Bringing Home Your New Kitten
What is the best way to introduce my new kitten to my home?
Your interaction with your new kitten begins on the ride home. Cats should always be transported in some kind of carrier in the car. By teaching your kitten to ride in a confined location you are providing safety as well as starting a routine that you can maintain for future car rides. Upon arriving at home, place the kitten in a small, quiet area with food and a litter box. If the kitten is very tiny, a small litter box with low sides may be necessary at first. If possible, duplicate the type of litter material used in the previous home (see Litter Box Training).
Feeding Growing Kittens
Kittens are typically weaned off of their mother’s milk at about 8 weeks of age and become reliant on pet owners for their nutrition. The goal of feeding growing kittens is to lay the foundation for a healthy adulthood.
Kitten – Raising Kittens
Raising kittens can be an extremely gratifying experience or it may produce profound disappointment. The following information should help increase your chances of success when caring for young kittens.
Do I need to help care for newborn kittens?
If the delivery was without incident, the queen, or mother cat, will spend most of her time with her kittens during the first few days after birth. Within a few hours of birth, it is extremely important that kittens receive colostrum, or the “first milk”, which is rich in antibodies and helps protect the newborns from infection. The kittens need to be kept warm and to nurse frequently; you should check them every few hours to make certain that they are warm and well fed. You should also check the mother to make certain that she is producing adequate and normal-appearing milk.
Feeding Orphaned Kittens
Newborn kittens are relatively immature at birth compared to many other mammals. The period of time they spend being nursed by their mother (queen) helps the newborn kitten transition from in uternutrition to solid food.
When a kitten is raised on queen’s milk, their growth and health is influenced by:
- the nutrition of the queen during pregnancy and early lactation,
- the queen’s overall physical health and behaviour, and
- good neonatal care.
The first few days of a queen’s milk is known as colostrum. Colostrum is very high in protein and transfers important immune system elements. Whenever possible, newborn kittens should receive their mother’s milk as it sets the stage for normal immune system function and protection from disease.
Kitten – Recommendations for New Owners
We would like to congratulate you on the acquisition of your new kitten. Owning a cat can be an extremely rewarding experience, but it is also a large responsibility for many years. We hope this handout will give you the information needed to make some good decisions regarding your kitten.
First, let us say that we are grateful that you have chosen our hospital to help with your kitten’s health care. If you have questions concerning any subject related to your kitten’s health, please feel free to call our hospital. Our veterinarians and staff will be happy to assist you.
Socialization and Fear Prevention in Kittens
What is socialization?
Socialization is the process during which the kitten develops relationships with other living beings in its environment.
What is habituation?
As cats develop, there are numerous stimuli (sounds, smells, sights, and events) that, when they are unfamiliar, can lead to fear and anxiety. Habituation is the process of getting used to and not reacting to those stimuli by continuous exposure under circumstances that have no untoward consequences.
Kitten Behaviour and Training – Play and Investigative Behaviours
Kittens have a reputation for being playful. Why is play so important to them?
Play is a very important part of the feline world and kittens need the opportunity to play in order to learn vital adult skills both for communication and for hunting. From a very early age, they play with their litter mates and with objects that they find in their environment. Indeed, play provides the ideal opportunity for kittens to investigate the world around them. Young kittens play using chasing and pouncing behaviours that seem to have their origin in predation.
Kitten Behaviour and Training – Litter Box Training
Do I need to train my new kitten to use a litter box?
Most cats by nature prefer to use a soil type surface for elimination. By providing a litter box with an appropriate and appealing substrate (material), few cats will need to be trained to use it. At about 30 to 36 days of age, kittens leave the nest to search out a loose substrate for elimination.
“The kitten learns specific areas and
substrates to use by observing the mother.”