I just bought a kitten! Now, how do I take care of it?
Taking Care of Your Kitten
So, you've decided to adopt a kitten. That's Great! Your at your local Humane Society and you're walking down the many isles of cages checking out every cat and kitten. Your heart melts at each one you pass, wishing you could take them all. Then you hear a small meow and turn to see the most adorable kitten you have ever laid eyes on. Your smile widens at the sight of her. The kittens' large eyes tells you to pick her and your heart tells you this is the one. You fill out all the necessary paper work and finally your in you car taking home your new furry friend. Once you get home you realize, that you don't know how to take care of a kitten.
One of the best ways to get information on how to take care of your kitten is through your veterinarian. But, before you bring you new little friend home you will need to do a little kitten proofing, just like you would do for your toddler.
The first thing you should do, and this may sound funny, is get down on all fours and look around. Be at a level that the kitten will be, pretend you are a kitten and look at everything. Crawl around your home looking for things that a kitten may find interesting. Cords of every kind are very interesting to a kitten, whether it be the cord to your blinds, electrical cords, anything dangling from the walls, string, yarn, your purse hanging from a hook on your door or wall. All of these are play things for a kitten, and these things can also harm your kitten.
If you can, hide the cords away from curious eyes, or if possible, tie them together and hang them out of reach behind an object that can not be easily moved. Yarn and string are also very dangerous for kittens, they can get themselves tangled up and choke or wrapped around a paw or their tail and have the circulation cut off. Find toys that are meant for kittens, not cats. You can find many at your local pet store or ask your vet.
Remember, kittens have sharp little nails and they can get hooked on anything and everything. But, their nails are also weak and can be torn from their paws very easily. Try to keep their nails trimmed and neat. Check with your local pet store for special kitten trimmers or if you feel comfortable, you can also use your nail trimmers and file. Just remember not to cut the "quick", which is the vein that runs through the nails. You need to cut just before the vein. It's easier to see the blood vein with light colored nails than dark colored. If you don't feel comfortable trimming your kittens nails, they do have grooming places that can do it for you for a small fee.
When feeding your kitten, make sure you are feeding them kitten food. Just like human babies, you don't want them to eat something that they can not swallow or digest. Do your research and find the best for her and your money. Try not to change the brand of food all the time, this will upset your kitten's stomach and you may find unwanted messes throughout the house. If you have to change the brand of food, slowly mix it with her food that you are already giving her. This will help with the transition.
People also have the misconception of giving their cats and kittens milk. Most cats and kittens are lactose intolerant. Cats and kittens do love milk, but if you do give them milk make sure it is safe for your cat or kitten. Too much and you will definitely be cleaning up messy messes. When it comes to treats, give them sparingly. Cats and kittens are very demanding and they will beg for treats until you finally give in. Start a regiment in the beginning and only give treats and soft cat or kitten food once a week. Treats and soft cat food will put on the pounds to your little friend quickly. Too much soft cat food will soften their teeth and they will fall out prematurely. Again, it's best to talk with your vet.
Shop your local pet store for a scratching post and a bed. Scratching post come in all shapes and sizes. Some have hammocks and rope for play and sleep. Some are your basic post. If you don't want to spend the money to buy one, you can easily make one. Old carpet and a 2 x 4 and a small square of ply wood and you've got yourself a scratching post. Add your own rope or even a hammock and some toys attached and WAH-LAH, a purrrfect play ground for your kitten.
So, there you have it, a quick guide to taking care of your kitten. To learn more, shop your local book store, pet store, or even the library for books on how to take care of your kitten or cat. Do your research and talk with a veterinarian for quick reference.