You undoubtedly already know that bringing a kitten home is both exciting and intimidating if you're thinking about obtaining one!
You can give your cat the best start in life and prevent future issues by following our advice on kitten care. This guide will cover some advice on how to care for a stray or abandon kitten if you find one on the street without its mother nearby. They want to pick them up and bringing them inside can be hard to resist too!
Whether you are adopting one or ‘accidentally’ adopted by an abandoned kitten, we should constantly ensure that the kitten's health develops quickly so that its body may receive the proper nourishment to remain well-developed in the future.
In this article, we'll discuss how to care for an adopted and stray kittens with the best foods to feed them and how to potty train them to develop good behavior from a young age to share a home with humans and other animals.
Determining A Kitten’s Age Is Crucial To Choosing The Right Food
The good news is that you don't have to be a vet to determine a kitten's age. Having said that, it is always best to confirm the age with a pet doctor. Just to be safe!
It's because a keen eye and knowledge of age-revealing signs can be used to determine a kitten's age. You can determine the little kitty cat's age and, ultimately, what to feed it by examining it.
- Completely closed eyes and ear canals folded against their heads.
- Umbilical cord stump still intact. The umbilical cord stump will usually fall off around four to five days of age.
One week old
- The eyes of kittens will open, but not open completely and are squinty.
- Bright blue eyes in all very young kittens. Refrain from attempting to pry open the half-open peepers of one-week-old kittens.
- The ears of kittens will begin to unfold. Their ear canals will slightly open, too, like their eyes.
- It’s also at this age when baby cats will start to crawl.
Two weeks old
- More open ear canals and their ears will pop out
- Eyes will be fully open. Despite being completely open, the eyes of kittens will still be blue, but their pupils won’t be able to dilate.
- Kittens will be better at crawling, although they will still be wobbly when attempting to move from point A to point B.
Three weeks old
- Will get startled by loud noises
- Their ears will appear more like the ears of kittens instead of the ears of cubs.
- Their incisors (teeth in the front center of the mouth) will emerge. Kittens have a total of 12 incisors — six incisors above and six incisors below.
- Will walk so much better.
Four weeks old
- Canines (fangs) of kittens will emerge — all four of them.
- Better vision and motion.
- All members of the litter will also play with one another, albeit in an extremely clumsy (and adorable!) manner.
- They will also start to attempt to groom themselves.
Five weeks old
- Able to have milk and solid food at the same time.
- Ears of kittens will appear bigger and more pointed.
- Will be able to retract and extend their claws.
Six weeks old
- Eye color changes from blue to their permanent adult eye color, except for those that are meant to be blue-eyed adult cats.
- Walk and play more often.
Seven weeks old
- Walk and run without much trouble and also climb a lot.
- Will be able to eat kibbles. However, it’s a good idea to mix them with wet cat food to make the transition from wet to dry food go as smoothly as possible.
Eight weeks old
- They will look like miniature versions of adult cats.
- They will also eat and sleep at regular intervals like their mother cat or any other adult cat.
- It’s also at this time of their lives when they can be spayed or neutered
- Increased muscle tone
Best Approaches To Taking Care Of A Kitten Depends On Their Age
Typically, when adopting a kitten, the best age to bring them home is at least 8 weeks old.
Wherever they came from, the person looking after your kitten should have done a few things before you bring them home.
First kitten vaccinations are particularly important to prevent future health problems. Check out these best vet clinics in Malaysia:
Acknowledging why we should obtain valid pet insurance in Malaysia, will offer you peace of mind in terms of money and expenditure as well as the safety of your furry kids.
You'll also need to prepare your home by providing lots of space for your kitten to play, as well as resting and hiding places. Buying cat essentials such as toys, a mini litter tray and things to climb provides a positive experience for your kitten.
Cat beds sold in Malaysia are a great way to ramp up your cat’s indoor setting. They sleep most of the time, so it’s good to keep them comfy at all times. You may also be interested in our 2022 recommended list of cat things to buy this year!
From 8 to 12 weeks, you should expose your kitten to positive experiences in socializing. This includes introducing them to other people and pets that should already be healthy and fully vaccinated cats and dogs, as well as children. This gets them used to being handled.
Gradually introduce them to their cat carrier, grooming, being picked up, handling, and having their ears, eyes, and other body parts checked.
Establish a consistent routine and rules like keeping them out of certain rooms by rewarding good behavior with the same kitten food as they had before.
From 12 weeks onwards, your kitten will need their second vaccination. You should also book them for neutering or spaying and ask your pet doc about deworming treatments.
Mental stimulation is also important at this stage where you should be spending a lot of time playing with your kitten almost every day. Try some kitten training such as having them come to you when you call. At the same time, kittens need to rest as growing and learning are tiring. Let your kitten rest regularly and keep training sessions short.
6 months old kittens may look like they are semi-adult cats, but in fact, they are still kittens. So, keep all the learning and training experiences as positive as you can.
By keeping experiences positive from day one, you'll help your kitten grow into a confident adult cat, making life more enjoyable for you both.
How To Take Care Of A Stray Kitten When You See One On The Street
Even if you see kittens by themselves, their mother is probably nearby. The ideal caretaker for kittens is a mother cat. It is best to NOT remove kittens younger than ~8 weeks old from their mother as it can be harmful to their well-being.
Check on the mother’s whereabouts and re-visit 2-4 hours later if the mother is still missing. A mother cat will abandon her kittens momentarily for valid reasons, such as to find food. Even so, she might be hiding out and awaiting your departure.
In a few exceptional cases, the kittens' existing surroundings may put them in urgent danger. Kittens may need to be removed, for instance, if they are in a flood plain or close to a fire.
If possible, move the kittens to another outdoor spot as close to their original nest as is safe so their mother can find them.
Good Tip: Sprinkle flour near the kittens’ nest. If the mother cat returns, she will leave paw prints.
You should intervene to help the kittens if you have waited for several hours or more than a day and have grounds to suspect their mother is no longer present. Neonatal kittens, or kittens under 4 weeks old, require specialized equipment and 24-hour care to live.
If the kittens you found are injured, here are some tips that you can refer to.
Not sure if the kittens are sick? Here are the 13 sick cat signs you should be careful of.
The initial human reaction in such a situation would be to take the kittens to an animal shelter. Because kittens' immune systems are still developing and they are more susceptible to disease than adults, even the greatest shelters can be deadly for them. As a result, it is improper to take the kittens to a shelter.
Instead, you could wrap the kitten(s) with a warm blanket and place them comfortably in a pet carrier or a clean box.
Bring the whole family to your home. A quiet and small room (like a bathroom) is a good spot to prevent any loud noises and disturbances from other people and/or pets.
Provide food and water, and a litter box placed as far away from the sleeping and eating areas as possible.
If needed, you may ‘shower’ the kittens gently with a wet cloth. Ensure that the temperature is not cold. For more tips, you can visit our free guide here on how to safely bathe cats.
If you are unable to care for the kittens yourself, see if a friend or family member can help, or get in touch with local animal advocates, rescue organizations, or protection groups. Posting it for adoption on Facebook's pet-friendly groups may help you find these supporters.
What To Feed Based On A Kitten’s Age
It's crucial to consider which foods survive in the tiny mouths of stray kittens, especially in the first few weeks of their lives. If improper foods are given to them, they may not receive the nutrition they need to grow and develop normally and correctly. Additionally, it can unnecessarily irritate their digestion.
Here is a summary:
- 1 to 3 weeks old - Kitten milk replacer
- 4 to 5 weeks old - Kitten milk replacer and wet food
- 6 to 8 weeks old - Wet and dry food
Below, you will come across some of the things that you may give to a kitten, whether they are stray or adopted.
- Milk (DO NOT give cow’s milk): Its digestive system cannot process lactose, a type of sugar found in milk. Give them milk replacers available at veterinary clinics, pet food, and supplies stores. For more information on how much milk should be fed and feeding frequency, you may refer to our FREE guide here.
- Meat: kittens should be given cooked meat only such as cooked beef, pork, lamb, chicken, and turkey. Avoid giving fatty, processed, and greasy meat.
- Eggs: They should be offered nothing but cooked eggs only.
- Fish: Tuna, salmon, mackerel, trout, and herring are some of the absolute favorites of kittens and adult cats, too. Canned fish is OK, however, opt for water-packed and low-sodium canned fish to keep their health out of harm’s way.
- Whole Grains: they are loaded with fiber and good amounts of nutrients such as oatmeal and brown rice. Just make sure that you cook whole grains very well before feeding them.
- Plain Bread: If they are old enough to eat solid food, but have yet to head to the nearest pet food and supplies store, give them a small amount of bread.
Needless to say, kittens of different ages can eat different foods appropriate for their age to keep them from having digestive system-related issues. So, before you offer it anything, you should determine how old they are. You may also consider checking out the list of food that should be avoided too! Click here to find out more today!
How To Potty Train Your Kitten in 3 Easy Steps
Step 1: The first step to effective litter behavior is choosing the correct litter box.
Given how small kittens are, pet parents can begin by providing a small litter box for their new feline friend and gradually transition to a larger box as their pet grows.
Typically, silica gel, clay, pine, corn, or recycled newspaper are used to make cat litter. Both scented and unscented forms of litter are available.
Step 2: Keep your kitten in a small, quiet, low-traffic environment while you start to potty train them.
To urge your cat to use the litter box, it could be beneficial to gently place the kitten inside. Never put the cat's food and drink bowls next to the litter box. Additionally, it's a good idea to have a litter box that is simple to access on each floor of your house.
If you have more than one cat, make sure you have enough litter boxes to accommodate all of them to avoid territorial issues.
Step 3: As soon as your kitten begins using the litter box, pet parents must keep an eye on their behavior and look out for any changes.
A change in conduct could be a sign of hidden medical problems. This includes instances in which your cat urinates outside of the litter box.
The Bottom Line
Getting ready for everything needed to care for your kitten, whether it was adopted or was a stray, can be stressful at first. You may assist them in settling into their new home and leading a contented, healthy life by getting a few things done for a good start.
Consult your veterinarian to learn more about annual physicals, shots, microchipping, desexing, and flea and worm prevention. A kitten's growth and learning processes, as well as the kind of food they digest, can vary depending on their age. Additionally, we advise potty training them as soon as possible to encourage positive behavior as they grow older.