Caring for Kittens Step by Step

Caring for kittens involves some amount of preparation as well as some knowledge about what kittens need to be healthy and happy. Before you bring your kitten home, you'll need the right supplies. You'll also need to know what to do to ensure your kitten's health and growth into a happy adult cat. Here's how you can care for your kitten, step by step.

1) Equip Yourself Properly

Your kitten will need some items so he can live happily in your care. Make sure you've acquired the following objects before you bring your kitten home:

  • Food and water dishes, and kitten food. Food and water dishes should be heavy and sturdy so your kitten can't flip them over.
  • A litter tray and cat litter, so your kitten can go to the toilet. Just make sure the box isn't too big for your kitten to get in and out of easily.
  • A cat bed, one that allows your kitten room to grow.
  • Your kitten will also need a sturdy scratching post. Train him on it by redirecting his efforts to the post each time you catch him sharpening his claws elsewhere.
  • A comb and brush can come in handy even for shorthaired breeds; regular grooming prevents hairballs and is an absolute necessity for longhaired kittens.
  • Toys will stimulate your kitten mentally and physically and keep him active. Kittens are naturally quite playful, so if you don't provide toys, he might commandeer some. You can purchase toys, or make your own from bits of string and wads of paper.
  • A veterinarian should be lined up before you bring your kitten home, so you can begin his routine medical care right away; it'll also save stress, should your new kitten suddenly become ill.

2) Litter Train Your Kitten

Your kitten may have already been trained by the breeder; if not, it's a simple matter of placing him in the box once when he first arrives in your home, and again thereafter each time he has an accident. Most kittens catch on to litter training pretty quickly.

3) Feed Your Kitten Adequately

It's important to buy food meant for kittens, because they're nutritional needs are different from those of adult cats. Water should be changed daily and your kitten will need a steady supply of food; don't be surprised if he eats a lot, after all, he has a lot of growing to do.

4) Vaccinations Should Begin Right Away

If you buy your kitten from a breeder, he should already be vaccinated; make sure you procure a record of his vaccination history. If you're not sure whether or not your new kitten has been vaccinated, have him vaccinated anyway. Your kitten will need vaccinations at six, nine, and twelve weeks of age; then again at six months; then again annually.

5) Exercise Your Kitten

Your kitten will need lots of exercise. This will keep him physically healthy and stimulate his mind. Outdoor cats will get plenty of exercise hunting and exploring their surroundings. Indoor cats will need to interact with you more; play lots of games with your new kitten.