is a big responsibility as it requires constant monitoring. If you will be away for hours, get help in looking after the kittens while you are out. You can set up a CCTV camera to help you check on them from afar, but you cannot rush to them when they are unwell. As such, you can enlist the assistance of a fellow cat-owning friend or a cat sitter for such emergencies.