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October 11, 2016

7 Tips on How to Raise a Healthy Kitten

By: Critter-Sitters

Congratulations on adopting a new kitten into your family!  We’re sure you’ll make a fabulous mom or dad to your new pet.  However, raising a kitten can be challenging, especially if you don’t have any prior experience.  To help you get started, our Atlanta cat sitters have put together seven simple and easy pointers on raising a happy and healthy kitten that will be your best friend for life.   

7 Beginner Kitten Care Tips for New Pet Owners    

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A kitten is a fun and adorable new addition to your family.  But, just like raising a dog, there are many considerations you need to think about in order to give your new friend the best chance of growing into a healthy, happy adult cat.  As you start on the journey of raising your new kitten, always keep these seven basic cat care tips in mind.  

  1. Very young kittens have special needs.  Be aware that kittens who are less than eight weeks old need to be with their mothers and siblings.  Kittens who are this young can’t control their body temperature, so they need each other’s warmth to simply survive.  Additionally, kittens may also need to be fed from a bottle until they are about four weeks old.  Consult with your veterinarian about the frequency of feeding, which brings us to our next tip…  
  2. Make sure you have a quality vet.  No matter what sort of pet you’re taking into your family, you need to have professional medical support in case any problems or questions arise.  Make it a priority to find a reputable and trusted veterinarian if you are going to adopt a kitten (or any animal).  You should also find an emergency cat doctor you can call on 24 hours a day, just in case something goes wrong in the middle of the night.  
  3. Talk to your vet about what food is best.  Going off our last point, ask your vet for specific advice on what, and how often, to feed your new kitten.  Much like babies and human adults, kittens have different nutritional needs than adult cats, because their delicate skeletons, digestive systems, and other body systems are still developing.  Kittens should be weaned around eight weeks of age, at which point you’ll want to transition to food that is specially formulated just for kittens.  Your vet will give you advice about the merits and drawbacks of dry versus wet food.  
  4. Supervise your kitten as much as possible.  If you’ve ever taken care of small children, you already know how curious and active babies and toddlers can be – and what a danger they can unknowingly pose to themselves.  Kittens are the same way, constantly exploring their new world as their physical abilities develop.  Make sure you remove any hazards, such as plants that are toxic to cats.  You should never let your vulnerable new kitten outside unless he or she has already received the necessary vaccinations, and is securely tucked inside a locked carrier.  Without these precautions, kittens can get sick, instantly bolt into the road, or get themselves into other life-threatening situations.  
  5. Expose your kitten to positive experiences.  Everyone knows that dogs need to be socialized from a young age.  However, many people are surprised to learn that cats – many being somewhat secretive and independent creatures – have similar needs.  You want your kitten to grow up feeling confident that the world is a safe place, so it’s a good idea to gently and carefully expose him or her to people, music, grooming devices, and even different types of surfaces to walk on.  This can help prevent the development of phobias and anxieties later in life.  
  6. Make sure your kitten has mental stimulation.  Like all types of babies, kittens need physical activity and mental stimulation to stay happy and healthy.  Make sure your kitten has toys to play with, empty boxes to explore, towers to scratch or climb on, secure windows to look through, and, of course, a clean and sanitary litterbox.  Never force your kitten to exercise, but do make sure he or she has the space to play and move around at will.  
  7. Maintain a healthy weight for your kitten.  Treats are a great way to reward good behavior (such as using the litterbox), but don’t go overboard or your kitten could become overweight, which puts dangerous strain on the heart, joints, and other body parts.  On the other hand, being underweight can be just as dangerous as being obese!  Talk to your vet about the ideal weight for your kitten, and follow his or her dietary recommendations very carefully.  

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Good luck!  And always remember: if you ever notice anything that seems “off” or out of the ordinary, no matter how minor, you should call a veterinarian right away – don’t just ignore the problem or try to fix it by yourself.  Prompt professional intervention can prevent a small health issue from snowballing into a serious medical problem, and may even save your new kitty’s life.  

Need a Cat Sitter in Atlanta, Georgia? Book an Appointment Today 

We hope our kitten care tips have helped give you a clearer idea of how to raise your new furry friend.  And remember – if you ever need to go away for a business trip, a family vacation, or for any other reason, the experienced professional cat and kitten sitters of Critter Sitters will be there to help.  (We also have an experienced network of Atlanta dog sitters and Atlanta dog walkers, too!)  Simply call our offices at (404) 973-2541 to schedule a free consultation.  

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