For many people, getting a new kitten is one of the best things in the world. They are cute, cuddly, and a great new addition to the family. But while it can be exciting to bring home a new kitten, the entire process can be daunting – especially for a first-time pet owner. That said, it is always a good idea to go over the basics when you’re starting with a new kitten, whether you are a newbie or a veteran cat parent.

Owning a kitten is quite a great responsibility. After all, the responsibility for its training, socialization, and healthcare will primarily fall on you. If you can get this right, then your new bundle of fluff will grow to be a healthy and well-behaved adult.

This means that starting off on the right foot – or paw, in this case! – is vital. The kind of food and care you decide to provide will make all the difference in your growing kitten’s health and well-being. Here are 5 proven tips for you and your new furry companion:

Taking Care of Your Kitten

1. Find the Right Vet

Going in, you should know that kittens are incredibly susceptible to a wide range of diseases. That’s why it is so important to find the right vet for your pet as soon as possible. If you don’t already have one, it is always best to ask friends, family, or your kitten’s shelter or breeder for a referral. That way, you can be able to gauge more effectively which veterinarian to pick for your little bundle.

Once you bring your new kitten home, schedule the first visit with the vet immediately. This visit is crucial as it is there that the vet will check for common health issues, parasites, and even birth defects. It is also the perfect time for you to ask any questions you have related to the general care of your kitten.

Take note that, to keep your cat healthy and disease-free, you should think about getting the full range of vaccinations. This is usually done when the kitten is about eight weeks old. Springing for all these vaccinations may be expensive, but it is the only way to ensure that your lovable fur-ball is safe from dangerous feline diseases. You can also get your cat spayed or neutered at this time.

2. Buy Quality Food

Feeding a kitten isn’t as easy as simply putting out a saucer of milk or grabbing a bag of kibble. Remember, cats are carnivores. This means that they thrive best on a diet that is rich from proteins derived from meat.

Plus, your growing kitten needs much more nutrients and calories than the typical adult cat. Feeding little fuzzy an inadequate diet will only leave them weak, unhealthy, and lacking in energy. Your safest bet is to educate yourself adequately on how to pick the healthiest food for your kitten, and focus on buying high-quality foods that are specially formulated for cats.

3. Follow a Feeding Schedule

When your kitten eats is just as important as what you feed him or her. Ask your vet for the appropriate portion size, as well as how often you should feed them per day.

The general rule of thumb is that, between three and six months, kittens should be fed thrice a day. Once your pet reaches six months, you can scale this down to two feedings a day. It’s also important to ensure that kitty has enough fresh water. Despite popular misconception, milk can be harmful to your pet. Cats lack the enzymes to digest it properly, and you could end up giving your kitten a bad case of diarrhea.

4. Get the Right Gear

The first important step here is to set up a safe and comfortable space for your new kitten before bringing them home. This is especially important if you have young kids – who need to be monitored whenever they are interacting with the kitten – or other pets that may be curious about their new sibling. Put the kitten’s food and water dishes, litter box, and bedding in her new space.

You will also need the right tools in order to provide proper care and adequate stimulation for your kitten. What this will include varies from one feline to another, as they range from being laid back to very needy. That said, there are certain must-have items that will keep any cat happy. These include a scratching post, cat brush, cat toothpaste and toothbrush, kitten-safe toys, and a comfortable carrier for those long trips to the vet.

5. Give them Lots of Love

Just like children, kittens need lots of affection and attention to be happy and have a great personality. Also, cats can generally sense fear and anger. Consistent exposure to these negative emotions can make your cat act out, which usually manifests as bad behavior. Focus on keeping your home peaceful, and keep showering your new furry friend with plenty of love.

A veterinarian, Clemmie Roob earned her PhD in Biomedical Sciences. In addition to practicing veterinary medicine, she also develops web content professional, focusing in her writing on veterinary medicine, biomedical sciences and research, alternative and complementary medicine, and comparative medicine.

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