Getting a kitten at home is such a great experience that is full of fun and warmth, but it is very important to know how to take care of kittens at an early age to make sure they grow healthy, joyful, and well-behaved. We can connect a situation with a newborn baby because in both cases it involves hands-on attention from family members and proper care and education will mostly increase the chance they will grow up healthy.
It is necessary to bring your kitten to a professional vet and do deworming alongside vaccination. In this article, we will cover how to take care of kittens at the early age of the first 12 months.
Under 4 weeks: Little kittens until age 4 weeks need plenty of sleep and usually, it is from 18 to 22 hours per day, so make sure you provide them with a comfortable space to sleep such as a cushion, box, a carpet, and make sure to use warm blanket especially if the cat mum is away. Usually, at this age, the cat’s mother should be with her kittens, and therefore very little human care is needed.
Kittens who are aged two to four weeks usually should eat every 3 to 4 hours, but of course, if they sleep you do not need to wake them up. Believe me, they will wake up when they want to eat because of instincts they already have. When they are around 4 weeks old and do not eat mum’s milk it is very important to give them clean water.
5 to 11 weeks: It is good practice that at this age kittens start using a bottle and are weaned off from their mothers. They still continue to develop their sight muscles and coordination. At six weeks of age baby kittens’ teeth will start to grow and soon break through gums, this is why mother cats will not be happy anymore to breastfeed. It is interesting that at age 6 weeks kitten’s eyes are blue and only later after some weeks eye color will start to change and be the final eye color.
In this period kittens already can start eating wet or dry food, but make sure it is suitable for kittens, not cats. The food should contain high-quality protein-rich and energy-dense ingredients.
Age of 8 to 11 weeks your little kitten will start to be more active, running, playing, and exploring around because of developing complex motor skills. A kitten will start playing with littermates and in this process socializing skills are very important. Because of this active age make sure you stay close to your kitten and start buying some toys to play with.
2 to 4 months: This is the time when your kitten develops very fast and has so much energy. At this time All kittens have scratching instincts so this is crucial to buy some scratching board to avoid all your furniture or wallpaper being ruined. Other toys such as mouse toys, feathers, paper bags, and boxes. Also, it is important to organize rest, play, and eating areas so your kitten acquires good habits. Your kitten needs to eat 3 – 4 times a day and drink water.
4 to 6 months: this is basically a puberty age for your kitten that is already turning into an adult cat and it comes along with sexual maturity. It is recommendable having your kitten spayed or neutered exactly before this time of puberty. So, please consult with your vet about this matter. Also kittens behavior changes and we can notice that females can have heat cycles and they keep their tail up, but males get more aggressive. At six months of age, your kitten should weigh around 6 pounds.
7 to 12 months: this age is a very active age and your kitten will start socializing with humans and have so-called cat naps during the day as humans do. Also, baby teeth are gone and replaced with adult teeth so it is much easier for them to eat harder food.
This is why you need to check kittens’ chewing habits so it does not get out of control.
Be aware that cats can get pregnant at the age of 6 months so if you have not done anything to prevent this and your female cat spent time with a male cat it is possible that she is pregnant.
When your kitten is around 10 months old it is time to transition to adult food so make sure it is good quality meat-based food and it has a label of AAFCO that indicates high-quality standards. For more suggestions, you can check out our blog about the best kitten food. Make sure that this transition is slow by adding up to kitten food a little bit of adult cat food and with time adding more and more.
At age 11 and 12 months your kitten has already grown up into an adult cat, but still, it is very important to train behavior and make sure that all vaccinations are done.
The first vaccine is good to give at the age of 8 weeks and it protects against feline infectious enteritis and influenza. The second dose usually is given after 3 weeks to make sure that it works properly.
Vaccination from rabies should be given when your kitten is 4 months old as it is a very dangerous infection not only for animals but also for humans. It should be repeated after one year and then later every three years.
Kittens can receive roundworms and pinworms from mothers’ milk and should be treated around two times, but you always need to check if there are any worms in their stool. If yes then you need to see a vet.
Fleas and Ear Mites
In this case, it is better not to have fleas rather than to cure so find products that can help and consult with your vet about routine treatment. There are products you can apply directly to the skin and this is the best choice. Flea eggs should be removed from all places possible if your kitten has them.
Ear mites are a common thing as well for kittens and it looks like grey-brown matter in the ear. In this case, always go to the vet for advice.
Start grooming your kittens from an early age so they get used to brushing and a cot stays healthy. There are many types of brushes and you need to try which is the best for you. Many cats need to be groomed often because they have long hair or when they get old. Grooming can help to bond with your kitten and a lot of times they love it.
Bath your kitten
As we know a lot of cats run away from water, but bathing them from small age can help. For this reason, it is good to protect yourself with gloves or long sleeves so your hands do not get scratched. Make sure you have a sink with warm water and use some shampoo if it is needed. When you rinse a kitten with water straight away wrap her in the towel so she does not get cold. It is very important to dry your little kitten properly. More about kitten bathing read here: https://petfoodreviews.net/8-best-kitten-shampoos-in-2022/
Your little fluff will be great add up to your family, just you need to follow your kitten’s needs, teach them how to behave, and go to the vet to look after their health. You can also read our blog about the best kitten food in order to get some guidelines on how to feed your kitten and what type of food to choose.
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