How to raise a kitten
The rearing of kittens
A female cat is pregnant for about nine weeks. When a kitten is born, it's between 11 and 15 cm long and weighs between 70 and 135 grams. Kittens are born blind and deaf. They can not walk and is completely dependent on the mother to survive. During the first three to four weeks, the mother cat makes sure that they get food and keep them clean. When the kitten is between 5 and 10 days starts to open the eyes. At 2-3 weeks of age the eyes are fully open and the color is often gray-blue. When the kittens are four weeks, they can wash themselves, even if not doing so well at first. At 3-5 weeks of age they begin to eat themselves, and at 8-10 weeks they are fully weaned.
The key game
Like other predators kids kittens love to play. The game trains them to become adults. Kittens develop their social interaction through play. A kitten who did not play with others during their childhood can be unsocial, sometimes neurotic as adults.
Care and upbringing
At three weeks of age, you can gently begin to teach the kittens to use a litter box. If you let kittens be on a smaller area and put the litter box nearby, it is easier for the kittens to make it in time to the box. When the kittens are about three weeks old, it is high time to accustom them to be handled, cuddle with and comb. Hold both kittens and mother indoors until they are vaccinated at 9 weeks of age. Before a kitten is separated from its mother, it shall be atleast 12 weeks old. If you take the kitten from its mother too early, it can have social problems later in life.
Food for the kitten
There is special food for kittens to buy in most grocery stores. As a kitten has slightly different nutritional needs than adult cats, you should give your kitten a special food that is designed just for kittens. If you want to give your kitten something extra, you can give it some home cooking. But more than 25% of the diet should not be homemade, because the food is not completely adapted for the kitten, and therefore can give stomach problems.
When you get your cat home, it is important that it becomes vaccinated if it has not been that before. Even if it is vaccinated, you may want to get a vet to look at the kitten as soon as possible, to make sure you know that it is healthy. You can also get advice on de-worming by a vet. Your kitten will then need to be vaccinated again three weeks after the first vaccination. Then the cat should be vaccinated once a year.
Decreasing the kitten
When the kitten have started to eat solid food, at 3-4 weeks of age, it's time to de-worm for the first time. The cat should be de-wormed from two weeks of age until it was three months old and then once again before reaching adulthood.
Accustom your cat on a leash
On my other hub Inside cat versus outdoor cat, you can read about what you should consider if you choose to have cats as outdoor cats, and indoor cat. Another alternative to having an indoor cat is to get the cat used to go out on a leash.
For the cat to get used to walking with a leash, it is important to start early. It is very difficult to get an adult cat to get used to the leash. One should always have a harness to the cat, a necklace and a band around the body. The harness should be easy to put on and snap. The harness should not sit harder than that you get a finger between it and the neck of the cat.
Start by taking on the cat harness while playing with your cat. Let it sit for short periods at the beginning and then increase these over time. Once the cat seems untroubled by having the harness on, you can attach the leash and gently let the cat get used to the nightlife. Let the cat set the pace. Never pull on the leash, but follow the cat where it wants to go at first. One must always be attentive to your cat and ensure that it does not become frightened. Never leave your cat outdoors on a leash, without supervision. The cat can easily get tangled up somewhere and be frightened.