If you just adopted a new kitten, congrats! You just took the first step in a lifelong relationship of love and cuddles. As fun as bringing home a newborn kittens is, you may be overwhelmed with all the choices you have to make about caring for your kitten.
We're here to help you understand everything you need to take care of your furry friend from understanding cat behavior and cat health to getting kitten formula and other necessities. We’ll also answer the question of whether or not kittens are easy to raise!
Are Kittens Easy to Raise?
Many new cat parents wonder if newborn kittens are easy to raise. The answer depends on how much time and effort you want to dedicate to your new kitten. Luckily, with the right amount of attention and care, young kittens are easier to raise than a lot of other pets, so for most people, yes, kittens are easy to raise. That being said, there's still a lot to consider for your new kitten.
Let's look at all of the aspects that go into raising a kitten.
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How to Take Care of a New Kitten
From food to diet to exercise to sleep, knowing how to raise a kitten is crucial when bringing a new pet into your home. Here are some of the most important things to keep in mind when taking care of growing kittens!
One of the first things to understand before you even bring your cuddly kitten home is what they will eat. Generally, most pet parents choose cat food that is specially formulated for a growing kitten’s needs. Depending on how young your new kitten is, you may want to consider a kitten-specific food or kitten formula. That being said, many high-quality cat food options are formulated for all life stages, meaning they are adequate for older kittens as well. Talk to your vet to see which food option is best for your new kitten.
Most kittens adapt well to both dry and wet food. If you got your kitten from a breeder or shelter and they were already feeding the kitten a certain type of food, and you want to transition them to different food, do it slowly to avoid upsetting their stomach. You can do this by first substituting 25% of their old food with the new food, then 50%, then 75%, then 100%.
When shopping for food for your new kitten, the same rules apply as when you’re considering adult cat nutrition. Here are some pointers:
- Look for a healthy kitten food with an animal protein source as the first ingredient on the list. A young kitten needs lots of protein to grow big and strong!
- Be wary of “filler” ingredients like corn gluten or other grains. Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning that the majority of their calories should come from protein.
- Mix up your kitten’s food until you find the ones they like. No one, including kittens, wants to eat the same meal every day!
Choosing high-quality food for your growing kitten will help set them up for a long, healthy life. Although high-quality cat food may be more expensive, you will save money in the long-run on possible health conditions associated with low-quality kitten nutrition. Our ultra-premium cat food PrettyPlease contains all the essential nutrients and vitamins your kitten needs.
Litter Box Hygiene for Kittens
Next up is your new kitten’s potty space! Litterbox hygiene is super important for both adult cat and kitten care because you want to make going to the bathroom as pleasant of an experience as possible for them.
When it comes to how to litter train a kitten, the first thing you should consider is what type of litter to choose. There are multiple types of cat litter, such as clay litter, crystal litter, and litter made with natural ingredients like pine or walnut. Which one you choose will depend on your own preferences, as well as the preferences of your kitten.
In addition to choosing the right type of litter, you want to make sure you keep the litter box clean. We recommend cleaning the litter box once a day because cats enjoy going to the bathroom in a clean litter box. You should also consider where you put the litter box. It should be away from their food and water in a quiet, undisturbed space. Some cat owners prefer covered litter boxes, but your kitten may feel too trapped with a cover. You can experiment with which they prefer.
Lastly, you should have one extra litter box for the number of cats you have. For example, if you have one new kitten, you should have two litter boxes throughout the house. Ideally, you should have one litter box on each floor of the house.
Playing With Your New Kitten
If there's one thing kittens love to do, it’s play! It's important to spend time playing with your kitten to help them get enough exercise throughout the day and hone their hunting instincts. Every kitten is different, but most kittens love to run, jump, and climb to chase their cat toys. The best kind of play is play that stimulates a hunt. Pique their curiosity by moving the toy through a tunnel or into a box to get their senses going.
Most cat experts recommend playing with your kitten at least 30 minutes a day, but some kittens might need more exercise to get their wiggles out.
Creating the Perfect Environment for Your Kitten
In addition to playtime, you should make sure you have the perfect environment for your indoor cat that stimulates their natural instincts. Cats love to climb, so have plenty of levels for them to play around. Cat towers, shelves, and hammocks all make good places for them to perch.
Cat scratching is never a cat owner’s favorite thing about raising a kitten, but it’s their natural instinct, so provide them with places to scratch (that aren’t your couch or carpet). Scratching posts with sisal material are a great choice. To direct your cat’s scratching instincts to the tower, place it somewhere where they would want to scratch anyway, such as right next to the couch, and reward them when they scratch it. With treats in hand, your new kitten will quickly learn that scratching their post is the way to go!
Correcting Behavioral Issues in Kittens
While raising kittens is easier than raising a lot of other pets, they may still need some correctional training to prevent them from destructive behavior. Scratching, spraying, jumping on the counters, or not getting along with other pets in the household are all examples of behavior you can easily correct in your young kitten so they don’t become bigger issues in the future.
Despite what all the viral videos of naughty cats might tell us, cats can be (and even enjoy being) trained! One common training technique is clicker training. Using clicker training, you can train your kitty to do the behavior you’re encouraging, such as scratching the scratching post instead of the couch or not jumping on the counter.
You can also use clicker training to teach your new kitten tricks! Cats can quickly learn how to come to their name, shake, jump over your arm, walk on a leash, and much more. Cats are extremely intelligent animals, and the challenge of training helps stimulate their mind so they don’t get bored.
Correcting Other Kitten Behavior
In addition to scratching or going places that you don’t want them to explore (such as the kitchen counter), you can also correct other behavior, or at least find the root of the problem and address that.
Some cat owners are nervous that their new kitten might spray, especially if they have a male kitten. One remedy to this concern is to get your cat neutered before they start spraying. You should always get your cat neutered no matter what, as it’s beneficial to their health and helps control the population of feral kittens. Additionally, it can help with spraying and aggression in male cats.
If you adopted a new kitten and they aren’t getting along with the other pets in your household, you can try to fix the situation by introducing them slowly and making sure all the cats have a place to call their own. Cats are territorial animals and enjoy having their own space, even if it’s just one cubby in the cat tower. Synthetic cat pheromone diffusers can also help ease the tension in a multiple-kitten home.
Having a kitten is so much fun because they are cute, playful, and always learning. As long as you have the time to dedicate to your new kitten, they are easy to raise and will give you years of happiness together.