Cats are hands down some of the best pets to have in your apartment. They’re easier to care for than dogs, and with proper tender loving care, they’ll bring you joy and affection throughout their lifetime.
So, if you’re planning to get a new kitten, you made the right choice. But you should know that raising kittens is far different from getting an adult cat.
While kittens are charming, playful, and just plain adorable, they require constant supervision and more effort to care for. On top of that, you have to make sure that they’re off to a good start in life.
That leads us to this question: what should you expect during the first weeks with your kitten?
Introduction to New Surroundings and Family
During the first day, your kitten may feel overwhelmed with its new territory. That’s why you have to create a safe space where it can rest and hide.
Giving it a quiet, enclosed area is especially useful when you have other pets or children in your apartment. And if you do have other pets, make sure that the kitten is safe. Keep your other pets on leashes while letting them get used to your new kitten’s scent from afar.
Then, allow your kitten to gradually explore every part of your apartment. While doing so, supervise it at all times to keep it out of trouble.
Litter Box Training
Did your kitten stay with its mother until it’s fully weaned? If so, it might already know how to use the litter box. Simply show your kitten where the litter box is, and it’ll know what to do.
Kittenhood is a crucial time for litter training. So, after your kitten does its business in the litter box, praise it or give it treats. Positive reinforcement can help your kitten get used to using its litter box.
You might also want to consider having more than one litter box in your apartment. That way, you can ensure that your kitten has easy access to its potty area.
If your kitten hasn’t been fully weaned yet, you have to feed it kitten formula through a bottle every couple of hours. It’s best to ask your vet about how to properly care for a kitten under eight weeks old.
If your kitten has already been weaned, you should ask whoever you got it from about what they had been feeding it. Then, continue giving your kitten that food three times daily.
When you decide to change its food, you need to slowly transition it to its new food to avoid digestive problems. Mix in a small amount of the new food with the old and gradually increase that amount for a week.
Vaccinations and Checkups
After getting your kitten, you should take it to the vet to get it checked out for parasites and other health problems.
During this time, the vet should administer its first round of core vaccinations and discuss with you the appropriate vaccination schedule. You might also want to bring up the best time to spay or neuter your kitten, as well as any concerns about feeding and caring for it.
Exercise and Playtime
One of the best ways to make your kitten comfortable in its new home is to play with it. Playtime doesn’t only improve your bond with your new pet–it also lets it get its exercise, which is a crucial factor in its development.
As furry balls of energy, kittens are naturally spirited and curious. That’s why you have to spend time playing with it every day. Let it interact or chase the toys you bought, whether it’s a bouncy spring or a wand with feathers.
Most of a kitten’s daily routine consists of sleeping–like 60% of the time. On average, kittens spend 16 to 20 hours snoozing.
So, if your kitten wants to sleep, let it be. It should have a comfortable place to nap during the day and sleep at night. And unless you want your kitten to wake you up every night, try ignoring it when it meows in the middle of the night. More often than not, kittens do this to seek attention.
While kittens are a bit more challenging to raise than adult cats, all of your efforts will be rewarded with years of affection. Raise yours properly, and it will surely grow into a happy, healthy member of your family.
Village at Camelback Park in Phoenix, AZ