Kitten Care

Kitten Care

Few things in life are more fun and exciting than bringing home a new kitten. Most kittens adjust quickly to their new home, and are easily cared for. Kittens that are at least eight weeks old are not as labor intensive as puppies, but there are a few things that new cat owners should know about kitten care. 

Preparing for Kittens

You will want to gather your kitten care supplies before picking up your new kitten, so you don't have to leave kitty at home alone while you run to the store.
Kitten-proof your home by removing any dangerous or toxic items and plants. Close off as many rooms as you can, and close all cabinets, closets, and drawers to minimize the area where your kitten can get lost or hide.
Make sure any other pets are well secured. Even pets who do well with kittens may overwhelm the little one when first entering his new environment.


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Kittens are growing very fast, and they may eat much more than you expect. Have plenty of food, and water if you plan to give your kitten bottled water, ready and waiting when you bring your new kitten home. Food and water dishes should be available, too.
Kittens need to eat very often. If possible they should be allowed to free-feed, meaning that they have food available at all times, so they can eat whenever they get hungry. If other pets in the house make this impossible, be sure your kitten has the opportunity to eat all he wants at least four times a day for the first few weeks.

Sleeping Arrangements and Containment 

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Kitten care items need not be costly. A nice cozy bed can usually be fashioned from items you have around the house. Your kitten may or may not agree with you on the ideal place to sleep, so buying a special cat bed is often a waste of money. A towel or small blanket in a shallow box will be very comfortable.
Your new kitten will be tiny, curious, and possible frightened. Tiny kittens can get lost in dangerous places if left unsupervised. For the first few days, he will need a small safe area, such as a crate or small room, where he can feel secure and you can contain him when you go to bed or leave the house.

Litter Box 


You will want to train your kitten to use the litter box on his first day at home. If you cannot find a "real" litter box, any small plastic box, about four to six inches tall, should do - Tupperware makes a dishpan that makes an ideal litterbox, since its walls are higher than commercial catboxes and there is less scatter. If you plan to keep your kitten in a crate for more than a few minutes at a time, you will need a litter box that will fit in the crate. As your kitten grows you can move up to a larger litter box.
Do not use clumping litter when your kitten is young. Any clay litter can be dangerous, but clumping litter is particularly dangerous for kittens. It will stick to their feet, legs, and sometimes entire body. When they groom themselves they ingest the clay which can cause a blockage in their digestive systems and can be fatal. A pine, wheat, or wheatgrass based litter is safe, will track less, provides better odor control, and will not harm your kitten if a little bit is ingested. If you cannot find appropriate litter, newspaper shredded into thin strips will work.

Kitten Care Means Cleaning Too 

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Kittens are very easily litter trained, but you will want to have something on hand to clean up after your kitten just in case he has an accident, and for cleaning the litter box. Most household cleaners are toxic to pets and children, and cats are especially sensitive to these products. Even a slight residue will be picked up by their paws and then ingested when they groom themselves. Cats are also sensitive to inhaling fumes from these products.
Vinegar is your best bet. Dilute vinegar with water, about half and half works well. Vinegar is safe, works as a disinfectant, and neutralizes urine odors.

Toys and Games 


Kittens will play with just about anything, and they will discover all kinds of toys you never knew you had. Make sure that their toys are not small enough to be a choking hazard and do not let him play with string or cords unsupervised.
In the early days, kitten care means vigilance. Kittens will try to climb to the top of your drapes and perch on the curtain rod if not discouraged.


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Be prepared for emergencies. Keep phone numbers on hand for your veterinarian, local emergency clinic, and the ASPCA Poison Control Center.

Expert Written

This article was written by Sandra Yvonne Duke. She became a Certified Small Animal Dietician at age 14 and currently pursuing her education in Holistic Animal Care.

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