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Kitten Care - Part 2

Food, Play, and Socialization

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Bubba watching kittens eat

Kitten Food for Kittens

Franny Syufy
In part one we discussed preparing for your new kitten, bringing him or her home and integrating her into the household, and the all-important initial health check. In this section, we'll talk about the basics in kitten care: food, play, discipline (training) and sleep.

Kitten Food for Kittens

Even though your kitten needs twice the nutrients of an adult cat, at this tender age, his tummy cannot hold the quantity you would feed an adult. At six weeks of age, he should receive at least four small feedings a day, then around twelve weeks three times a day until six months. After that he can be fed twice daily.

Dos and Don'ts

  • Don't feed your kitten dog food. Cats require taurine which is not contained in dog food. Without it, they can develop heart disease or go blind.
  • Don't feed your kitten table scraps, nor supplement his diet with milk (causes indigestion and diarrhea). You will encourage begging habits, and your kitten will fill up on foods which don't contain the nutrients he needs.
  • Don't feed your kitten liver, canned tuna or other canned fish intended for humans. These foods can create an imbalance of vitamins A, D, and E, which can lead to serious conditions.
  • Do feed your kitten a well-balanced premium food specifically designed for kittens. These youngsters need more proteins for building strong bones and muscles, and more calories to keep up with their high energy levels, than older cats. You can supplement with a high quality dry kitten food later, but in the early days he will need the extra calories of canned food for energy and growth.

More Information on Kitten Food

Socializing and Playing

The first few weeks in a kitten's life are the most important ones in terms of socializing and bonding with a human, and should be treated as a very precious time in your relationship. This is the time for cuddling and holding, playing gently, and talking to your kitten. Properly handled, he will associate these happy times with you, dear human, and be a friend to you for life. Like clay in your hands, you can mold his personality, while at the same time, strengthening your own commitment to him to cherish him and care for him the rest of his life. See the section on "How to Gentle a Kitten" for step-by-step instructions for this bonding process. Believe me, most of it will come instinctively.

Kittens in their early weeks will play with almost anything. You may be tempted to buy a bunch of toys, but remember, their attention spans are much like those of children, and they might be just as happy playing with a crumpled up ball of paper as with a motorized mouse.

One important caution at this age: don't let your kitten start to associate your hands with a play toy. Doing so can develop into bad habits of scratching and biting fingers. Hands are for holding, stroking and gentle hugs; toys are for rough play.

More Suggestions for Play

Next page > Good Grooming Starts Early

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