Sunday, January 24, 2021

Kitten Care

Food

Keep dry food out all day and night. I love Royal Canin Babycat Dry food because the tiny kibble is great for small mouths. Most shelters use Purina Kitten Chow so your new kitten may be used to eating that instead. Kittens are growing so they should free feed.  Once they’re adults you may have to change this if they are eating too much and getting chubby! I also feed wet food twice a day around 8am and 8pm.  There are a few different brands I use and it usually just depends what the kitten likes or what the shelter uses to make their transition to and from the shelter easier. I like to feed either Blue Buffalo or Whole Hearted because they are both high quality brands, but even the pickiest kittens usually like Royal Canin Mother and Babycat. Most shelters use Friskies, so your new kitten may be eating that.  If you are using a 5.5oz or 5.8oz can give a quarter of a can or if you’re using a 3oz can feed half a can. I buy the bigger cans when they’re available because it costs less per ounce.  I recommend continuing to feed wet food throughout their lives since the extra moisture is good for kitty’s kidney health. If you decide to change brands of food, gradually increase the amount of new food and decrease the amount of old food over a period of 4 or 5 days to avoid tummy trouble!

Litter

I use paper pellet litter, but but not everyone likes it since you can’t scoop it! I just pick up solids with a plastic bag like dog poo and then do a complete litter change about once a week.  Right after surgery it’s important to use paper litter since clay can get stuck in the incision. And if you switch to a different type of litter just be sure to use non-clumping!  A lot of kittens try to eat litter, so it’s important that you use the non-clumping kind to avoid a blockage. If kittens have access to your whole home you may need add more litter boxes so they don’t have to walk as far when they realize they need to potty.  As a general rule you should have at least 1 litter box per kitty.

Play & Enrichment

Kittens have a lot of energy so it’s important to give them lots of playtime.  With two they will be able to tire each other out, but to bond with them it’s good for you to play with them too with wand toys or by tossing their mice for them.  Always use toys for play and avoid playing with them with your hands – you don’t want them to think it’s ok to nibble on you!  If they do try to nibble on your body or pounce on your feet, you can distract them with a toy.  Kitty kickers & wand toys are great for this!  Kittens also love playing in/on boxes and they’re always fascinated with “track toys” like the turbo scratcher or tower of tracks.

Kitty Proofing

Kittens are curious.  They will jump, climb, and chew as they explore!  You may want to have a kitty proofed space to keep them in when you aren’t there to watch them.  You’ll want to watch out for things like wires, cords on blinds (any strings really), and plastic bags especially if they have food in them! If they start scratching furniture then you can just redirect them to a scratcher or cat tree.  You might also want to keep a couple scratching posts or cardboard scratchers around.  I like this scratching post. It’s great for kittens but they’d probably need a bigger one as they get older. Usually cat trees & other cat furniture have scratching posts built in. My fosters love this hammock and this cat tree. Cat trees, shelves, and access to window sills are also great because cats love climbing & it’s important for them to have a vertical space where they can watch the world safely from above.
I highly recommend getting in the habit of trimming their nails every week or 2.  Kitten nails can get really sharp, but keeping them trimmed helps a ton to avoid accidental scratches.  It’s easiest to do it when they’re sleepy, and if they’re extra squirmy you could try wrapping them up in a blanket.

Resources

Jackson Galaxy is an excellent resource for everything related to cat behavior. If you ever have an issue with your kitty I highly recommend consulting his website or his YouTube channel. Please check out his advice for bringing home a new kitten and for introducing a new cat to your resident pets.

The Kitten Lady (aka Hannah Shaw) is a great resource for everything related to kitten care. A lot of her info is geared toward very young kittens, but much of it applies to adoption age kittens too! There is lots of info on her website and on her YouTube channel.

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