🐱 LIMITED TIME OFFER: Get a trial box for just £8.00, plus a reusable tote bag and free carbon-neutral shipping! 🐱

06.09.2022

New kitten joining the clowder? Get all the tips you need to raise a healthy feline

Bringing home a new kitten is exciting for any soon-to-be cat parent. There’s nothing that can light up the room like an adorable, playful little kitty.

Although cute and fun to be around, kittens are needy. They demand your love, support, and attention to grow into happy and healthy adult cats.

Getting all the tips and information about raising a kitten is crucial. You should understand each developmental stage to ensure your new feline friend remains on track.

Here’s everything you must know about new kitten care, behaviour, and nutrition to get off on the right foot and raise a perfectly jolly kitty.

A nutritious vegan meal, yum!

Source: IlonaBurschl

Before you bring your new feline friend home, you should know:

  1. When they can be separated from their mother
  2. How to prepare your home
  3. What to buy and have readily available
  4. When to take them to the vet
  5. What developmental changes they will go through
  6. What to feed them
  7. How to ensure good hygiene
  8. How to monitor their growth

Separating a kitten from their mother

Kittens must stay with their mum until they’re 8–10 weeks old. Separating them from the queen too early can cause social, health, and developmental issues.

The crucial stage in a kitten’s development occurs between the fifth and seventh week of their life. This is the time during which their mum teaches them to:

Preparing your home for your first kitten

Before you take your new kitten home, you must ensure that they can settle in comfortably, so you should:

  • Make a safe area for your kitty—Section off any areas you don’t want your feline friend to have access to, such as the kitchen. Kittens are curious and want to explore anything they see, so remove potentially dangerous items from their immediate surroundings, such as sharp objects, forbidden foods, or anything else that’s otherwise harmful to cats. Keep in mind that little kitties are sensitive to noise and overstimulating spaces (i.e., crowds, toys, and similar distracting things in a room)
  • Introduce your new friend to your home gradually—To avoid stressing your kitten, keep them in a closed-off, secure space for at least 7–10 days. You can then let them explore the whole room, and when they get familiar with it, you can slowly move on to the rest of your home
  • Provide the kitten with something they’re already familiar with—Your new friend will have an easier time adjusting to the new environment if they have a toy or a blanket they’re familiar with. Being in a completely foreign space might overwhelm them, so you should try to make the first few days as comfortable as possible
  • Create a hiding space for the kitten—Kittens are easily scared off, so providing them with a hiding space allows them to “regain their safety” and walk back out whenever they’re ready. You can place a cardboard box on top of a tall (not too tall, though—kittens can’t jump that high yet) piece of furniture or leave an empty plant pot in the room

Whatcha lookin’ at, hooman?!

Source: cbetito88

The essential equipment for your new kitten

You should get the following items before your new kitten arrives:

  • Food and water bowls
  • Cat bed
  • Litter tray (keep it away from the food and water bowls)
  • Scratching post
  • Toys
  • Cat carrier
  • Food

If it’s within your budget, you may also want to consider getting a cat tree. Your feline friend can climb and scratch it without causing any damage to your furniture or other belongings.

Must sharpen my claws before taking over the world…

Source: Daga_Roszkowska

Knowing when to take your new kitty to the vet

During the first 16 weeks of their life, your new kitten should visit the vet every three to four weeks. They will get vaccines and treatments against numerous diseases and infections and will be examined head to tail by the vet.

If anything about your kitty seems off to you in the meantime, reach out to your vet and get your young feline checked. Kittens are fragile in the first few weeks of their lives, so it’s best to play it safe until they’re more independent.

New kitten behaviour and developmental changes

By the time you introduce your kitten to their new home, they won’t be fully developed yet. You will notice some changes that are normal at this time. Check out the table below for details:

Physical changes

  • Baby teeth—They start growing at about six weeks, and all of them break through the gums in the next few weeks. Around week 12, these teeth start to fall out
    • Muscles and bones—They continue to develop until month four. Over time, you’ll notice that your kitten gets increasingly eager to run, jump, and climb
    • Immune, digestive, and reproductive systems—They also develop between months two and four. Most cat parents have their kitties neutered around this time

      Behavioural changes

      • Sleeping schedule—At about week 12, your new kitten won’t sleep as much as it used to. You’ll still find them napping half the day, but they’ll be a lot more interested in staying awake and exploring their surroundings
      • Social skills—Kittens acquire most social skills they’ll keep for the rest of their lives between months two and four. You should make sure to expose them to new people, smells, sounds, and animals gradually so as not to overwhelm them

      Health changes

      • Vaccination—Kittens should get their first FVRCP (feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, and panleukopenia) vaccine at eight weeks, which should be followed up by a booster shot around week 12
      • Heartworm and flea treatments—Not all treatments are safe for little kitties, so discuss this with your vet

      Knowing what to feed a new kitten

      Knowing what, how often, and how much to feed a new kitten is crucial for their health and overall development.

      Queens typically nurse their litters for 8–12 weeks, after which kittens start weaning.

      If your new kitten doesn’t have a mum and isn’t ready to wean yet, opt for a formula or kitten milk replacer (KMR).

      Feeding your kitten formula

      Choosing the right type of kitten formula for your new feline friend isn’t easy because there are plenty of options on the market. You can choose between powdered or canned products, but keep in mind that the latter causes diarrhoea in most kittens.

      You should pay close attention to the nutrients a KMR contains—for healthy growth, make sure it has:

      Nutrient

      Minimum amount

      Recommended amount

      Protein

      35%

      More than 50%

      Fat

      12%

      Up to 20%

      Calcium

      0.8%

      1.6%

      Do not give your kitten cow milk—it can cause terrible tummy upsets because it’s incompatible with their digestive system.

      Depending on your kitten’s developmental stage, you may need to feed them with a syringe and then switch to a bottle once they’re big enough.

      Here are some tips for feeding your kitty a KMR:

      1. Mix one part KMR with two parts water
      2. Warm up the mixture to body temperature
      3. Try to feed the kitten in the same position they’d be if they were nursing—never feed them on their back
      4. Allow the kitten to eat at their own pace. Don’t squeeze the bottle or force them to eat as this could be dangerous, i.e., cause them to choke or have the food enter their respiratory system

      You need two tablespoons of formula per 100g of your kitten’s body weight.

      Feeding your kitten solids

      Around week five, kittens start showing interest in solid food, which is the perfect time to start the weaning process. It can last between three and eight weeks, and during that time, you can use:

      1. Dry food combined with formula
      2. Wet food combined with formula
      3. Homemade kitten gruel

      Dry vs wet food

      Many new kitten parents are in a dry-or-wet-food dilemma, so here are the pros of both:

      Dry food

      Wet food

      • Is convenient to mix with other food and liquids
      • Is good for your kitty’s dental health
      • Has a longer shelf life
      • Is easier to store
      • Is the most affordable option
      • Has a soft texture
      • Is rich in nutrients
      • Keeps your kitty hydrated
      • Is simple to serve since it comes in pouches or cans

      Although it comes with several advantages, dry food isn’t as nutritious as wet food. Vets don’t recommend a dry-food-only diet because it lacks moisture and can cause dehydration in both kittens and adult cats. This can further lead to the formation of struvite crystals and cystitis.

      Dry cat food is usually packed with carbohydrates (sugars and grains), vegetable proteins, synthetic vitamins, minerals, and probiotic supplements.

      Wet food is the closest to a cat’s natural diet because it contains real animal fats and proteins, so it’s a far better choice for your new friend. Check out our guide on how often you should feed your cat wet food to better understand the optimal feline nutrition.

      The best wet food products contain high-quality protein from the following sources:

      Other protein sources, such as ham, beef, pork, and bacon, should be served only as occasional treats because they contain too much fat.

      Meat or plant… I must choose!

      Source: Mcability

      Picking the best food for your new kitten by deciphering the labels

      Cat food labels can be tricky to decipher, so here’s a short overview of what you should look for and avoid:

      Look for

      Avoid

      • Meat derivatives (sneaky way of saying that the food may contain feathers, hooves, and beaks, which have no nutritional value)
      • Vegetable proteins
      • Sugar

      Instead of spending hours researching kitten food, check out what Untamed has in store for you!

      Welcoming a new kitten into your home with Untamed

      With a new kitten on board, you must be extra careful when picking their food. Kittens are sensitive and require top-quality, nutritious meals to develop into happy and healthy adult felines.

      Untamed offers exactly that because our products are:

      • Packed with animal proteinOur meals contain at least 60% of lean meat and fish, which is double the industry average
      • Low in carbohydrates—None of our delicious, tailor-made meals contains fruit, grains, sugar, or vegetables
      • Vet-formulated—Our jelly and gravy options are free from any known allergens because we created them in collaboration with vets
      • Made with top-quality ingredients—We say no to meat derivatives! Our food consists of human-grade whole meat and fish only

      Dealing with a fussy kitten? Don’t stress—Untamed cat food is addictively delicious, so even if your furry friend refused other wet food before, they would go crazy for our delicacies.

      Take our TRY NOW quiz to create a healthy and yummy meal plan for your new kitty!

      The Untamed meal is sooo irresistibly delicious!

      Image (c) Untamed

      Settling a kitten into a new home is a piece of cake with nutritious and delicious food

      Putting your tiny kitten on an optimal diet from the get-go is easy with Untamed. Our grain-free dishes help kittens and cats at any life stage:

      • Avoid lifestyle-related diseases, such as diabetes
      • Stabilise their appetites
      • Gain healthy weight
      • Develop good eating habits

      Check out what our clients say about our products:

      Switching to Untamed

      What happened

      After one week

      • Hydrated skin
      • Fresh breath
      • Optimal digestion

      After two to three months

      After six months

      Wondering how to make your new kitten feel at home? Order an Untamed trial pack!

      Wherever there’s delicious, irresistible food, your kitten will feel at home. Here’s how you can order your new kitty’s favourite delicacies online:

      1. Take the TRY NOW quiz
      2. Select the products
      3. Place the order

      We offer free, one-day shipping to all our clients. You can modify or cancel your monthly cat food subscription at any time, completely fuss-free.

      We take pride in producing and supplying cat food ethically—we use sustainably farm-reared meat, dolphin-safe fish, and recyclable packaging.

      New kitten tips—hygiene edition

      No matter how old, all cats require regular grooming consisting of:

      • Wiping their fur—Most cats don’t like baths, especially kittens who are easily scared off by anything unfamiliar to them. To avoid panic and tantrums, take a wet cloth and wipe their fur to keep it glossy
      • Brushing—Kittens usually don’t have long hair, but you should still brush your new feline friend with a soft-bristled brush in the direction of hair growth. Do this once a week so they get used to the sensation early on and don’t freak out when a new object is introduced to them at a later point
      • Clipping their nails—To prevent your kitten’s claws from splitting and breaking, trim them at least once a month. You should cut only the sharp tip of the nail—don’t go any further than that
      • Cleaning their teeth—Before introducing your kitten to a scary-looking toothbrush, you should put some gauze on your finger and gently rub it against their teeth. Do this as frequently as possible to prevent plaque build-up
      • Checking their ears—You should ensure that your kitten’s ears are always clean and don’t emit any odour. If they are red, itchy, or smelly, you should contact the vet
      • Feeling for any bumps, lumps, or scratches—If you come across any of them or find a particularly tender spot, reach out to your vet. This also applies if you notice fleas or parasites on their skin

      When training and litter-training your feline companion, use positive reinforcement and tasty treats. Don’t hit or yell at your kitten because it’s cruel and counterproductive.

      Monitoring your new kitten’s growth

      Paying close attention to your kitty’s growth is crucial in the beginning stages of their development. Here’s the average kitten weight during the first few months:

      Week

      Approximate weight (in grams)

      Week one

      50–150

      Week two

      150–250

      Week three

      250–350

      Week four

      350–450

      Week five

      450–550

      Week six to nine

      550–850

      Your kitten may weigh slightly more or less than what the table proposes as normal, but the deviations should not be extreme. If you do have any concerns regarding their growth, contact your vet.

      Keep in mind that your kitten’s weight depends on several factors, including their:

      • Breed
      • Gender
      • Genetics
      • Diet

      Go through our kitten checklist to monitor their development and raise them into strong and beautiful adults!