Whether you just found an orphaned kitten, or you adopted a kitten, there are some things you need to know about how to care and raise them. An orphaned kitten, who has not been weaned, will need a lot more care then one that is eight weeks or older.
If you happen to find a kitten outside, the first thing you need to do is take it to the vet. Animals that live outdoors can carry diseases, and can make your other animals sick if they have an infection. If you can’t get to the vet right away, make a quarantine area for the kitten away from any other animals. Keeping the kitten in a warm dry area, a box or crate, with old blankets or towels, would work until you can be sure that it’s not sick. Make sure you wash your hands anytime you handle it. If the kitten is really small, a week or two old, you may have to feed it through a bottle or eye dropper. You can buy a formulated milk supplement at your local feed or pet store.
Do not ever give the kitten cow milk! Their system cannot handle cow milk, and you will have a mess to clean up afterwards. Try giving water at first. If it’s a little older, you can try soft cat food, or dry cat food. Once you get the all clear from the vet, you can introduce your orphaned kitten to the rest of the family.
Work on litter training by putting them in the litter box every few hours, if you see them squatting, pick them up right away and put them in the litter box. If you see pooh on the floor, don’t throw it away. Instead, put it in the litter box so the kitten will smell it, and learn to go potty in the box. It may take a few tries, so be patient.
An Adopted kitten from a shelter, breeder, or pet store, can be taken home without being quarantined. Kittens that are eight weeks or older can eat cat food (hard or soft) and drink water from a bowl. At this age, their mothers should have taught them to clean themselves, and use a litter box. Kittens require a lot of attention, so be sure to spend a lot of time with your new little one.
Much like a child, they do not like being alone, so when you have to leave, give them lots of toys to play with to keep them busy.
A scratching post is a must if you don’t want your furniture to get scratched. Make time for play time. Kittens love to play, so get a feather and string, and then let your kitten have fun with you. Every cat has its own personality, some will want to cuddle and be held, and others will like to hide and not want to be picked up. When you first bring your kitten home, it will be scared, and unfamiliar with its surroundings. Give it some space and let it roam the house to get to know the scents, one room at a time, not all at once.
Don’t introduce other animals until you see the kitten getting more comfortable. You may have to start out letting the kitten stay in one room then slowly letting it see the rest of the house.
Children may scare the kitten at first, so be sure to let the kitten come to the kids instead of the kids running up to the new kitten. Once the kitten starts playing, that means it feels at home.
Have fun with the new member of the family!