Kittens are so adorable that we want to shower them love and affection, but there are some helpful tips to keep in mind to ensure their safety at all times. By caring for them the right way this will keep them safe and you can develop a strong bond right from the start. If mama kitty lives in the home with you, these tips will help to keep her from going Mama Bear on you, too:
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1. Mother’s Milk is Always Best
Contradictory to common folklore that paints images in people’s minds of kittens/cats drinking milk from saucers, it is never a good idea to serve cow’s milk to a feline. Their stomachs are sensitive and usually lactose intolerant so by giving them cow’s milk that we would drink as humans this would cause them great discomfort and indigestion. If you happened to take in a kitten that has yet to be weaned and needs milk, consult with your veterinarian to find what alternative options are available so that you can provide the young kitten with the right nutrition that they need.
2. Be Gentle at All Times
A kitten’s bones are still hardening just a human baby’s would, so it’s highly recommended to handle kittens like the fragile creatures that they are. Never set them off the floor, like on a couch or a bed, because what may seem like a short fall to you could be fatal to them if they accidentally go tumbling off. Kittens are curious little ones and they are unable to properly sense depth perception until they are a bit more mature. Be sure if you are holding them off the ground to never leave them unattended for any reason.
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3. Watch Your Step, Please!
Notorious for following you around, kittens are very social and prefer to be near someone, whether that’s another cat or a human. If you get up be careful to look underneath you first, and as you walk watch closely as kitten might be right up against your foot. Kittens don’t understand that they shouldn’t be grazing you while you walk, and you wouldn’t want to step on them or accidentally lose your balance and fall if you trip.
4. Kittens Need to Stay Warm
Tiny kittens are usually only approximately 3.5 ounces at birth, and while they grow steadily with proper nutrition and care they need to stay warm. If you have the mother in the home with you, then provide her a non drafty area to sleep with warm blankets and a bed so the mother cat and her kittens have a nice place to cuddle. The same rule applies if you only have kitten, as they will certainly need to stay nice and warm without their mother there to radiate extra body heat. For mother cat, you’ll want to be sure that this is a secluded area in your home where she feels safe and her privacy is respected.
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5. Look, But Don’t Always Touch
During a kitten’s first week of life, it’s vital to be careful when choosing to handle them. Although it may be difficult to resist the temptation to pick them up in your eager hands, you don’t want to upset their mother who’s natural maternal instincts will have certainly set in. Kittens are so incredibly fragile in their first week of life that handling them may actually hurt them if not careful.
The smallest amount of pressure could injure them and waiting till the second week to bond is beneficial to both you and them if you want to play it safe. If you have young children in the home with the kitten(s) this is especially true as children sometimes do not understand how to be extra careful and become excited easily. The tinier the kitten, the more likely they are to become injured. Which often times stems from something so small you wouldn’t even realize it could harm them.
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6. How Soon is Too Soon to Train?
Until a kitten reaches 4 weeks of age, they will not be able to grasp the concept of using a litter box to deposit their waste. For the mother’s and kittens designated area, you will want to rotate blankets and towels so the area stays fresh as kittens will be unable to control where they use the restroom. If for some reason you have a kitten in your care that seems to be under 4 weeks of age, it’s always suggested to contact your veterinarian to receive proper instructions on how to provide the best environment and care possible.