Raising a Kitten 101
What has four paws, endless energy, and acts like a toddler? If you answered “a kitten”, you are correct!
Being a cat parent is a true joy! But have you ever raised a kitten? Do you know the different preparations and expectations that come with parenting a feline furball? We have sorted through the tips and tricks to provide you with the best knowledge on how to successfully raise a kitten!
Kittens are born with their eyes still closed and an unregulated body temperature. Therefore, it’s important that they stay with their mother for at least the first 8 weeks of life to get their basic life needs met. When looking to bring a new kitten home, this allows you plenty of “prep” time to get everything set up in your home so your new kitty will adjust well!
The first thing you need to do is identify a room in your home that will be the designated “safe room” for your kitten. If you have ever raised a two year old human, you know all too well what life is like with a kitten – they get into EVERYTHING! The safe room should be somewhere that all potentially toxic items have been removed (i.e. plants, food, etc.), electrical cords have been put away, and unfamiliar dangers are eliminated. Once this room is set up you can start filling this space with all your kitten essentials!
New kitten checklist
Just like human babies, kittens require a lot of “stuff” in the early stages of life! Not only for their basic life needs, but for the development of their curiosity, personality, and engagement with others. Here are a few of the “must-have” items you need when raising a kitten:
- Food and water: Like babies, kittens require a specialized diet in the first few weeks of life – food that is formulated just for kittens and is highly digestible for their still developing bodies. The Omlet Maya Cat Bowl is a great item to have for their food and water as it is virtually untippable and environmentally safe to eat from!
- Litter box: Training a kitten to use a litter box early on will save you from unnecessary sprays later. Where you train your kitten to use the bathroom initially is where they will continue to go, so try and invest in a litter box option that can grow with your feline. The Omlet Maya Cat Litter Box is the prrr-fect option as it not only provides privacy, but doubles as a stylish piece of furniture as well!
- Indoor cat tree: Out in the wild, cats use trees for various reasons: to climb and check out their surroundings, to escape and feel safe, and to scratch their claws for comfort. Having an indoor cat tree for your kitten is not only essential for their innate understanding of life, but for their fun and happiness, too! The Freestyle Indoor Cat Tree is your one stop tree for all your kitten (and cat!) needs! Completely customizable with baskets and scratchers, this is the last cat tree you will ever need to buy!
- Toys: Kittens have a one-track mind in their early weeks of life: play, play, play! So the more toys you can have on hand to engage and entertain their playful minds, the better!
- Cat bed: All cats like a good cat nap – especially kittens who can log up to 20 hours of sleep in one day! And because most cats like to sleep in a curled up, nested position, finding a good cat bed is essential! The Omlet Maya Donut Cat Bed comes with a removable and washable cover, making it the ideal solution for your kitten to sleep and rest as they truly desire! You can even customize the color and feet to make it the perfect addition to your den!
Bringing kitten home
Now that you have your kitten “safe room” set up with all your kitten essentials, it’s time to bring your feline furball home! When it comes to raising a kitten, slow and steady wins the race! Let’s take a look at what you can expect over the first few months of life with your new kitten:
8-11 weeks of age: Most breeders will keep kittens with their moms until 8 weeks of age, so at the time you bring them to your home, they will be at least 2 months old. During these first few weeks together, your kitten will still be growing developmentally and acquiring new motor skills. So be sure to do lots of interactive play! This will help to build the bond between you and your kitten and help them to establish boundaries.
2 months – 4 months: Kittens experience exponential growth during this time of life! Have you ever heard of the “terrible twos”? That’s kind of what you can expect at this stage! At this age, kittens have approximately three times the amount of energy as an adult cat. And if your kitten is the only four-legged animal in your house, then they consider YOU their playmate! So expect to be playing A LOT with them to help you build a bond!
4 months – 6 months: By this point, your kitten has reached adolescence. This is the best time to get them spayed or neutered and begin regular vet visits for check-ups. Kittens start to become more territorial at this stage of life, so be on the lookout for any spraying and marking of items and areas.
Kittens + companions
Whether you are a single kitten household or a family full of four-legged friends, there are certain best practices to follow when introducing your new feline to others! We have explored the expectations of raising a kitten solo, but what if you already have other cats or dogs or kids at home?
Raising a kitten can be loads of work and copious amounts of fun! But raising two kittens? It’s double the love! The best time to introduce your new kitten to a companion is when that companion is also a kitten. When they are young, kittens have not yet established a sense of hierarchy, so getting to know and understand life with a friend who is the same age is a bonus for both felines! Make sure both kittens get equal amounts of attention and play and a lasting bond is sure to follow!
Kitten and dog
While nature may suggest that cats and dogs don’t get along, we disagree! With a little bit of patience and a lot of preparation, you can absolutely raise a kitten alongside a dog. The main thing to consider when raising these two very different animals together is that the introductions need to take time. On average, it can take anywhere from 4 weeks to 6 months before cats and dogs are comfortably cohabitating. The key to this relationship? Patience and persistence!
Kitten and children
Who doesn’t love a tiny furry feline? Most kids do! But when is the best time to get a kitten when you have kids at home? It’s important to consider the age of your kids when also considering a kitten. No child under the age of 12 should be given full responsibility of raising a kitten, so be sure there is an adult who can attend to the main care of the cat!
What to avoid
Happy kittens grow into happy cats and providing the right environment for their upbringing is an essential factor to their disposition. Let’s take a look at the do’s and don’ts of raising a kitten:
DO – Create a safe room and environment where they can feel comfortable and secure.
DON’T – Isolate your kitten by themselves. They need lots of attention and affection in the early stages of life to better adapt as affectionate adult cats!
DO – Feed your kitten specific food to their growing needs and body requirements.
DON’T – Give your kitten human food! Not only will this be potentially harmful to their digestive systems, but it will also establish harmful boundaries around human food later in life.
DO – Let your cat explore the outside world beyond the confines of your established “‘safe room”.
DON’T – Let your kitten or your cat go outside unsupervised! Domesticated animals do not have the same innate predatory instincts as wild animals and, as a result, could be in danger if left outside unattended. Consider an outdoor cat enclosure as the perfect option to let your kitten (or several cats!) explore the outside without worry of safety!
DO – Have lots of patience when raising a kitten!
DON’T – Expect too much, too soon! Just like babies, raising a kitten takes time and patience. And it will be a reward worth waiting for!
Kittens are tiny angels with whiskers! They may take some time and a lot of responsibility to raise, but the fruits of your labor will be immeasurable. With the right amount of love, patience, and preparation, they will grow into big angels with longer whiskers! Happy tails!
This entry was posted in Cats