How to Take Care of a Kitten Ultimate Guide

Adopting a kitten is a wonderful experience but we must remember that kittens are sensitive creatures which needs special care for proper development this is why the Amazing Life of Pets explains what you need to know to look after a kitten. 

Nobody’s better at taking care of a little kitten than their own mama, so make sure when you find a kitten you want to adopt that she’s orphan, and she’s going to have a special care.

If you just adopted a kitten or even thinking about it there’s a lot you need to know, in this The Amazing Life of Pets article, we show you everything you need to know about “How to Take Care for a Kitten” .

1. New Kitten Essentials: 

 A. Carrier:

The very first item to think about when you’re adopting a new kitten is a Carrier, of course you’re going to need this carrier to get your new kitten home. 

There are a lot of good carriers at the market, there are pretty much two types you can either get a soft sided carrier or a hard sided carrier both have their pos and cons, hard sided carriers are usually cheaper and they’re going to be easier to clean while soft sided carriers are generally better for people who are doing really serious travel, and they can also be more comfortable for kittens.

Overall we would recommend the sleepypod air as the overall best carrier you can buy but it’s pretty expensive and it’s not going to be appropriate for every kitten so if you’re looking for a little cheaper and easier to clean then the petmate two-door plastic carrier might be a good option.

B. Home Items:

The second thing you’re going to want to think about before you bring your new kitten is preparing the home for this new kitten’s arrival, it’s important to remember that the Kitten will feel scared and lonely when you first bring it home. 

Catifying your home will help your new kitten adjust to their environment and reduce stress, try to limit your kittens areas to a few rooms in the house and have all their essentials close by.

The first thing you would think about getting to prepare your home for your new kitten arrival is a tree, vertical territory can sometimes seem like a luxury, ultimately, especially if your kitten is entering a multi-cat home it’s an important part of making your space cat friendly when a kitten has the ability to climb up an look at  from above, they’re likely to feel a lot more confident in the home.

Not every kitten is going to need a tree some cats feel just fine going around on floor level, but for the most part of it is a good idea to provide some elevated territory, so weather you’re getting a tree or some kind of perch or even some shelves that you put on your walls this can be really beneficial for your new kitten. 

Secondary, you’re going to want to have some toys in your home, you’re going to want to give your your new kitten some opportunities for play of course kittens are going to be really energetic and they’re going to find things to play with weather or not you give them toys, but actually providing toys has some benefits, in fact using interactive toys can help to cement the bond between yourself and your new kitten, so we would recommend purchasing one or two interactive toys wand toys and the cat dancer are actually a good choice for this, and then for a non-interactive toys there’s the tower of tracks is a really popular choice especially among people with kittens. 

So once you provided some elevated territory and a few toys for your kitten to play with the only other things to think about are kitten proofing your home, you’re going to want to think about any items in the home that could prove to be dangerous for your kitten and either hide them or change the way that they’re set up, you’re just generally going to want to look around your home and make sure that it’s going to be safe and appropriate for your new kitten.

C. Feeding Essentials

You’re going to need to feed your kitten as soon as you bring it home, if your kitten is under 1 month of age you will need cat’s milk (or kitten formula) and bottles (or syringes) for feeding.

If your kitten is over 1 month of age or few older you’re going to be prepared with a good kitten food as well as the bowls (one for the food and one for the water) both of the bowls should be either stainless steel or ceramic as these are easier to clean and are less prone to bacterial build up than plastic bowls, but overall you don’t really need too fancy bowls, when it comes to giving your kitten water you might consider in investing in a fountain instead of ordinary bowl even if you’re changing your kitten’s water on a regular basis some cats will perceive that still as stagnant, so purchasing a water fountain can really encourages your kitten to drink more, so while we wouldn’t really consider a water fountain as essential for the Kitten it’s certainly worth considering.

D. Litter Box Basis:

You’re going to need a litter box, most kitties don’t really need a special litter box they can usually use the same litter boxes that adult cats can use if your kitten is particularly small you can choose one with a lowered front and higher sides, if your kitten is younger than three months of age you’re going to want to use a plant-based

non-dumping clay litter as clumping clay litter has the potential to bulk up in your kitten’s gut and potentially cause an obstruction, so we recommend a litter that is not going to swell quite that much. 


2. Health Check-up:

If you have adopted a kitten go see a vet at your earliest convenience, you need to check the kitten’s health through a basic check-up and look for parasites or skin disease and any other disease if it has skin disease like parasites or ringworms , you must quarantine it and get it vaccinated with proper instructions. Once you’ve got this done you’re on your way to raising your kitten.


3. Give Your Kitten a Bath:

Either you’ve brought your kitten from a shelter or the street you need to give it a a little bath to freshen it up and make sure any fleas are gone, you bring the kitten into the bathroom you go ahead and set up two separate buckets for the bath one has warm water which you add a couple of drops of natural shampoo or soap to and then the second one is just warm plain water,  the reason you need to do this prior is so you don’t have to have the faucets on which will scare the kitten so this is a bath method without ever having to turn the faucets on, when the kitten is in the bathtub make sure you have lots of clean towel nearby. 

So you’re going to hold your kitten very gently but making sure Its head is always above the water and you’re going to start by wetting its fur and pouring some of the lukewarm soapy water over your kitten,  getting it thoroughly wet and then you will rub a little bit with your fingers, then you might add a couple of extra drops of the shampoo directly to the fur and work it in but never let its head get below the water you don’t want any water going into the eyes or the nostrils, 

finally be sure you have thoroughly rinsed all the soap out of the kitten’s fur and once you’re all done with your bath and you need to get your kitten wrapped up in a clean dry towel and make sure to feed your kitten after.


4. Feeding your kitten:

kittens who are with a mama cat who’s producing milk will continue to nurse for as long as mama will let them we’ve seen cats well over a year old nursing off of a very compliant mother but most moms will start weaning the kittens at around two to three months as they get less milk the kittens will then learn to eat solid food, so if you are adopting a kitten who is younger than three months of age you’ll need to bottle feed it.

So, when you’re bottle feeding a kitten, obviously you want to do it in a safe and proper posture, there’s two different ways that you would like to do it, depending on the kitten’s preference. So, no matter what, you’re always going to start by grabbing your bottle with your dominant hand If you’re right-handed you grab the bottle with my right hand and then with your non-dominant hand, you’re going to pick up the kitten.

Now, for this first posture, what you’re going to do is you’re going to use your index finger and your thumb and you’re going to place that on the sides of the kitten’s head, gently grasping the sides of the kitten’s head without squeezing just help it get in position. Then with my middle finger, you’re going to actually lay that across her throat, and then the middle finger comes on to the throat.

If your kitten doesn’t really love that posture you need to try the second posture, which is using the space between your index finger and your thumb to do an over hand feed, you gonna take that space and put it over Its head, and then with your index finger you can feel that it”s swallowing. We recommend to give your kitten the option of either of those methods. Both of them are perfectly safe.

After that and as the kitten starts to grow up, you will need to start introducing it to some mushy cat a style canned kitten food be sure you serve the food in a very shallow plate bowls with steep sides might be too big for small kittens even the cap from a mason jar will work great you can show a kitten how to eat by gently guiding its nose into the food so that it tastes it then it will starts to eat on its own, if you think your kitten needs extra nutrients and calories you can also mix in some kitten formula or nutria gel to the canned food.

After the kitten have mastered eating the soft canned food you can sprinkle in a little dry food also we find that feeding kitten a little dry food can help prevent diarrhea and the dry kitten varieties are usually small enough for the kitten to crunch with its teeth.

We recommend feeding your kitten a high-quality kitten formula of both dry and canned foods since these will have the vitamins and the nutrients that are growing kitten needs, never ever feed anything with bones or feed them people food or anything like that this is a big no and it can be dangerous to your kitten to eat these things and always make sure the kitten have plenty of fresh water to drink just like you, it would like its water very clean be sure to check the water bowl every single day you also would like to weigh the kitten daily to make sure that it is gaining weight even a little bit of weight loss can quickly become deadly for the kitten.


5. Comfortable Enough Sleep:

Baby cats sleep an average of 20 hours per day, the room temperature should be around 25 degrees. Also, provide a soft blanket or cushion for a comfy bed.


6. Be Prepared for an Overnight Kitten Care:

One of the things people seem to fear the most about fostering a kitten is the idea that you have to wake up in the middle of the night to feed it.

The first thing is to understand the overnight care schedule for a kitten and how much it varies by age, kittens are an altricial species, meaning that they’re born in an undeveloped state and require lots of attentive care from a mom in order to survive and grow to an age of independence. 

For the first week of life kittens will be with their mom almost constantly, and the older they get the more independent they get. So why do young kittens need such frequent care? For one, they’re growing rapidly. 

A newborn kitten will double her weight in the first ten days of life. But its stomach capacity is very small and its organs are immature. That means that it can dehydrate rapidly, and it can become hypoglycemic rapidly if it’s not fed in frequent intervals.

So your very little kitten eats small amounts with high frequency, and the older it gets, it eats larger amounts with less frequency. Check out this feeding chart to see how the feeding schedule works.( Source: Instructional Videos Kitten Lady channel on YouTube  / How-to videos to teach you all about kitten care!)

 As you can see while it’s true that a three-day-old kitten will need to be fed every two hours, a three week old kitten only needs to be fed every four hours.

This means if you’re fostering a kitten who’s three to five weeks old, you’ll only have to wake up once in the middle of the night. 

A kitten older than five weeks old you might not even have to wake up at all.

Okay, so when you’re doing overnight care for a kitten, you’re gonna want to prep ahead of time. We recommend making your formula fresh right before bed and making enough of it to last you through your morning feeding, keeping your formula fresh is really important. You’ll often hear me griping about not over-preparing formula, you don’t want to make so much of it that it starts to go bad but as long as you’re storing it well and you’re only using it for a few feedings, that’s totally okay. 

You’ll also want to prep a feeding station, your feeding station should have supplies like your baby scale, tissues, and baby wipes. Don’t forget that your kitten should always be in a safe container like a bin or carrier with a soft blanket, and always provide a heat source. . 

So wherever you decide to do it, prep your area and make sure you have everything you’re gonna need so when you wake up, you’re good to go. One important tip is to schedule your last feeding of the night for right before you go to sleep, this is important because then you get the maximum amount of rest before you have to wake up again so if a normal night of rest for me is from 11:30 until 7:30 a.m,

then you will feed at 11:00, 2:00, 5:00 and then 8:00 that means you’re waking up twice in the middle of the night, at 2:00 and 5:00. 

We highly recommend setting all of your alarms before you go to sleep, not waiting and doing them one at a time because you don’t want to forget.


7. Help Your Kitten Pee and Poop:

When kittens have a mother, their mother uses her tongue to lick the area all around their genitals and on their little butts

to help them pee and poop. So you have to help your kitten do that. The way you’re going to do that is by gently rubbing them all around this area to stimulate elimination using a soft tissue,  don’t want use anything that’s too rough like a paper towel or a hand towel or anything that’s going to be too rough.We recommend you to use something that is nice and soft, you also might want to grab some organic baby wipes.


8. Give Your Kitten a Butt Bath:

Between three and four weeks old kittens start to discover the litter box, so sometimes in between their feedings, they will accidentally poop on themselves, and if they had a mom cat their mom would be meticulously cleaning them. So you have to do the same thing with baby wipes, but sometimes the poop is a little too strong and your kitten has to get a butt bath. 

You have to be really careful when you’re bathing your little kitten because it can’t regulate its own body temperature.So you have to do it quickly in a way that’s warm and that doesn’t stress your kitten out, you will want to make sure your kitten is gonna be warm when it gets out of its bath.

So the first thing you do is heat up a heat pad and stick it right under a soft baby blanket. That way the baby blanket can get nice and cozy and warm, so that when it gets out of its bath it has a warm spot to return to. Kittens can get cold really easily, so it’s important that you get the temperature right. 

Prepare a warm water then you plugge the sink and you get ready for your kitten bath, you need just to soak your kitten butt in the water. You never want to dunk more of the kitten than needs to be cleaned because this is a really stressful thing for them. 

So you just dunk the bottom half in there then let it soak for about 30 seconds. There’s a couple different products you can use for this you can use dish soap, which helps break down oils, or you can use an unscented baby shampoo. Kittens don’t like being wet so you want to try to get them dry as fast as possible, the first method for getting her dry is just vigorously rubbing her with a washcloth, another method you can do is to backcomb the kitten using a toothbrush this just helps aerate the fur and get it dry faster.

You never want to bathe a kitten who’s really sick, stress can have a major impact on illness and if the kitten is already not doing well you don’t want to stress them out too bad. So if you have a kitten who’s really sick already, we don’t recommend dunking them in water, we recommend instead just using your baby wipes or using a gentle wet washcloth to give them a sponge bath. 

Overall, we definitely don’t recommend doing this every day, try to limit it to once or twice a week since it can be pretty stressful for your kitten. Hopefully it’s not going to be having too many poop on itself, but if it is then giving it a little butt bath is a very helpful thing to do.


9. Comfort your Kitten:

When caring for a kitten, you want to give it the most comfortable experience possible, The first thing we recommend is a microwavable heating pad, like a Snuggle Safe you just pop it in the microwave for about five minutes, and it’ll stay warm for several hours this makes it really easy for you to transport the kittens with it. 

You’re not relying on a heating pad with a cord, so just make sure when you take it out that you feel it to make sure it’s warm, but not too hot. You can put it in the pad that it comes with, you can also use a blanket to cover it up. 

Young kittens can’t regulate their own body temperature, so it’s really important that you give them access to a heating pad at all times, It’s likely that the kittens will congregate around the heating pad, but you want to make sure that they also have the option to move away from it, so don’t let the heating pad cover the entire space so the heating pad is mandatory. 

There are other things that you can add to that to make them even more comfortable, you use a Snuggle Kitty (the Snuggle Kitty is a stuffed animal with a battery-operated heartbeat inside) all you need is just two batteries inside of the heart, and then you just turn it on whenever it’s in use It’s going to create a really nice comforting sound and vibration for your kitten. 

Another kitten essential is baby blankets, and we are not talking about blankets for cats that you buy at the pet store, we are talking about baby blankets for human babies, you can wrap the kitten in what we call a “purrito,” which is basically just a gentle wrap around the kitten with a baby blanket to give it a comforting feeling of being held,

The next one is recycled fur scraps, anyone who cares about animals is not gonna want to be wearing a fur coat, so if you have one, or if someone in your life has one that they’d like to retire,

this is a great way to make use of it, this will work well with your kitten because the fur reminds it of the comfort of Mom, make sure that it’s clean and free of any dyes that might be harmful to the kitten if it is to put it in its mouth. 

One last thing you might want to try if you’re trying to comfort kittens is a toothbrush, a toothbrush mimics a mother’s tongue licking it, so it’s another really comforting thing for your kitten if it  doesn’t have a mom. 

Keep in mind that the one thing kittens love more than anything is being with their mama, so if you’re dealing with an orphan kitten, the best thing you can do is be a surrogate that’s why we recommend giving your kitten warmth, something soft to nuzzle, and a little bit of grooming.


10. Kitten Vaccines:

If your fostering or adopting a kitten, it’s your job not to just care for them when they get sick but to give them preventive care, which stops them from getting sick in the first place.

 A vaccine helps give kittens immunity so it’s like helping them suit up with armor that’s going to protect them for months to com, There are two main vaccines that kittens will receive.

 The first is a series called the FVRCP vaccine, this is a combination vaccine that protects against some of the most deadly viruses out there Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus and Panleukopenia These are horrible viruses that are totally preventable through vaccination the FVRCP vaccine is a series which means that you don’t just get one they get a series of vaccines that help boost their immunity. 

The second vaccine that every kitten will get is the rabies vaccine Which protects against the rabies virus are other vaccines available but they’re not generally recommended unless the kitten is at specific risk for those diseases however the FVRCP vaccine and the rabies vaccine are considered core vaccines which means that every single kitten should be receiving these vaccines. 

So all of these are preventable diseases and we want to protect these kittens through vaccinations, make sure that your adult cats in your home are vaccinated too. The vaccination schedule is going to vary depending on the specific event or program, always follow the medical advice of the team that you’re working with. 

Different programs have different protocol because it all depends on the risk to the individual kitten. For instance a high volume animal shelter might start vaccinating as young as four weeks of age but a private practice vet might tell you to start vaccinating at eight weeks It really depends on the program. 

It’s important to know that maternal antibodies can impact the efficacy of a vaccine so depending on how much passes immunity the kittens obtained from their mother, vaccines might not be entirely effective until they’ve reached 12 to 16 weeks of age to ensure that there’s been no antibody interference adopters should continue booster shots until the kitten has reached 16 weeks after that it’s just an annual booster now let’s talk about the rabies vaccine. 

The rabies vaccine is generally given at 12 weeks of age so sometimes It’s done once the kittens already been adopted. The rabies vaccine is required by law in many states so make sure you know your local laws. After the first rabies vaccine, it’s boosted in one or three-year increments

even if you think a kitten is at very low risk of contracting rabies It’s still an important vaccine for them to get, you’ll need proof of rabies vaccination if the kitten ever becomes impounded, goes to a boarding facility or bites somebody It’s a really really good thing to have a record of, once you’re ready to get a kitten vaccinated it’s time for you to go to a local clinic. 

The good news is that if you’re fostering for a rescue or animal shelter, they will do all your vaccinations for you they let you know when it needs to be done and where to go and they’ll even pay for the cost of the preventative care so if you’re working with a local organization just be sure to ask them what the vaccine schedule is and where you need to take them If you’re raising a kitten on your own, you’ll want to go to a local vet many communities have a low-cost vaccine clinic that can do your vaccinations for super cheap so hop on Google type in “Low-cost vaccine clinic” and the name of the area that you live and find out what resources are available near you.

Now you know all about why vaccines are important, what vaccines they need and when, and where to go get your kitten, of course make sure that you’re keeping good records of its vaccines and you will go back in for its booster shots by taking good preventive care measures for your kitten. You’re your kitten for a lifetime of success, best of luck!

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