Female vet giving cat medicine through mouth with girl in clinic

Preparing for a Kitten

Falling in love with a tiny ball of fluff is the easy part.  Once you decide to adopt that sweet-faced kitten, you also take on responsibility for its health and well-being.  Kittens can be a handful, so understanding how to care for them during those early weeks is a key in the foundation of loving your cat.  Here we review how to prepare for a kitten so you can enjoy their company from day one, through the many years to come.  

Wellness Check and Preventative Care

A trip to your Little Rock veterinarian is the best way to start your pet relationship because one of vet’s at Shackleford Road Veterinary Clinic can help identify any potential health concerns as well as do an initial wellness check.  It’s not uncommon for kittens to carry infectious diseases or have parasites like fleas, but these ailments are easily treated with a visit to your vet. Your veterinarian will:

  • Give your kitty their first examination and look for any signs of health problems.
  • Provide preventative care with your kitten’s first vaccinations
  • Provide an immunization schedule to keep your kitten protected for the course of their life
  • Set up an appointment to have your kitten neutered or spayed

The wellness check starts your kitten’s healthcare off on the right path and gives you the pet owner confidence and a game plan.

Let’s Talk Proper Diet and Feeding

There are hundreds of food choices on the market for kittens, and choosing the right one is important. While it can be tempting to choose based on price, kitten nutrition plays a major role in their health and life span. To ensure your kitten enjoys the very best food from the start, speak to one of our trained vets for cats in Little Rock for advice. They will recommend the a food that is a great fit based on your pet’s breed and type.  In our SRVC office, we carry a full line of pet foods and supplements and one of these may be the best fit!  

Kittens require three to four small meals a day and fresh water to help them thrive. Some cat companions choose a “free choice” feeding method allowing their cat to feed from the bowl as they feel hungry. However, this is not advised for kittens who might overeat and gain too much weight. Instead, choose common feeding times each day as part of their daily schedule.  

Indoor Cats

Many people choose a kitten over a puppy because of their independence. There is a general belief all you need to do is feed a cat and then let them roam the neighborhood.  Although cats are indeed very independent, they are really not equipped to roam outdoors alone, all the time.  A life indoors keeps your kitten safe from cars, dogs, other cats, and wildlife.  Indoor cats are happy, and typically healthier cats.

Kitty Litter

Choose a place in your home for your kitten’s toilet and introduce them to the area right away so they can learn how to utilize their litter box.  Be sure to take your kitten to the litter box often to help them get used to it.  Keep the area surrounding the litter box clean and clean the litter often.  It is not only healthier for your kitten but for the whole family.  The cleaner the kitty litter box, the more likely your kitten is to use it and avoid accidents.  

Activity and Play Time

Kittens have a lot of energy and love playing and interacting with you.  Purchased cat toys are great, but simples items such as a piece of string or ribbon, play wands or small balls they can chase, and cardboard boxes they can jump into and from are all wonderful toys!  Cats are incredibly social and fiesty!  Spending time with your kitten and sharing cuddles is a good way to teach them to socalization. Keep in mind cats also like alone time, so avoid “smothering” them with too much attention.  This is a helpful lesson to teach children in regards to cats and kittens.  Your kitten will give you clues giving you hints about when it is time for them to relax on their own.

Rest and Quiet

Providing a quiet place for your kitten to rest should be high on your priority list.  Cats can usually sniff out an area themselves but giving them a bed, or special area in your home dedicated to them is a great way to include them in the family environment.  They also love having a high vantage point to watch the world.  Kitty towers provide the ideal perch for them to climb, scratch and find some alone time.  

Scratching Posts

Kittens scratch and claw as part of their natural instinct.  To discourage them from clawing your furniture, provide them with their very own scratching post.  You can train them to scratch the post by brushing a wand toy across the post to attract their attention.  Also, for the first few days, you can cover key furniture points like arms and sofa backs with foil, as cats hate the feel of it and will avoid those areas.

To set up your first kitten wellness check, visit our website or call us at Shackleford Road Veterinary Clinic.  We look forward to meeting your new kitten or cat!

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