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Adopting A Kitten

What you’ll need · Behavior Issues · Grooming · Related articles

Your new kitten will have needs that are slightly different from those of an adult cat, and the following will help you get started.  You can also visit Adopting A New Cat for in-depth information on:

  • What You’ll Need When You Adopt A New Kitten,
  • Kitten Proof Your Home,
  • Vaccinating A New Kitten,
  • Behavior Issues, and
  • Grooming A New Kitten.
Adopting a new kitten is a 10-15+ year committment to a new family member. Read more about this special relationship.

Feeding a New Kitten

  • Feed your kitten food in a variety of flavors, smells, textures.
  • A kitten 2-3 months old should eat 4 times a day.
  • A kitten 3-6 months old should eat 3 times a day.
  • A kitten 6-12 months old should eat twice a day.
  • Cats that don’t eat for 24 hours may be sick; cats that don’t eat for 48 hours are quite sick. Contact your veterinarian.
  • Use Fast Balance G.I. if your kitten develops diarrhea. See the veterinarian if the diarrhea doesn’t clear in 24 hours.
  • Provide a constant source of fresh, cool water. Many cats prefer running water.

Monthly Medications for your New Kitten

  • Use a heartworm medication as prescribed by your veterinarian. The American Heartworm Society (AHS) recommends that cats living in heartworm areas receive medication all year. The President of AHS said this prevents treatment failures caused when doses are skipped. Heartgard Chewables protect kittens against heartworm disease and against intestinal worms. Heartgard Chewables can be started at 6 weeks of age.
  • Use a flea prevention treatment monthly because it is easier to prevent fleas than to struggle with them once they are a problem. Frontline Plus protects your pet against adult fleas and prevents flea eggs from developing into biting adults. Frontline Plus, which can be started at 8 weeks of age, also protects your kitten from tapeworms carried by fleas.

Grooming a New Kitten

  • Start young and make grooming fun. Use short sessions and gentle tools that remove hair and decrease hairball formation.
  • Every day, brush the teeth. Don’t use human toothpaste. Use C.E.T. Toothpaste because kittens love the flavor, it’s okay if they swallow it, and it has enzymes that do an excellent job cleaning teeth.
  • Every week, check the ears. If there is a discharge, take your kitten to the veterinary clinic.
  • Bathe according to your kitten’s needs; use a gentle shampoo. 1-800-PetMeds Oatmeal & Aloe Shampoo cleans and protects a kitten’s skin. It is ideal for kittens because it does not contain strong perfumes to irritate them.

Training a New Kitten

  • The best training principles are: Ignore the bad, reinforce the good, and reward with treats.
  • Redirecting your kitten’s energy is key to developing a positive relationship. Rather than correcting with a “No,” tell your kitten what you want it to do.
  • Litter box training: provide fine-grained, clumping litter without perfume. Clean the box daily; wash, weekly. Keep the box 1.5 times the cat’s length.
  • Provide a scratching post at least 3 feet tall. Some cats prefer to scratch vertically, and others horizontally.
Photo of an newly adopted kitten  

Exercise for your New Kitten

  • Provide for your new kitten’s need to chew as the permanent teeth come in by offering chewable toys.
  • Play with your kitten for frequent, short periods.
  • Exercise stimulates the bowels and bladder, so let your kitty use the litter box after playing.

Sleep for your New Kitten

  • An 8-week old kitten may need 20 hours of sleep, and a 12-month old kitten may need 12-14 hours.
  • Provide an easily washed towel or bed cover, and a soft, supportive bed in a quiet location.
  • If your kitten is upset and cannot sleep, especially when boarded, use Comfort Zone Feliway to calm it.

For more information about adopting a kitten/cat, visit the ASPCA... the top ten list of things to do before you bring your new cat home are...

The articles here were answered by a variety of pharmacists and veterinarians
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  • Being prepared makes adopting safer for the new kitten and more enjoyable for you.

  • Recommended medications for adopting a kitten
  • Fast Balance G.I
  • Heartgard Chewables
  • C.E.T. Toothpaste
  • Comfort Zone Feliway
    This information is for educational purposes only and is intended to be a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise and professional judgment of your veterinarian. The information is NOT to be used for diagnosis or treatment of your pet. You should always consult your own veterinarian for specific advice concerning the treatment of your pet.

    The information about medications is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, allergic reactions, drug interactions or adverse effects, nor should it be construed to indicate that use of a particular drug is safe, appropriate or effective for your pet. It is not a substitute for a veterinary exam, and it does not replace the need for services provided by your veterinarian.

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