How do you look after a kitten?

Daily kitten care includes feeding, appropriate hygiene,  sufficient grooming and maintaining a suitable environment. Vaccinations will need to be considered early on as will neutering and worming. Socialisation and little box training will need to be considered too. Of course, finding a vet and organising pet insurance are also important to your pet's health and welfare. A kitten will thrive in a spacious, hazard-free environment, rich with resting areas, hiding places as well as places to climb.

If you're looking to buy a kitten you'll understand that bringing a kitten home is exciting and a bit daunting. Our guide to kitten care will help you give your kitten the best start in life, and avoid any potential problems later on. 

Up to eight weeks - before you bring your kitten home

Wherever your kitten came from they should have done a few things before you bring your kitten home including:

  • first kitten vaccinations
  • started socialisation, positively introducing to new situations and people
  • started litter box training

Prepare your home by:

  • providing lots of space for your kitten to play as well as a resting place and hiding places
  • purchasing toys, scratching post, cat litter tray, places to climb
  • placing the litter tray somewhere quiet and accessible
  • taking a blanket from the kitten's first home for familiarity and comfort
  • ensuring there are no hazards
  • finding a vet
  • getting pet insurance.

Eight to 12 weeks - Bringing your kitten home

This is an important time for your kitten, what they learn and experience now will shape future behaviour.

Continue socialisation by exposing your kitten positively to experiences like:

  • other healthy fully vaccinated cats and dogs
    Tabby kitten sits in purple litter box © RSPCA photolibrary
  • other people and children
  • gradually introducing 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 keep the same routine with small, regular meals
  • contact a professional if you have any concerns.

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.

  • 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 like having them come to you when you call.
  • Remember, 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 experiences positive.
  • Speak to your vet if you have concerns about your kitten's behaviour.
  • Ask your vet about their 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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