How do you look after a kitten?

If you're thinking about getting a kitten, you'll probably already understand that bringing a kitten home is exciting and a bit daunting at the same time! Our guide to kitten care will help you give your kitten the best start in life and avoid potential problems later on. 

Up to eight weeks - before you bring your kitten home

Wherever they came from, the person looking after your kitten and its mother should have done a few things before you bring them home, including:

  • Organising their first kitten vaccinations.
  • Started socialisation by positively introducing them to new situations and people.
  • Started litter box training.

You'll also need to prepare your home by:

  • Providing lots of space for your kitten to play, as well as resting and hiding places.
  • Buying cat essentials such as toys, a scratching post, litter tray and things to climb.
  • Placing the litter tray somewhere quiet and accessible.
  • Taking a blanket from the kitten's first home to give them something familiar and comfortable to snuggle in.
  • Cat-proofing your home to ensure there are no hazards.
  • Finding a vet - use our search to find your local vet.
  • Taking out pet insurance - find out more about RSPCA pet insurance.

Eight to 12 weeks - bringing your kitten home

This is an important time for your kitten because what they learn and experience now will shape future behaviour. Continue socialisation by giving your kitten positive experiences such as:

  • Introducing them to other people and pets - they can meet other healthy fully vaccinated cats and dogs, as well as other people and children.
  • Getting them used to being handled - gradually introduce them to their cat carrier, grooming, being picked up, handling and having their ears, eyes and other body parts checked.
  • Establish a consistent routine and rules like keeping them out of certain rooms. Reward good behaviour and ignore bad behaviour.
  • Feeding them the same kitten food as they had before and keeping the same routine with small, regular meals.

12 weeks onwards

Around now, your kitten will need their second vaccinations. You should also book them in to be neutered at four months, and ask your vet about worming. Also remember to:

  • Spend lots of time playing with your kitten every day - mental stimulation is also important, so play games like hiding their food.
  • Try some kitten training such as having them come to you when you call.
  • Let them rest - growing and learning is tiring, let your kitten rest regularly and keep training sessions short.

Six months onwards

  • Kittens are still learning, so keep all their experiences positive.
  • Speak to your vet if you have concerns about your kitten's behaviour, and also ask about your kitten's changing dietary needs.

By keeping experiences positive from day one, you'll help your kitten grow into a confident adult cat, making life more enjoyable for you both.

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