Hello, dear pet parent! I bet you are overjoyed at the prospect of raising a kitten! Perhaps you are already a cat parent who’s had experience with older cats. On the other hand, this kitten could be your first fur baby and that’s why you need to learn how to raise a kitten. Either way, I’m here to help!
It’s important to keep in mind that you will be raising a very delicate creature which needs a lot of care. In fact, think of all the dedication it takes to raise a human child and be prepared to exert a similar amount of effort! Sometimes, you end up having to raise a kitten completely unplanned.
That’s when you need this crash course on “how to raise kitten”. Other times, you take months to prepare before adopting a kitty. In my opinion, no matter how hard it is, the process of raising a tiny life form certainly enriches your soul! If you want to know all the necessary steps of raising a kitten, read on!
Bringing a Kitten Home: Before
You’ve been thinking long and hard and have finally decided to adopt a kitten. Maybe you think you’ll only need to know how to raise a cat after you bring it home, but your work starts even before that! I’ll impart my years of knowledge gathered as a somewhat crazy cat lady to you. Consider these factors before you bring a kitten home:
Try Not to Separate a Kitten From Its Family
A kitten younger than 4 weeks is certainly too young to be separated from its mother and the rest of the litter. It needs the mother’s milk and warmth to survive. If you end up with a stray within this age range, you’ll need to take special care of the little furball. Scroll down to the “Special Care For Newborns” section for better understanding of how to raise a kitten that is really young.
Even when a kitten is able to rely on kitten food, you need to consider adopting it with one of its twins to make sure your kitten does not get lonely or bored. Cats like to play around with each other, and this way, the two can keep each other company. Two happy little furballs are certainly better than one little furball, don’t you agree?
Who doesn’t like shopping for cute and colorful things for their pets? Get it done at least a few days before you bring your fur baby home. Here are the absolutely necessary things you should keep in your list:
Food and Bowls: Buy specially formulated kitten food. Consult a vet to know which would be best for your kitten’s age. To serve them food and water, pick shallow bowls. You can also try a small water fountain.
Litter and Litter Box: You need to start litter training your kitten within a few days of bringing it home. Kittens are curious and tend to eat litter, so buy one that would not cause any trouble when swallowed. Consider a litter box with low sides. To know how to raise a kitten, you should study up on how to litter train them as well.
Bed: To give your kitty a special place to call its own, pick a comfy bed. It’s best to get ones with waterproof liners and washable covers, as it might take your fur baby some time to get litter trained.
Cat Toys and Scratching Posts: Kittens tend to have an abundance of energy and they need interesting toys to occupy their time. Toys also make sure they don’t get used to biting or scratching you. Also, get a scratching post to make sure they don’t scratch you or your furniture.
Additionally, you could also consider getting your kitten a collar, a tag, or clothes. But I’d suggest buying those late.
Cat Proofing Your Home
I strongly suggest you pick a weekend before your kitty gets home and spend a couple of hours imagining you are an inquisitive, mischievous kitten! Sprawl on the floor and think like a cat.
Would you like to climb up that curtain? Do you feel like chewing on the houseplants? What about that comfy little ottoman, would it be a nice scratching post? Do you get it now? Go get your supplies and cat proof your house asap!
Chances are you have already thought a lot about being a cat parent. But you might still feel overwhelmed after getting a kitten in your home. Only knowing how to raise a kitten might not be enough.
Let me tell you the harsh truth: kittens are delicate and might get sick. Despite your best efforts, they might get into an accident. Even after trying your best, they might die. Are you prepared for that? If you decide to raise a kitten anyway, get ready to prioritize your kitten’s health the way you would prioritize your own, human child’s health.
Division of Work
It is quite a daunting task to take care of a kitten single handedly. When you have dependable family members, recruit them for help. Even if you are the primary caregiver, they can still help with feeding, playing, scooping litter etc. However, make sure you talk this out in advance and do not dump the work on them unexpectedly.
Bringing a Kitten Home: After
You have brought your kitten home. Now what? In your excitement, do not forget how to handle kittens. They are fragile beings, and tend to be scared and jittery in a new environment. Don’t expect licks and cuddles the moment you get home. Instead, let them stay in a small, quiet room, maybe a clean and dry bathroom.
Set it up with a bed, food and water, and litter box. Let the kitten acclimate. After your kitten is more comfortable, introduce yourself and slowly introduce it to the rest of the household. Be careful and do not rush to make it mingle with the rest of the pets, if you have any. This could cause accidents.
Things to Consider
Feeding: Depending on the age, your kitten might need a number of feedings starting from 3-4 times a day to even 12 times a day! Make sure your kitten has timely and sufficient food and water. To be safe, stick to especially formulated kitten food till your fur baby is a year old.
Litter Training: Unless you have a kitty who already knows how to use the box, you’ll have to take care of the litter training. Deposit the kitten in the box 15 minutes after each feeding. If it poops or pees somewhere else, scoop it into the litter box to give the kitten an idea of where it goes. Keep it away from their food bowl, drinking bowl and bed. Also, always have an extra litter box tucked somewhere.
Visit the Vet: Do not dally this visit. Get your kitten checked within a week of bringing it home and see if it needs any medication or shots. This is also a good time to ask your vet about any more information on how to raise a kitten.
Play and Socialize: Slowly, but surely, let your kitten get used to playing with the others in the house- humans and pets alike. It is also time to squeeze in any training that you think your kitten will need. Just remember, do not use your hands or feet to play, this will encourage scratching and biting. Always use an appropriate toy.
Tips for Raising a Kitten
As I have already confessed earlier, I’ve been a crazy cat lady for years and if I start giving you kitten care tips, I’ll be here all day. So, here are only the very necessary tips in this regard. Let’s go!
Maybe you’re a plant parent as well as a cat parent, that’s great! However, definitely make sure your cat baby can’t access your plant babies. The pots may end up upturned, broken and the little mishap can hurt your kitty too. Additionally, chewing on plants may prove to be fatal to your kitten. Learn about which houseplants are toxic beforehand to avoid any distressing accidents.
The image of a kitten playing with yarn immediately makes you go “Aww!” doesn’t it? However, yarn is actually very bad for a kitten. In fact, it might cause issues such as strangulation or even internal damage if it is swallowed. Keep your knitting essentials away from those tiny paws.
Honestly, I have lost count of how many wired headphones I had to buy before switching to Bluetooth ones. Why? Because my cats happily chew through the cords and leave them in itty bitty pieces! Similarly, they might also chew through other cords around the house and even get shocked accidentally. To reduce this risk, invest in cord management.
To properly understand how to raise a kitten, you need a clear idea on the seemingly harmless things that could pose a risk for them. Think cleaning chemicals. You already know why keeping them away from your tiny little kitten is necessary. Make sure these chemicals are tightly packed away in the storage closet, where they belong.
Keep your toilet lid closed, as an inquisitive kitten might fall into it and become unable to climb back up when scared and wet. I can’t even begin to tell you how many nightmares I had of a kitten drowning in the toilet bowl. I always get up and check the toilet often on bad nights like those.
Like a toilet, your kitty will be curious about any narrow, dark spaces too. If there are spaces between furniture and the wall, you can bet the kitty will try to squeeze through, which might cause it to get stuck. Make these places cat-proof and keep an eye out all the time.
While cat proofing your house, you probably slapped some sort of mesh screen over the windows and called it a day. You need to make sure these mesh screens hold up against scratching. Check on them regularly for any holes or tears. Your kitten can and will escape through the tiniest of openings and get into trouble outdoors.
To really understand how to raise a kitten, you need to know what not to feed it. Keep these foods away from your kitten at all times. Some of the things in this list might surprise you, but let me assure you that these are definitely very bad for a kitten. Also, the result of feeding this to your cat may even prove to be fatal.
- Chocolate and anything else that contains caffeine
- Milk and dairy products
- Onions, garlics and chives
- Grapes and raisins
- Table scraps like fats and bones
- Human drugs
- Too much tuna
In case your kitten accidentally ingests any of these, or any chemicals, do not tarry. Take it to a vet immediately. In case of emergencies, always keep track of a vet place nearby that’s open at all hours.
Also Read: Best Dog Bowls – Make Your Job Easier
Special Care for Newborns
Maybe you consider yourself a seasoned cat parent because you’ve been taking care of one or more cats for a while. You know how to grow a cat by now, thank you very much. Let me tell you, raising a newborn kitten is a truly emotional ordeal. It’s nothing like raising an adult cat or even a cat that’s a couple months old.
“How to raise a newborn kitten?” is a loaded question. You need to be absolutely adamant to see this through, otherwise you might as well give up now and let someone else take them. I’m guessing these newborns do not have a mother, otherwise she’ll be taking care of them. Since they are orphaned, you are now the mother, and need to act like one. This are the things you need to do:
Newborns need feeding every couple of hours, so you either need to say goodbye to sleep for a few weeks or ask your family or roommate’s help while you sleep. Seriously, you can not skip on a single feeding. If you have to go to work, hire a cat-sitter to continue this feeding routine.
Unlike human infants, newborn kittens cannot excrete on their own. Their mother has to lick them, mostly their abdomen and their behinds to encourage excretion. You need to imitate that by using a warm washcloth to massage these areas.
Do this until they can take care of their own bowel movements. Sounds disgusting? If you want to know how to raise a kitten that young, this knowledge is necessary.
Keeping Them Warm
A newborn away from its mother will get cold and soon get sick. Build them a nest of towels or blankets in a box or a bed with raised sides to keep the heat (and squirming kittens) in. Use a heating pad (on the lowermost setting) to imitate this warmth in the nest. You can also use a bottle of hot water in a pinch, but be careful of leaks and change it regularly.
Also, make sure there’s a part of the nest that’s slightly cooler so the kitten can move about as it wishes. My last advice regarding newborn kitten care is, when in doubt, always contact a vet. They are just so fragile and their health condition could turn bad so easily! So it’s definitely the best idea to maintain contact with someone who knows what to do.
Hopefully, you now possess a clear idea on “what to know about raising kittens”. You got an idea about what to do before and after bringing a kitten home. I have armed you with some handy tips as well, and tried to give you an idea about the intense workload of raising newborn kittens.
Remember one thing: kittens need love! If you do all the things I have mentioned already and do those with love in your heart, your kittens will grow up to be healthy, gorgeous felines! Got more questions on how to raise a kitten? Feel free to come ask me in the comments!