Bringing up kittens can seem like a challenge, even to experienced cat parents. Here are eight steps that will make your transition into a fluffy parent easier and more pleasant.
It is important to create contact with your kitten as soon as possible. Studies suggest that a litter of kittens exposed to human interaction daily are less likely to react fearfully than those that are not. Daily interaction also helps in improving the kittens’ learning ability. It is also advisable to initiate contact when the mother is around as it is believed that she does not send alarming signals to her kittens and her presence reassures them; making them more comfortable around humans. Early contact can also accelerates their development.
Visiting kittens regularly as they begin to play will help introduce them to their environment. At four to eight weeks of age, socializing with humans is key for kittens. Frequent handling and petting makes them more accustomed to their owners when they become adults and lessens their fear of strangers. Kittens should also be exposed to children who are shown how to pet them. In doing so, the kittens will be more comfortable around children when they mature.
Start visiting the vet as soon as possible to ensure a healthy start. All indoor cats and kittens should be vaccinated in order to protect them from deadly viruses that might be airborne or brought into the house by people or other animals coming from outside.
Feed your fluffy friend food that is specially formulated for the nutritional needs of kittens as they have a rapid growth rate and high energy levels. Studies show that kittens grow from infancy to young adulthood in approximately one year and can have a 2,000 percent increase over its birth weight by 20 weeks. Growth starts to level off by 26 weeks of age and therefore it is important to give them appropriate kitten and cat food.
Kittens tend to adjust better to grooming if exposed to it early on in the form of a routine. Grooming requirements vary from breed to breed. Long-haired cats need grooming daily whereas short-haired cats need it on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. Appropriate grooming equipment can be found in pet shops.
While grooming your kitten or cat, inspect their health. Keep an eye out for any parasites like fleas or ticks and look out for skin diseases such as ringworm. Thoroughly examine your kitten for any lumps or lesions and in the event that you find any, consult your vet immediately.
Setting some ground rules for your kitten can be essential to avoiding the development of any unwanted habits. Once you have picked a name for your cat, make sure that all the members of the house call the kitten by the same. Misbehaviour that results from the desire to play can be curbed with distractions like toys and scratching posts. Avoid rough play with your kittens since small pinpricks can develop into aggressive behaviour as they mature. A firm ‘no’ goes a long way with kittens as they are sensitive to tone. If you catch them misbehaving, a squirt from a toy pistol or spray bottle can be effective.
Litter Box training is essential to develop from the very beginning. Place the pan in a secluded area of the house and consistently place your kitten in it when they are most likely to use it. Use sieves and scoops available at pet shops to keep the pan clean as cats avoid soiled litter. Wash the pan with soap and water when changing the litter and avoid strong disinfectants that are not formulated for cats.
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