Kitten Care Must-Know Tips for Raising Kittens

by catfood

Raising kittens follows a similar philosophy to that of raising children.

When they are young, they are more likely to grow up to be healthy, well-adjusted adults if they receive proper care and training. So, if you’ve recently adopted a kitten, put this advice into action as soon as possible.


1. Don’t Treat Your Kitten Like an Adult Cat

The needs of a kitten differ greatly from those of a fully matured cat, just as the needs of a human infant differ greatly from those of a teenager. When caring for a kitten, you should also consider her developmental stages:

  • Children under the age of eight weeks. At this age, a kitten should still be with her mother and littermates. These kittens must rely on one another’s body heat to survive because they are unable to regulate their own temperatures. They are still working on their vision and leg coordination. If you adopt or foster an orphan kitten in this age range, you will need to provide special care, such as bottle-feeding the kitten every two hours until it is four weeks old and possibly assisting your kitten in peeing and pooping. A veterinarian should be consulted for specific instructions and advice.
  • From eight to eleven weeks old. Kittens are typically weaned at eight weeks of age and should be eating a kitten diet high in energy, protein, and digestibility. Make sure the food is suitable for kittens, whether dry kibble or wet food. Other significant changes will begin to occur during this time. Your kitten will grow into a natural force as she develops complex motor skills such as running, jumping, playing, and exploring. This is a fun time for your kitten, but it can also be hazardous if she is not properly supervised. Set your kitten’s boundaries and confine her to a safe, enclosed space while you supervise her.
  • Two to four months old. During this period of rapid growth, kittens will have nearly three times the energy of an adult cat. They will need three to four individual meals per day during this time. These meals should contain at least 30% high-quality protein, according to
  • Kittens between the ages of four and six months have reached adolescence and, with it, sexual maturity. Consult with a veterinarian before your kitten reaches this stage about having him or her spayed or neutered to avoid unpleasant habits like territorial spraying and accidental litters. (Click here for more information on spaying and neutering.)

2. Reward Good Behavior and Socialize, Socialize, Socialize

Your kitten’s socialization and training as a kitten will influence how well she interacts with people and other animals as she grows older. “I remember how worried I was about scaring the kittens the first time I fostered them,” Jane Harrell recalls. “What I didn’t realize was that they were in a critical period of socialization, and not exposing them to things made them more nervous as adults.” When I foster kittens, I try to expose them to as many different things as possible, such as loud noises, walking on leashes, strangers, and so on. Everything helps them grow into well-adjusted, healthy adult cats.) Just make sure that any socialization your kittens receive is positive.


As a new kitten’s parent, it will be your responsibility to guide her and show her that the world is a wonderful place. Consider implementing some of the training and socialization techniques listed below:

  • Kittens use litter boxes instinctively, but you can help her learn by placing her in it after meals and play sessions. Assure that your kitten has constant access to a litter box and that it is cleaned on a regular basis.
  • She should be petted on a regular basis.
  • Get her ready for weekly combing and grooming. (Learn more about cat grooming.)
  • Introduce some toys to her.
  • Allow her to try out different walking surfaces (carpet, linoleum, etc.) However, before allowing your kitten to go outside, ensure that your veterinarian has given him or her the necessary vaccines and that sufficient time has passed for your kitten to develop immunity.
  • Allow her to go outside on a leash or in her carrier (allowing a kitten to go outside without a leash is extremely dangerous).
  • Give her things to look at, such as boxes and paper bags.
  • Make a lot of noise and play loud music.
  • Invite some friends over to play with her and feed her treats.
  • Provide appropriate scratching alternatives (such as scratching posts) and reward her with toys, praise, or treats when she uses them.
  • During playtime, allow her to bite or scratch. If she does, use a toy to distract her.
  • Introduce her to other cats and kittens (only after they’ve received all of their vaccinations, of course!). Kitten socialization classes are even available; check your local listings to see if any are available.
  • Take your kitten for car rides while feeding her treats and acquainting her with her carrier. (See these tips for making your cat like his carrier.)
  • Friendly behavior should be rewarded with treats or praise.
  • When she exhibits inappropriate behavior, instead of reprimanding her, ignore her.
  • Teach your kitten tricks to help her think. (Learn how to teach a cat tricks.)
  • Maintain your patience at all times.

3. Make Preventive Care a Priority


Begin early with preventive care to help ensure your kitty’s health for the rest of her life:

  • Schedule an early appointment. Make your kitten’s first veterinarian appointment within a week of her arrival. Early and frequent vet visits will allow your kitten to socialize with the veterinarian and allow the veterinarian to establish a baseline for your kitten’s health.
  • Inquire about intestine parasites, fleas, and heartworm. Check your kitten for worms and intestinal parasites and have her de-wormed if necessary. While heartworms are less common in cats than in dogs, some kittens may be susceptible, so ask your veterinarian if a heartworm preventative is recommended. Fleas, on the other hand, are your kitten’s most serious parasitic threat. Topical flea preventatives can be started on your kitten when he or she is 8 to 12 weeks old, though some brands are designed for kittens as young as 4 weeks old.
  • Inquire about the vaccinations your kitten needs and how often they should be administered: Vaccines against feline leukemia, rabies, and distemper may be beneficial to kittens. These shots are typically administered to a kitten at around 8 weeks of age, with boosters administered every few weeks until she is 16 weeks old. Your veterinarian will then be able to start her on an adult vaccination schedule. He or she may also recommend that you get additional vaccinations.

These basic elements will give your kitten the best start in life, but keep in mind that she will still require a lot of attention and care as she grows.


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