The basics about kittens

A litter of kittens usually consists of two to five kittens. They are born after a gestation that lasts between 64–67 days, with an average length of 66 days. Kittens emerge in a sac called the amnion which is bitten off and eaten by the mother cat.

Handle him - a lot. If kittens are handled a lot when they're young, they get used to it and learn to enjoy it. As a result, they're much more likely to turn into affectionate adults that love to be cuddled and stroked. Your new kitten should always be handled gently. If you have young kids, you'll need to supervise them with Kitty at first, to make sure they don't accidentally hurt him.

For the first several weeks, kittens are unable to urinate or defecate without being stimulated by their mother. They are also unable to regulate their body temperature for the first three weeks, so kittens born in temperatures less than 27°C (80 °F) can die from exposure if they are not kept warm by their mother.

Remember - Cats are Carnivores The natural state of the cat is that of the hunter. They subsist on a diet made up almost entirely of protein and fat, with only a very small amount of carbohydrate. Because of this, you will want to make sure that the food you choose has a high content of protein and fat, with very little in terms of other ingredients. This can be difficult, because manufacturers will disguise ingredients such as corn by changing the name on the label to maize, or another name.

The mother's milk is very important for the kittens' nutrition and proper growth. This milk transfers antibodies to the kittens, which helps protect them against infectious disease. Newborn kittens are also unable to produce concentrated urine, and so have a very high requirement for fluids.

Kittens open their eyes about seven to ten days following birth. At first, the retina is poorly-developed and vision is poor. Kittens are not able to see as well as adult cats until about ten weeks after birth.

Get him used to receiving everyday care from you. This includes grooming him, washing his face, bathing him and cleaning his ears and eyes. If he gets comfortable with all this when he's a kitten, you'll have few problems with it when he's an adult.

Kittens develop very quickly from about two weeks of age until their seventh week. Their coordination and strength improve, they play-fight with their litter-mates, and begin to explore the world outside the nest. They learn to wash themselves and others as well as play hunting and stalking games , showing their inborn ability as predators. These innate skills are developed by the kittens' mother or other adult cats bringing live prey to the nest. Later, the adult cats also demonstrate hunting techniques for the kittens to emulate

Safely introduce him to the everyday things that will form part of his world as soon as possible. This may include other people, kids, other pets, travelling in your car, boarding at your sister's house when you go on holiday etc. etc. Doing this will turn him into a confident, happy, adaptable adult.

As they reach three to four weeks old, the kittens are gradually weaned and begin to eat solid food, with weaning usually complete by six to eight weeks. Kittens live primarily on solid food after weaning, but usually continue to suckle from time to time until separated from their mothers. Some mother cats will scatter their kittens as early as three months of age, while others continue to look after them until they approach sexual maturity.

Play with him and talk to him every day. Bored kittens and cats often seek amusement in activities that you won't be too keen on, such as destroying the furniture. Playing with your kitten will build your relationship with him and help to prevent boredom.

The sex of kittens is usually easy to determine by six to eight weeks. The male's urethral opening is round, whereas the female's is a slit. Another marked difference is the distance between anus and urethral opening, which is greater in males than in females.
Feed him a wide selection of foods that are suitable for kittens. This gets him used to a varied diet, and reduces the risk of him becoming a gourmet cuisine snob who'll only eat fresh wild salmon caught in the Scottish Highlands...

Kittens are highly social animals and spend most of their waking hours interacting with available animals and playing. Play with other kittens peaks in the third or fourth month after birth, with more solitary hunting and stalking play peaking later, at about five months. Kittens are vulnerable to harm because they like to find dark places to hide; with sometimes fatal results if they are not watched carefully.

Gently and calmly set boundaries. Kittens are like kids - they'll push their luck to see how much they can get away with. Common naughty kitten behavior includes scratching, biting, jumping on the kitchen worktops, scratching the furniture and abseiling the curtains. If your kitten is being naughty, stop him, say "no" (don't shout) and move him away from the scene of his crime. It's much easier to train a new kitten to be good than an adult cat, so setting the boundaries whilst he's young can save you years of frustration in the future.

Although domestic kittens are commonly sent to new homes at six to eight weeks of age, it has been suggested that being with its mother and litter mates from six to twelve weeks is important for a kitten's social and behavioural development. Usually, breeders will not sell a kitten that is younger than twelve weeks, and in many jurisdictions, it is illegal to give away kittens younger than eight weeks old.

Don't give in to vocal blackmail. Some kittens try to get what they want by meowing non-stop. If you keep giving in to this, your kitten will turn into a very vocal adult cat who'll drive you nuts with his constant noisy demands.

Most veterinarians recommend that kittens be vaccinated against common illnesses beginning at 2–3 months of age. The combination vaccination protects against Feline viral rhinotracheitis (FVR), Feline calicivirus (C), and Feline panleukopenia (P) and is therefore called FVRCP. This inoculation is given at 8 weeks and 12 weeks with a third FVRCP and a rabies inoculation at 16 weeks. Cats can be spayed or neutered at approximately 7 months of age. Many veterinarians will spay or neuter kittens as young as 7 weeks and weighing at least 2 pounds (approx. 1 kg); the practice is particularly common in animal shelters. Such early spaying does not appear to have any long-term health risks to cats, and may even be beneficial in male cats. Kittens should also be wormed against roundworms at about 4 weeks.

Keep him safe. Nasty frights - for example falling down the toilet, being tormented by a kid or having a dog bark in his face - will have a negative impact on him. The more unpleasant experiences he has as a kitten, the more likely he is to become a nervous, mistrusting adult.

Kittens require a high-calorie diet that contains more protein than the diet of adult cats. From weaning until about one year of age they should be fed a diet specifically formulated for kittens. Orphaned kittens too young to eat solid food may be fed a cat milk replacement formula every two to four hours. Kittens should not be fed cow's milk because it does not provide all of the necessary nutrients. Cats are generally intolerant of sugars in their diets and both sucrose (table sugar) and lactose are not digested and cause soft stools or diarrhea. Orphaned kittens that are not urinating or defecating must be stimulated to do so after each meal by rubbing with a warm, damp washcloth at the base of their spine where the tail begins. This is vital to the kitten's survival.

Accept that your new kitten is a baby with loads of energy. Whilst you can discourage him from acts of willful destruction, you'll need to accept that your house is unlikely to survive completely unscathed. But hey, he's worth it!

Hand-reared kittens tend to be very affectionate and more dependent on humans as adults, but can also show volatile mood swings and aggression. If a kitten develops diarrhea, it is best to seek advice from a veterinarian. The kitten may need to be de-wormed with a de-wormer at 6–8 weeks old and then again 2 weeks later.

The reason that kittens and cats have different varieties of food available is because their nutritional needs are different. Like any other child, kitten bodies are constantly growing and developing. In order to provide them the building blocks they need for proper growth and development, kittens need a food that contains a good deal more protein, as well as a higher concentration of many vitamins and minerals.

The first factor that you need to keep in mind is the confusion and fear that your new little friend will experience when he or she enters into your home for the first time. Even if the kitten has had some time away from his or her mother, relocating to a new environment can be very difficult for a kitten. Therefore, perhaps the most important cat care tip and pointer that you need to keep in mind when bringing a kitten home is the need for you to spend time with the little guy or gal. (The kitten needs to get to know you as well!)

Cats are mostly counted to be one of the more quietest pets that you could have. But even a couple will behave instinctively and will feel the desire to take their wrath out on somebody who was in the closest vicinity.

You must not, for any reason, interchange a cat's milk to a cow's milk to be fed to newly-born. And with stating that, you also should not separate the kitties away from their momma cat for at least a month and a half if at all possible. After vaccination, kittens should stay inside no less than a week. And never yank kittens, likewise as mature cats, at the back of their neck. The accurate time of weaning a bottle fed kitten is close to three to four weeks after birthing. From milk, you may step by step shift your kittens' diet by supplying solid foods on something liquid to break them up. A month after birth you could commence giving canned nutrients to your kitten. It's better to chip up the kitten food thinly at the start. And on the sixth week, you might render solid foods to your kitten.

The next pointer to bear in mind when it comes to cat care and your new kitten is to make sure that he or she understands where the litter box is located. (Obviously, this is for the benefit of the kitten - and for you.) In this regard, you will want to place the litter box in a location at which the cat can have some privacy when he or she is tending to business. Moreover, you want to make sure that the litter box is at a location in which your kitten will not feel trapped when attending to his or her personal matters.

A single cat can give birth to about 18 kittens every season. The usual size of a litter is 6, and there is time to produce three litters during that time. Of course, not all of them live, and not all cats become pregnant 3 times. But the numbers are still staggering.

Other way of kitten care is to play and interact with the pet. Kittens love to play a lot. And because they do, as a trusted and compassionate owner you might be sensible for the proper toys for your kitten. Ask a vet what are the stable playthings for you to buy. Generally, the safest toys to buy are those which are medium sizing; large enough to avoid swallowing and small enough to avoid flapping about. And once you purchased the toys, make a self-conscious attempt to play with the plaything with the kitty.

A female cat can begin her motherhood career as young as 6 months, though first kittens often are not strong enough to live. Still, many do survive..
Finally, you will want to make sure that you have appropriate food for your kitten and plenty of water as part of your initial cat care efforts for your new kitten. You will want to select quality food for your new friend that specifically is designed for a kitten.

 

Taken from: http://petcarelive.com/