Kittens! Cute little fluffy, floofy, toe-beany, purr machines! Yes, we may be slightly smitten with kittens. Everyone wants the best for their new fuzz-babies. Here are 10 things everyone should know when they adopt a fantastic feline child of their own!
- Older Kittens adjust Faster
Tiny 6 week-old kittens are super adorable, but they also have had less time to learn the ins and outs of dealing with humans alone. Waiting until they are around 12 weeks gives your kitten time to adjust to the world with guidance from its mother, siblings, or other kitties in the shelter. A socialized kitten is one that doesn’t run from petting and wants to play!
- Have a Vet
Even if you are adopting from a shelter or rescue that provides health screening before adoption, you should still have a vet you trust in mind. If you’re getting your kitten from a friend, take it to the vet as soon as possible to screen for health issues. Your vet can also give wonderful advice for new pet parents, such as litterbox training tips, appropriate foods, and how to spot illnesses!
- Begin Socialization Training Early
How your kitten will behave as an adult depends on how well they are socialized while young. This is the time when you should be playing, petting, and letting them explore. You can also get them used to loud noises such as music or vacuuming, as well as teach them which surfaces are good for scratching.
- Reward Good Behaviour, Ignore Bad Behaviour
When your kitten does something you like, reward them with praise and treats! If they are bad, don’t yell, no matter how bad it seems. They are babies after all. Instead, ignore them or give them a time-out. When they realize they aren’t getting your attention with bad behaviour, they’ll learn to seek it with behaviours you do like!
- Feed Accordingly
Just like human babies, kittens can take a while to adjust to new foods and may not always like the new stuff you try to give them. Some kittens eat a whole lot at once, while others prefer to graze throughout the day. Make sure their food dish is shallow and kept somewhere convenient. Not sure which food is best? Consult your vet.
- Water, Water, Water
Not milk, water. Did we mention water? Fresh water should always be available for your kitty. Check it regularly for cleanliness. Don’t give in to the temptation to give a kitten some cow milk or cream, it will give them tummy troubles.
- Litter Training is Easy
Cats naturally want to bury their waste, so normally all you have to do is place your kitten in the box once or twice to give them the right idea. Always keep the box in the same spot to avoid confusion.
- Discourage Clawing, but don’t Declaw
No matter what you’ve heard, declawing is a dangerous and crippling amputation of a cat’s toes that can leave them in pain for the rest of their lives. Instead, give your kitten plenty of scratching posts and toys, and train them early which surfaces are allowed to be scratched.
- Give everyone Time to Adjust
Bringing home a kitten is exciting for the family, but it can be a little terrifying for your new pet. Give your kitten time to adjust to their new surroundings and don’t force them to be held or pet. Supervise them around small children or other pets until they have time to get comfortable.
- Kitten-Proof your Home
Kittens can find danger as well as human babies can. Make sure all dangling cords are secured up and away from where kitty plays. Also remove dangerous objects your cat may mistake for a toy and chew on; this includes jewellery, decorations, balloons, and poisonous plants.