Bringing a new kitten home is an exciting time! Cats provide unique companionship but being a cat parent can be good for your health too. Research shows that they can help lower stress and anxiety, improve cardiovascular health and lower the risk of heart disease or strokes.
Improvements in nutrition and lifestyle mean that many modern cats are living well beyond 20 years old so to give them the best chance of a long and happy life, get yourself prepared to give them the best start possible. Here are my top tips on essential kitten care:
● Research! Find some good credible sources of cat and kitten advice, your vet is the first place to start.If you are reading this article you are off to a great start!
● Don’t bring them home too early. Kittens should remain with their mother until at least 8 weeks of age and being vaccinated, flea’d and wormed. A kittens’ core socialization period is between 2-7 weeks and they require a lot of this time with their mother and siblings, especially important if they are coming to a home that already has a family cat.
● Prepare your home! Before your kitten comes home you should provide a safe space for them that is hazard free. Make sure it is free from any electrical cables, blind cords, candles or oil burners, plants and any other potential dangers.
● Facilities ready! Absolute necessities include a comfy and secure area to sleep, litter tray, food and water bowls, scratch posts and kitten safe toys. The litter tray should be easily accessible and not too high so that your kitten can get in and out easily. Food and water should be provided in separate locations from each other and away from their toilet!
● Good nutrition! Always check what food type your breeder was feeding before so you can stock up before you bring them home. It is important to maintain the same diet and make a slow transition to something different, if preferred, once they are settled in. A life-stage diet is always preferable as a tailored kitten diet will ensure your new arrival is receiving all of the nutrients they need.
● Register with your local vet and consider getting your kitten insured. Accidents and ill health can happen at any age. Different policies have different features so read the small print!
● If you have other cats at home you may need to gradually introduce them over the course of a few weeks. Cats are fiercely territorial so make sure introductions are done in stepwise fashion ensuring each cat has its own safe area and resources.