The Basics of Adopting a Kitten - Feeding, Vaccinating and More
Adopting a kitten is exciting, but it comes with several responsibilities. Before you adopt one, you must understand the basics of feeding, medications, grooming, training, exercise and sleep.
There are several types of food you can try with your kitten; it may like some, but not others. It is beneficial to feed him food in a variety of flavors, smells and textures. Depending on its age, the amount it needs to be fed each day varies. For example, a kitten 2-3 months old should eat 4 times a day, but a kitten 6-12 months old typically only needs to eat twice a day. It is also important to provide them with plenty of water. If you suspect there may be something wrong with your cat’s eating habits, a veterinarian will assist you in caring for your kitten.
You should vaccinate your kitten against certain diseases fairly early in their life. Most cats need to be vaccinated for rhinotracheitis (feline herpes), calici virus and panleukopenia (feline parvovirus). Depending on some other factors, there may be more vaccinations that your kitten needs and can be determined by a veterinarian. All cats should be prescribed with a heartworm medication—this is especially important for felines that live in heartworm areas. It is also important to provide your cat with a flea prevention treatment monthly; there are a number of treatments that can be purchased at the vet or over the counter that will assist you with that.
One aspect of life that most kittens absolutely do not enjoy is grooming. That is why it’s beneficial to start early and to make grooming fun. Be gentle while still removing hair to decrease hairball formation. Cats also need to have their teeth brushed every day; however, there are special feline toothpastes that should be used instead of human toothpaste. Check your cat’s ears at least once a week to ensure that there are no infections. Not all cats need regular bathing, but if it is something you feel is necessary, be sure to use an appropriate shampoo that is gentle and protects the kitten’s skin.
Training kittens is not difficult if you have patience and use the right tactics. Make sure you reinforce good behavior with praise and treats. Litter box training is the most common training procedure with cats, but it really isn’t that hard of a process. Try to buy a fine-grained, clumping litter, absent of perfume. Make sure you keep it sanitary by cleaning the box daily and washing it weekly. It may be helpful to provide your cat with a scratching post so it does not scratch your furniture or other important items.
Kittens need exercise, just like we do! This isn’t hard because they are very playful most of the time. Try to play with your feline for frequent, short periods so you don’t rid too much of his energy. Also, toys are helpful especially ones that can be chewed as they are beneficial for teething.
Sleep is the final factor your need to think about before buying a kitten. They are most likely going to sleep a lot because they are growing. For example, and 8-week old kitten may need 20 hours of sleep where as a 12-month old kitten may need 12-14 hours. Make sure to provide your kitten with a comfortable sleeping area that may include a bed, towels or anything else to keep them comfortable.
Again, adopting a kitten is fun but it comes with several responsibilities that must be considered. If you have questions, talk to a veterinarian and they will steer you the right way!