If you’re the proud new parent of a kitten, there are a few things you'll want to remember. Kittens have an abundance of energy and curiosity, so you need to make your home kitten-friendly. You also want to make sure that your kitty is comfortable, happy, and healthy by providing them with the proper nutrition and care. Dr. Vicky goes ahead to list 4 essential tips for all kitten families.
1. Create a kitty safe-haven
We all know cats are predators, but did you know they are also a prey species? Their natural instinct is to be on alert for danger at any time. It’s no wonder that moving a young kitten to their new home, away from their littermates, can leave them feeling especially vulnerable. Help them feel safe by providing areas free from children and other pets. Be sure to include somewhere to snuggle and hide away, as well as places to climb, perch and observe.
As well as making your new kitten feeling comfortable, this well help them ward off stress-induced illnesses such as cat-flu. Read more about cat-flu and kittens in our article here.
2. Kitten-proof your home
As your kitten builds confidence and goes exploring around your home, you’ll be amazed at how quickly trouble finds them. Kittens especially love eating strings, ribbons and hair elastics so these should all be packed away in drawers. Watch out for recliner chairs too, since we often see kittens getting trapped in their mechanisms.
Remember to be cautious with house plants as well. Kittens absolutely love to nibble on their foliage but many house plants are directly toxic to cats. On the topic of plants - keep lillies out of the house, as well.
3. Watch what you feed
Never be in a rush when it comes to your kitten’s diet. Tummy upsets from sudden diet changes can make kittens very sick, with vomiting and diarrhoea landing them in hospital pretty quickly. Just like a baby, their tummies are sensitive, and need time to adjust to new foods. Feed your kitten the same food that was offered by their previous home for at least two weeks before considering a change. Any diet changes should be made slowly by mixing together new and old foods for at least one week.
Read more about kitten diets, especially about whether you should be feeding wet or dry food in our article here.
4. Is outside an option?
Most local council regulations forbid free-roaming cats, plus your kitten may potentially face deadly foes, such as foxes, snakes, and cars. Not to mention other wandering cats, even in their own backyard!
However, studies have shown that an exclusively indoor lifestyle increases psychological stress in cats. For this reason, it may be a good idea to cat-proof your yard or invest in a cat enclosure so that your kitty can play around outside once they’re a bit older.
I hope you may have learned a thing or two about bringing a new kitten home, and how to keep them stress-free whilst they settle into their new family surrounds.
Remember, kittens are social little beings, and they'll crave your attention and want to be involved as a member of your family. However, they don't always communicate clearly with us humans. If your unsure about anything your cat is up to, your family veterinarian is going to be the best and most reliable source of help.