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Before Adopting a Cat: How to Welcome a Kitten

Josie F. Turner
By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: June 28, 2018
Before Adopting a Cat: How to Welcome a Kitten

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Many families prefer to adopt cats when they are still kittens. However, once they have it at home, doubts start to arise: Where will it sleep? What to do if the kitten cries? What are the best toys for kittens to play with? What should I call it? It's normal to have doubts.

We at AnimalWised want to give you some assistance so that you know how to welcome a kitten into your home. This way, the cat's arrival will be easier and safer for both of you.

Before adopting a cat, there are some aspects you have to consider, such as the kitten's age (does it suckle or is it recently weaned?), its origin, and your own family and lifestyle (will it live with other animals or children, or will it be the only pet?). Let's take an in-depth look!

You may also be interested in: How to Welcome Your New Cat Home
  1. Will your kitten be alone?
  2. What is the best diet for kittens?
  3. Caring for a kitten's health

Will your kitten be alone?

Before adopting a cat, you must consider whether you already have animals at home. Some experts maintain that it is healthy for kittens to have a companion to play with and so that they aren't left alone all day long, whereas others maintain it is difficult for some animals to live together if they haven't been properly socialized yet. The situation is slightly different if you have a dog: here you can discover out tips to make a dog and a cat get along.

If two kittensare raised together from the beginning their relationship will surely be a more successful one, as cats are very territorial animals and may feel like they are being invaded by the presence of a new companion. By welcoming not a kitten, but two, you will prevent the feline version of the "only child syndrome" that can be noticed in more pampered pets.

If you already have an adult cat at home and then bring another pet into the household, you might have problems at the beginning. You may see some reactions of fear, jealousy or rejection from the adult, as it feels you are "imposing" a new companion. You might see them fighting, hissing in fear or even going on hunger strikes, or they may hide away and not come out until they are ready to accept the challenge. They might also urinate in unwanted places.

These reactions are considered as normal for a few days, but you can consult a natural or homeopathic vet to help you with the transition; this usually leads to a better future for family harmony. This will avoid future problems on a physical, psychological and social level.

You should also pay lots of attention to the kitten's education to make sure they live happily together. As part of this training you should train it to use the litter box and teach it to use the scratching post among many other things.

Before Adopting a Cat: How to Welcome a Kitten - Will your kitten be alone?

What is the best diet for kittens?

From birth and until 30 days old, it is advisable for the kitten to be fed on its mother's milk, as this provides colostrum, a substance which gives it the immunity required to survive. Maternal milk also provides kittens with vitamins, proteins and minerals such as calcium, which are necessary for your little friend's good development. However, if you have orphaned kittens, you can feed them with artificial formula milk. Ask your vet for more details.

Between this point and 60 days of age, you can start feeding your kitten solid food. This will help it feed itself when the time comes to leave its mother. It is important that its diet doesn't change if it gets adopted by a new household: the kitten must first adapt to the new environment, and that'd be too much change at once. Dietary transitions take time for cats, as they have delicate stomachs.

At this point you can choose between industrial foods, which can be dry and/or wet, or homemade foods. When going to the vet for vaccines and early check-ups, make the most of your visit by asking for their advice. When you welcome a kitten into your home, don't forget to ensure it always has cool and clean water available and replenished every day. Of course, take into account the forbidden foods for cats.

Before Adopting a Cat: How to Welcome a Kitten - What is the best diet for kittens?

Caring for a kitten's health

It is very important to pay attention to your new kitten's health, as they are prone to contracting more diseases than adult cats and are affected by them much more intensely. As a general rule, kittens are given up for adoption once they are two or three months old. If your cat comes from a shelter, it should have been treated for parasites and have at least its first set of vaccinations. Before adopting a cat, ask whether this has been taken care of.

If that is not the case, it is important to go to a specialist to get it dewormed and treated for external parasites: remember that kittens can't be treated for parasites with the same products as adult cats. You must also start the vaccination schedule with vaccines against leukemia and trivalent flu vaccines. In some cases, when cats aren't able to breastfeed properly, their defenses aren't strong enough to cope with life away from the mother: vaccines are very important to make up for that.

Keep a close eye on the kitten, because changes in routine will affect its mood and can sometimes provoke physical changes. Besides covering their health requirements, when you welcome a kitten you need to offer necessary tools such as a bed, a litter box, a scratching post, and toys.

Toys aren't an extra treat, but crucial in their development and daily life. Offering different toys is the key to a cat's physical and mental stimulation. Choose toys of different sizes and shapes so that it finds them attractive. We also recommend looking for intelligence toys, such as the Kong. Of course, don't forget to play with your new cat, as it will enjoy it and it will help you form a good relationship. Here you can find our favorite toys for cats and some ideas and tips to play with it.

Before Adopting a Cat: How to Welcome a Kitten - Caring for a kitten's health

Now that you know what you need to take into account before adopting a cat and welcoming a kitten into your home, don't miss the following articles:

If you want to read similar articles to Before Adopting a Cat: How to Welcome a Kitten, we recommend you visit our What you need to know category.

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Before Adopting a Cat: How to Welcome a Kitten