How To Raise a Kitten
Kittens are very cute, cuddly balls of fluff, full of zest, energy and cuteness, this is true.
However, owning and raising a kitten is a huge responsibility. Done right then you will have a well balanced friendly loving cat.
It is important to ensure that you create and maintain an environment that is conducive to raising a healthy, happy kitten.
Before rushing out to your local cat rescue please first sit back and take some time to think about what owning a kitten is going to entail.
Read on as I go into some detail on the practicalities of owning a kitten and the steps you should be taking to increase your chances of raising a happy, well balanced cat.
Is A Kitten Right For Me?
I think it kind of goes without saying that kittens will take up a heck of a lot of your time.
In some respects, they are very much like babies and small children, in that you need to keep your eye on them to help keep them out of danger.
Inquisitive by nature, they will be constantly on the look out for adventure, trying to climb things such as curtains, trying to get into and behind things, such as fireplaces, ovens, fridges and any other house hold appliance you can think of.
Without constant supervision kittens can potentially get themselves into an awful lot of trouble.
Kittens will also need plenty of your time to play with them. Play time is important for a number of reasons:
- Keeps them entertained and out of trouble
- Helps form a bond between you and the kitten
- Helps with socialisation and the kitten getting used to being handled by and interacting with humans
Then there are the daily chores that need to be taken into consideration such as but not limited to:
- Keeping litter trays clean and maintained
- Keeping water bowls fresh by regularly changing water
- Washing litter trays and feeding bowls
So if you travel often and are away most weekends, if you have a busy hectic life style then it is may not be the best time for you to be getting a kitten.
Kittens need time, structure, routine and if you are not able to provide it then it could have negative consequences on the kitten as a youngster and also the adult cat as it matures.
How Much Does it Cost to Own a Cat
Another thing to be considered is cost. How expensive can a kitten be, you may ask. Well pretty darn expensive. Below is a very general list of items that will need to be purchased as a bare minimum:
- Feeding and water bowls
- Scratching post or activity centre
- Cost of neutering
- Routine healthcare such as annual check-ups and injections, flea treatments, worming treatments
- Pet insurance
- Catteries or cat sitters when you are away
Kitten socialisation period
Research suggests that kittens do inherit their boldness from their father.
Given that they spend the first few months of their lives with their mother, it is only natural that they will pick traits up from her.
Kittens do not however inherit traits of being sociable around humans or other household animals such as dogs.
This is something that kittens need to be introduced to and taught and is a period termed the socialisation period.
This period occurs when the kitten is between two to seven weeks old as this is the time when kittens are most receptive to forming bonds and getting used to and becoming aware of new things.
What they experience and are introduced to during this socialisation period is extremely important and will have a huge influence on how they will behave towards humans, other cats and household pets for the rest of their lives.
How to socialize a cat
Whilst the period of socialisation will have already passed by the time the kitten is ready to move to a new home it is important to know how kittens are socialised.
For a kitten to be socialised it is important for the kitten to form positive relationships with everything it is likely to come into contact with throughout its life.
This includes and is not limited to interaction with a wide variety and number of humans such as men, women, children, babies. And also animals such as other kittens, cats, rabbits, dogs and any other types of house hold pets.
Kittens that are not well socialised will struggle to form bonds and relationships later on in life.
There are other measures that can be taken to help with the socialisation process that will make potentially stressful situations much easier to deal with later on.
For example, taking kittens on car journeys will get them used to riding in the car. This will really help for those all-important vet visits, house moves and anything else that will involve kitty getting in the car. It will also make the journeys less stressful for everyone involved.
Exposing a kitten to the noises of every day household objects such as vacuums, washing machines, televisions and music will also help with socialisation and should ensure that you don’t have a cat that jumps at the slightest sound or movement.
Sandy clumping litter is the best type of litter to use as it is similar in consistency to what wild cats would use.
However, we have to recognise that not everyone will use this type of litter. It is therefore a good idea to expose kittens to all of the different types of litter available so they don’t turn into fuss pots as older cats.