• Guide to Kitten Parenthood

    From left to right: Tsunami, Sunny, Rain, Eclipse, Skye. These cuties just came back from foster care and they are ready to meet their forever families https://secondchancespca.org/our-cats

    So, you found the perfect furbabe and now you are a proud kitten parent. First of all, CONGRATULATIONS, you have won in life. Second of all, now that you have a kitten under your care, it is your responsibility as a kitten parent to provide proper care and training while they’re young, so they’ll grow up to be healthy, well adjusted adults. Below, you’ll find all the tips to help you navigate the exciting journey into cat parenthood.

    Welcome Home

    • Create a safe space for your kitten. This space should have water, food, a comfy bed and litter box. Soon after the kitten is home, take them to the litter box, so they know the location (most kittens will adjust to a new litter box without any problems).
    • Cat proof your home! Pick up small objects, electrical cords, etc.
    • If you have plants inside your house, make sure you check their toxicity before bringing a kitty home. Use this list from the ASPCA as a reference guide to plant toxicity: Toxic and Non-Toxic Plants
    • Find a primary veterinary care provider and locate emergency care clinics. It’s always helpful to have a list of names and numbers handy, in case an incident were to happen.
    • Cats, young and old, love cat trees. If possible, get your kitten a cat tree and place it by the window. If you are serious about spoiling your feline child, get a bird feeder and place it outside. This will provide hours of entertainment!
    • If there are older cats in your home, give them time to get used to the new kitten. A slow introduction will make a less stressful transition for everyone involved. If you have an extra room, keep the kitten locked in the room (in their safe space) and let the kitten and older cats get acquainted to smells and paws. To help with this process, you can place toys/blankets the kitten has used in your older cat’s favorite spots. After a week or two, let the kitten and older cat meet face to face, do not force them, let them meet organically and under supervision.

    Kitten Behavior

    • Beware of the energy monster and be patient with your kitten. Kittens two to four months of age are in phase of rapid growth in which they have almost three times more energy than an adult cat. They will probably drive you crazy, but only for a few hours, as they need about 16-20 hours of sleep a day. They will also need three to four meals a day during this phase. Always buy kitten appropriate food and check the feeding guidelines.
    • Socialization is very important during kittenhood. Expose your kitten to people, noises, walking on leashes, combing, grooming, nail trimming, etc. This is a good time to get the kitten used to being in a carrier, you can get a carrier and place it (door open) near their safe space, let them become familiar with it. This will make trips to the vet a lot easier for both parent and kitten.
    • Introduce your kitten to kitten appropriate toys and set aside 15 minutes twice a day for playtime.
    • Provide scratching posts and reward the kitten when used.
    • Do not allow the kitten to bite or scratch during play. If they bite, redirect their attention to a toy.

    Make Preventive Care a Priority

    • Schedule an appointment early. Early and frequent vet visits will help socialize your kitten with the vet and help the vet establish a baseline for your kitten’s health.
    • Ask about intestinal parasites, fleas, and heartworm treatment.
    • Ask which vaccinations your kitten needs and how often.

    Remember, Your new kitten is a 15+ year commitment and adopting a kitten is a decision you want to give careful thought to and be prepared for. Owning a cat is a large financial and emotional responsibility. Your kitten will depend on you for their health, happiness, safety, and well being. If you decide it is time to adopt, be sure to make time every day to give your kitten the love, attention, and preventive care they need.

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