Although it is extremely exciting to welcome a new kitty into the home, for an 8-week-old or older kitten, it can be pretty scary at first. Not all kittens are the same. Some have different color coats and different color eyes, and they will have different personalities too! Some will be shy and scared and some will be bolder and mischievous. It’s still a traumatic time for a kitten because they are leaving their mother and their siblings behind to start a whole new life with you! So let’s get ready to make life as easy and comfortable and healthy and safe for your little friend.
Where will he sleep?
Well, it’s always best to choose the place where he will be kept the same place for his first few weeks, so he can adjust gradually and explore his surroundings. When he has his “own place,” it helps him come right with his toilet training – then he will be unlikely to make ‘accidents’ in other parts of the house. Check that his room is safe:
- Avoid rooms with full-length curtains because he can run up them and get trapped at the top
- Don’t put him in a room that is dangerous with things like poisonous plants, foods, fireplaces, or any other potential hazards. Kittens can get into very small spaces. Remove things that can break and secure the cupboards and windows.
- Place his litter box in a special discreet part of the room with his food bowl and water not close to the litter box. Make sure he has his own little place like a cardboard box on its side with a nice fleecy blanket on it, so he can run there if he feels insecure, afraid, or shy. Then he will need a padded type of washable bed in a quiet area away from his food, the litter box, and his water. This padded type bed can also have a washable fleece blanket on it for him.
- Cats, even from little, love a scratching post, in fact, they need it because this is where he will scratch and exercise his little feet with their sharp claws. NEVER ever declaw a cat for your benefit and convenience; that’s a cruel practice and one where you should rather not invest in a cat.
- Have toys ready for his playtime, but don’t leave toys that have strings attached to them; only if you are playing with the kitten. On his own, they can prove harmful.
His first few days
It’s a good idea to bring your kitty home with his bedding because that will be familiar to him when everything else is new. The first 24 hours should be calm for him; children shouldn’t pass the kitten from one hand to the next. His room should be prepared in advance to welcome him. He will need food, water, and a prepared litter tray immediately he arrives. You needn’t worry if he doesn’t show interest in food straight away, just let him settle in at his own pace. Remember, he needs his sleep because he is so young. When he is not asleep, he will have bursts of energy and activity, and will love to climb as well, so be on the lookout!
Don’t force him to have a relationship with you and all the other family members swarming into the room. Rather carry on with your normal lives, allowing him to come out and move among you as he starts feeling more confident and secure. Young children should be supervised so he is not over-handled. When he wants to sleep, let him sleep uninterrupted.
What should he eat and when?
A new kitten, if you suddenly decide to change his diet because he has come to your home, can cause him an upset stomach, and he can get diarrhea. If you want to change his diet, do it gradually by mixing it in a little of his usual food with his new food. Remember, his stomach is small and only needs small amounts of food, like little babies.
You get good quality kitten food that will give him the nutrition he needs. If the kitten food has the word “complete” on it, it probably has everything in it for the kitten to stay healthy. Sometimes the foods have the world “complementary” on them which means you will need to add other important nutrients to his diet.
Remember that kittens from 8-12 weeks need four meals a day. At 3-6 months three meals a day, and when they are over 6 months, a morning and evening meal. Dry food like kitten biscuits can also be added. Don’t give your kitten cow’s milk – this can cause diarrhea. Only use specially formulated milk for cats. If your kitten does happen to get diarrhea that lasts longer than 24 hours, he will need a vet. Never ever leave your cat without fresh water nearby.
His litter box
Cats learn quickly to use the litter box because they have probably seen their mother use it. You can show him where the litter box is and place him on it when he wakes from his sleep. If he looks like he is getting crouched up it might be that he needs to go!
Pets require responsibility, care, vet visits, and vaccinations!
It is an expensive hobby to own a pet – they require constant attention, love, care, and commitment. Kittens, too, need to have a round of vaccinations which start at around 13 weeks old. When he is finished his course of vaccinations, then he can start going outside if you have a garden. From around 4 months old, a female cat should be spayed and a male cat will be neutered. When he is finally around 6 months old, you could fit him with a beautiful collar to show he belongs to a loving home where he is part of the family and greatly loved. His collar should have identification on him in case he gets lost. Ensure that you can get one or two fingers under the collar – never too tight or loose!
Kittens need entertainment and grooming too
Toys will keep your kitten exercised and occupied. Grooming, too, is important. It helps to remove excess loose hair, which can cause fur balls to build up in the stomach. Grooming builds bonds between you and your kitten too.
“𝘼 𝙠𝙞𝙩𝙩𝙚𝙣 𝙞𝙨 𝙞𝙣 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙖𝙣𝙞𝙢𝙖𝙡 𝙬𝙤𝙧𝙡𝙙 𝙬𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙖 𝙧𝙤𝙨𝙚𝙗𝙪𝙙 𝙞𝙨 𝙞𝙣 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙜𝙖𝙧𝙙𝙚𝙣.”
– Robert Southey