CATS

Early kitten care

Looking after the welfare and safety of a new litter of kittens is a big responsibility, but you will not have to take on the task single-handed. Mother cats know instinctively how to raise a family.

The first weeks

Until they have been weaned (see opposite), kittens need to stay with their mother and siblings all the time. The mother cat isn’t solely a defender and supply of nutrition, but a teacher of feline behavior as well. It is through interaction with brothers and sisters that kittens practice their social and life skills. No kitten ought to be aloof from this family support cluster unless fully necessary.

Kittens begin taking part in games along as early as four weeks old-time and can take pleasure in many toys to stimulate their interest

Objects that go on area unit continuously standard, but don’t offer anything that could snag and damage tiny claws. Games often turn into rough and tumble, but even if the entire litter becomes a tussling furball there is no need to separate them. They are highly unlikely to do each other harm and this mock fighting is an important part of their mental and physical development .

Keep a constant eye on the whereabouts of young kittens, especially once they are mobile and can climb out of the kittening box. They will wander everywhere and can all too easily end up being stepped on or getting injured while moving around the house.

Do not allow the kittens to go outdoors until they have been fully
vaccinated.

Using a litter pan

You will probably find that you have very little work to do in training kittens to use a litter pan. As soon as they find their feet, at around 3 weeks of age, they will start copying their mother and head for the pan when she does. Although older cats like privacy once they use a litter pan, young
kittens often all pile into it together.

Provide them with a pan that is large enough for sharing, with shallow sides that they can climb over easily. Kittens have a built-in instinct to scratch around in loose, soft materials and scattered litter is inevitable, so surround the tray with newspaper to catch spillages.

Provide them with a pan that is large enough for sharing, with shallow sides that they can climb over easily. Kittens have a built-in instinct to scratch around in loose, soft materials and scattered litter is inevitable, so surround the tray with newspaper to catch spillages on the carpet—you will just frighten him. If there is no time to reach the litter pan, lift him onto a sheet of newspaper. When he has finished, put the kitten and paper in the tray for a few moments to reinforce the idea.

Weaning

By about 4 weeks of age, kittens have acquired some of their baby teeth and are ready for weaning making the change from mother’s milk to solid food. As with litter pan training, a mother cat can usually be relied upon to
demonstrate the skill. The kittens will imitate the way she feeds from her bowl and, apart from providing the meals, you should not interfere. Only very occasionally for example, when a kitten has been orphaned is
hand-weaning necessary. If you face this problem, you should ask
your vet for advice.

At the start of weaning, young kittens are more inclined to paw the food than to eat it, so place their bowls on newspaper and be prepared for messy
mealtimes. As their intake of solids increases, kittens become less and less dependent on their mother for nutrition and the mother’s milk will gradually dry up. Most kittens are fully weaned at 8 weeks old.

Stages of development

Newborn kittens are blind, deaf, and completely dependent on their mother, but they develop rapidly. Within a few weeks helpless infants turn into lively individuals that have learned all the basic lessons about being a cat. Adulthood is usually reached at around twelve months, though some
cats take longer to complete their full growth.

Five days

The kitten has some sense of the surrounding world, even though the eyes are not yet open. The ears lie flat against the head and hearing is still undeveloped.

Two weeks

The eyes are now open although vision is imperfect. For a few weeks, all kittens have blue eyes that gradually change to the permanent color.

Four weeks

Up and running, tail held erect as a balancing pole, the kitten starts exploring. Sight and hearing are well developed and the digestive
system can cope with solid food.

Eight weeks

Very active and fascinated by anything and everything, the kitten is instinctively adopting characteristic feline habits such as self-grooming and will practice hunting by pouncing on toys or siblings. Weaning should be fully completed around this stage.

Ten week

Not quite a cat but almost the kitten will soon be ready to leave home. It is important for vaccinations to be givenat this age.

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