Who can resist a cute little kitten? We certainly can't. Felines
are now the most popular companion animal, even surpassing the dog.
Although felines are thought of as needing less care than dogs, kittens
still take quite a bit of work!
Depending on the age of your kitten she may need to be socialized,
bottle-fed, taught to use a scratching post or even taught to use
a litterbox. And kittens, just like babies, are more susceptible to
disease and health problems.
Whether you rescue kittens, or simply have adopted a pet kitty,
we hope you will use this site to learn about your furry friend
and how to best care for him or her. And if you are rescuing kittens
or have recently found a littler of abandoned kittens we hope you
will use this site to learn what you need to know to best care for
Kitten care - Feeding your kitten
You can offer your kitten either dry food, canned food, or both. Be
sure to choose food which is designed for kittens. They require a
diet which is especially rich in protein, calcium, and other nutrients.
Cat food that is for adults is not sufficient. Your young cat will
need the enhanced kitten food until he or she is a year old. Young
kittens need to eat every few hours, because their tummies are so
small. I like to feed them canned food several times a day but also
have a bowl of dry food available for them to munch on whenever they
Kitten care - Spaying and neutering.
Most of us are well aware of the need to prevent unwanted litters.
The unwanted cat population, in some areas, is such that large tribes
of feral cats roam the streets. Millions of cats are being put to
sleep each year in animal shelters because there are no families
to take them. Most of these animals are healthy and young.
But how does spaying and neutering fit in with basic kitten care?
Neutering males prevents urine spraying, and lessens their desire
to escape outside to look for a mate. Neutered males are far less
territorial and so there is far less chance of a fight with rival
tom, less chance of injuries becoming infected.
Spaying females helps to prevent mammary cancer, which is fatal
in most cases, and uterine infections, common in un-spayed females.
This is a very serious condition that must be treated with surgery
and thorough veterinary care.
Kittens should be neutered by the age of six months. Surgery is
painless, performed under general anesthetic, and is relatively
safe. You kitten will be up and about in a day or so of its operation.
Kitten care - kitten and other pets
If you already have a cat, keep the animals in separate areas of the
home for the first few days. Allow them to get to know the scents
and sounds of the other cat. When you introduce them, stay with the
cats, and give them time to become accustomed to each other. An older
cat is less likely to feel threatened by a kitten than by a grown
cat, but the cats still need to adjust to each other.
Kitten care - Finding stray kittens
Finding feral, "stray", kittens can be exciting, but there
are many things that you will need to know about trapping and caring
for your found kittens. When you first sight kittens in your backyard,
step back for a moment and make sure Mom is not still around and just
hiding from you. If you see the Mom cat nearby, DO NOT DISTURB THE
KITTENS and let Mom take care of them herself. It is especially crucial
for newborn kittens to receive the nutrion fromMom's milk during the
first couple of days of their lives. Many kittens will not survive
if separated from Mom during the first week of their life. Put some
food and water out for Mom, so she can devote herself to her babies.
Kitten care - Cleaning and Care
Kittens can get themselves pretty dirty during a feeding, and even
if they don't, it's a good idea to groom them after each meal. This
simulates what the mother would normally do, and helps them learn
what grooming is all about! To do this, take a slightly dampened wash
cloth and, using short small strokes, go over the kitten's entire
body. You can also give him or her baths in the sink. You can use
a washcloth, warm water, and baby shampoo. Make sure to never submerge
the kittens or get their heads completely wet, because kittens can
choke, get water in their ears or drown very easily so never leave
a kitten alone in a bath even for a few seconds. As you can imagine,
kittens need to stay very clean to stay healthy. Urine can burn their
skin, and caked feces can lead to infection, so make sure to clean
them a few times a day. After you bathe them, make sure you thoroughly
dry off the kitten. You can either do this with a towel or with a
blow dryer. If you do use a dryer, take great care--never blow air
into their faces, and make sure to not burn the kittens. Kittens can
catch chills very easily also, and the last thing you want to do is
to have kitty get a little cold! And always remember to wash your
hands with antibacterial soap before and after handling each kitten.
Cleanliness is a must around newborns, as even the slightest bit of
bacteria can cause a kitten great grief.
Most people find that foster caring for
abandoned kittens is one of the most rewarding experiences out there,
so if you are caring for kittens, congratulations and good luck! Remember
that feral cats, especially feral kittens that you bring up yourself,
can make some of the most patient, loving and loyal housecats!