A Bundle of Joy: Caring for a Kitten

Kitten care can be daunting, but rewarding. Safety tips to keep in mind are do not pick up a kitten by the scruff of the neck, do not give them cow’s milk, give kittens six weeks with their mother before adopting them, and keep your kittens indoors until they have been vaccinated. Kittens develop quickly, doubling their body weight in the first week. At eight days, they open their eyes, and by twenty-one days, the baby blue color will start to change at which time the kitten will likely begin trying to walk around. At fourteen days, the ears will move to an upright position. By the end of the first month, the kittens will have milk teeth and be playing with each other.

Vital to kitten care is the process of weaning. By starting a kitten on the route to solid food from about three weeks on, you can ensure that by the time the kitten is six to eight weeks old it is ready to be vaccinated and depending on area spayed or neutered. Kittens are ready to be adopted at eight weeks. Weaning you kittens should start with liquid kitten formula in a bowl at about three weeks old. Once they are taking this, add canned baby food to the milk to thicken it. By the time the kitten has reached five weeks, you should be mixing in finely chopped canned food or softened kitten chow. As the weaning progresses, slowly increase the ratio of solid food. They should be able to consume solid kitten food by eight weeks old.

Kittens up to ten months old should be given kitten food. It is an important part of kitten care to ensure that a kitten gets enough nutrition while it is growing rapidly. If your kitten seems to be overweight then mixing adult food in with the kitten food sooner than ten months is an option for weight control. It is recommended that moist food be reserved as a treat item and that dry food be offered all the time. If you notice that your kitten continues to be chubby, you might need to reduce or eliminate canned food totally.

Kittens love to play. A vital element in kitten care is providing them with lots of things to keep them busy. While a kitten is young, it will tend to stay with its littermates. They will play with one another. Some of this play will appear to be fighting, but as a cat is a predator, this type of play is normal. Another thing you should do is provide lightweight toys that the kittens can bat about and chase. Avoid anything that can be swallowed, like string or thread. Stick to light small balls, crumpled paper, cardboard tubes and the like. Do not encourage the kittens to attack your hands. It is vital that a kitten not view your hands as a toy when it comes time to groom them or give them medications.