There are several factors that contribute to your cat’s well-being. Taking proper care of him from day one will ensure that he is healthy and adjusting well to his new home.
How to care for a kitten
Newborn cats are quite vulnerable and need certain care to survive. Usually, all their needs are taken care of by the mother as soon as they are born, so the guardians do not need to do more than keep an eye on them. However, if for any reason its mother is not available, it is necessary to learn how to care for a baby cat to save her life.
Maybe you found him on the street without his mom, or maybe you just adopted him and he recently stopped being breastfed. In this article, we will tell you how to take care of a kitten or cat so that you can offer him everything he needs.
When you first bring your cat home, you’ll need a few basic items. These include:
- Baskets: It will provide you with a comfortable bed where the kitten or cat will be comfortable and safe. Don’t put it on the ground. Preferably, place it somewhere where the kitten feels safe, away from drafts or areas where there is a lot of movement.
- Litter boxes: It should be deep enough, but not too deep for kittens to use. It should include a small shovel to scoop out the feces.
- Water Dishes: Your cat should always have a bowl of fresh water available. Water fountains exist as an alternative to dishes, as cats are known to especially enjoy movement which encourages them to drink more.
- Dinner plates: You want to make sure you have a small kibble bowl that is far enough away from the water dish to avoid making a mess. As an alternative, a feeding puzzle can be used, especially if you have an indoor cat, as it provides mental and physical stimulation that allows it to satisfy its natural hunting instinct. With these puzzles, a transition period is necessary for your cat to learn to use them.
- A cat tree: It is a fun and useful accessory for your cat, and will allow him to scratch, climb and hide safely. In addition, it will contribute to their well-being since it respects their natural instincts.
It is recommended to have more than one of each item and spread them around the house to offer your new cat options and allow them to find a quiet space away from visitors or loud noises, should they need it.
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The environment is an important factor for the health and well-being of your cat. A favorable environment is one in which the cat can safely socialize without too much trouble. This helps them get used to the people and things around them.
Even if your cat is very young, it will organize and mark its territory. This is where he will sleep, play, hunt, eat, hide, climb and snuggle. In his home, your cat organizes his life around four different areas that you must respect to avoid behavior problems, especially with indoor cats.
- Feeding Area: It should be in a quiet area, away from its litter box and your own eating area. It is better not to use the dining room or areas where they can be disturbed, and to give him enough space when he eats.
- Rest area: This place will vary throughout the day, depending on sunlight and heat sources. By nature, cats like to sleep high up and tend to choose the place that is most comfortable for them. So make sure you have enough free space to choose from.
- Cleaning area: The litter box should be placed in a quiet place that your cat can always access, away from its food bowl and places with a lot of movement. Take care to avoid any source of stress: cats have been known to stop cleaning themselves because the litter box was installed next to the washing machine. At least one litter tray per cat plus another free one is recommended. In this way, each cat has several options and these problems are avoided.
- Play area: This is your cat’s largest living space and the area where he relaxes. It should be a place where it can run, hide, or perch high. Cat trees are great accessories to encourage this activity and support your cat’s health and well-being.
Indoor cats need plenty of activity to stay physically and mentally stimulated. That means:
- lots of toys (which should be rotated from time to time to keep them interested), things to climb and hide, and regular family playtimes each day.
- Because they groom themselves more and tend to be more sedentary, indoor cats, especially those with long hair, need a diet that can help them with hairballs and is appropriate for their lower activity levels.
- You may not like the marks your cat leaves on your furniture or walls. However, scratching is a natural behavior and it is important that you give your cats places to express themselves. Plan to have at least one place where he can scratch.
In the case of domestic cats, food intake depends on several factors. Cats prefer to eat in a quiet place, out of sight and away from predators, with a clear escape route.
Only high-quality foods specifically prepared for cats can be guaranteed to provide all the nutrients they need to stay healthy, regardless of age, breed, lifestyle, or sensitivities.
- While a varied diet is beneficial, frequent and continual variation is not good for a cat’s digestion.
- Feeding puzzles are a great way to mentally entertain your cat, encourage him to strive for his food, and exercise his hunting instincts.
- Hunting behavior plays a big role in how cats eat, so they tend to eat several small meals throughout the day rather than one or two large meals.
- Cats require plenty of protein, including a number of essential amino acids, one of which is taurine, which is found naturally only in animal tissue.
- Fat is a significant energy hotspot for felines. They need a higher proportion of daily calories from fat than is recommended for humans.
- Cats also have very specific requirements for vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin D, which they can only obtain from their diet.
- As newborns, kittens have a digestive tract perfectly adapted to digest milk formulated specifically for kittens. However, their digestive capacity changes, and when they enter adulthood they can no longer digest lactose.
In addition to looking good, a brushed coat contains less dead hair, which means your cat will be able to remove this excess when grooming. This has its benefits, as grooming accounts for an average of 30% of your cat’s time and results in hair ingestion. And said intake implies the generation of hairballs and, sometimes, digestive problems.
- In cats with longer hair, such as the Persian, the coat should be carefully detangled with a good quality comb every day.
- In short-haired, flat-haired cats (such as the Siamese or Abyssinian), sometimes all it takes is a few firm movements of the hand.
- Soft brushing the coat once a week is recommended for animals with medium-length hair or hair with a thick undercoat (eg Maine Coon or Exotic Shorthair).
Good oral health begins when your kitten is young.
- When they arrive at your house, the kittens will still have their baby teeth. These milk teeth are quite brittle, so the kibble should be softer and easier to break than those of an older cat.
- There are wet foods specially formulated for kittens, which have an excellent texture and are adapted to their sensitive teeth.
- Tooth brushing is the gold standard for oral care, and the use of a special cat toothbrush and veterinary toothpaste is recommended.
Your cat’s health and well-being involve a wide variety of factors, from preventative vaccinations and medications to insurance, and even the decision to spay or not. Some of these costs are isolated and others must be considered as part of an ongoing budget along with nutrition and grooming.
- Cats should be periodically vaccinated against feline panleukopenia virus, feline herpesvirus, and feline calicivirus. The vaccination regimen consists of two injections given three to four weeks apart. Your cat may have already received her first injection before coming home, as the first dose can be given from around nine weeks.
- Microchipping involves the painless insertion of a microchip under the skin in the neck area and means that any veterinary or feline rescue organization can “read” the chip with a handheld scanner. Your vet can carry out the method at any of your standard arrangements
- It is important to prevent the cat from contracting fleas, parasites, or ticks. A good breeder will have started a deworming program from the beginning of the cat’s life and most rescues will also start a good flea and parasite treatment regimen for all animals in their care. It is important that you ask the person you are receiving your cat or kitten from about any treatments the new animal has received in the past.
- Neutering is one of the most responsible decisions any pet owner can make. Cats have traditionally been neutered anytime around six months of age.
- Annual check-ups with the vet are important to help prevent any health problems and monitor weight and behavior changes
Training and behavior
Most of a kitten’s education takes place during the first six months of its life. And most of the behaviors are acquired in the first three months, thanks to the predominant role of his mother and siblings.
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That means that when you bring a cat into your home, you only have to contribute a limited amount of basic education. However, you still have responsibilities. Your job is to complete their training in the new environment and address any undesirable behaviors.
Insurance gives you peace of mind that you’ll be able to provide the care your cat needs in the event of a crisis.
Pet insurers offer different levels of coverage, and prices vary based on the age, breed, size, and type of cat, as well as your location.
Find the right coverage for you and your kitty. We suggest:
- Use the Internet to compare packages
- Consult with your veterinarian
- Search in pet magazines
At first, it can be overwhelming to prepare for all the necessary care for a cat or kitten, but if you start in the right way, the animal will be able to adjust to its new home and lead a happy and healthy life.
When to take a kitten cat to the vet
We end this guide on how to care for a kitten cat by discussing when to take it to the vet. Surely you notice when your cat has symptoms that warn of a problem because you see changes in its appearance or behavior that are strange to you, but we also want to indicate that you do not hesitate to go to the veterinarian when you notice any of these symptoms in your feline.
- A runny nose, sneezing, rheum, or eye mucous. to rule out any feline viruses, including calicivirus and herpesvirus.
- If your cat is constantly meowing, check to see that all of its needs are being met and check its body for any wounds or blows because repeated fluttering can signify pain.
- If your kitten refuses to eat or you see that, despite eating, he is not gaining weight or even losing it.
- if you experience vomiting or diarrhea.
- If you fail to urinate or defecate.
- If you look at the abdomen, which is really bloated.
- You should visit your veterinarian between 6 and 8 weeks for a preliminary examination and to begin your vaccination and deworming regimen.
If you want more information, here you can find more about When to take my cat to the vet. As a result, if you want to properly care for a newborn or baby cat, you must exercise extreme patience with all of the aforementioned factors. This is because a cat must learn what it means to be a cat and what it’s like to live in a home, and it also needs care just like any other living thing.
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