Just like her big cat cousins, your kitten is a true carnivore. Her teeth, tongue and digestive system are all specially designed for eating meat. So to meet her natural nutritional needs, it’s important to get her diet just right.
As a carnivore, your kitten needs lots of protein, and a complex balance of nutrients. Also, because your kitten is growing so fast, she needs different levels of certain nutrients than an adult cat – including the right ratio of calcium to phosphorus.
In the wild, big cats know exactly what they need to eat. By feeding your kitten the right food at the right times, you’ll be supporting her natural instincts as a carnivore and solitary hunter.
Your cute kitten might be small, but she’s going to grow 15 times faster than a human baby!
For the first 4–5 weeks of her life, your kitten will get all she needs from her mother. She’ll normally be weaned by 7 weeks, but even from week 4 you can get her used to eating a specially prepared food like Whiskas® Kitten Pouch.
In the wild, big cats generally live in forests, or on savannahs and prairies. In all these natural environments, water can be hard to find. That’s why big cats’ bodies have evolved to get most of the water they need from their prey.
Don’t worry if your kitten’s drinking habits seem strange.
Your kitten is just the same. However, she still needs to drink, so it’s essential to make sure she always has a plentiful supply of fresh water.
As your little feline friend approaches her first birthday, she’ll be ready to move on to eating a balanced adult food that’s suitable for her growing needs.
Your kitten will be ready to start trying adult food at around 12 months.
Your kitten is very sensitive to changes in taste and temperature, as well as any change in diet, so make sure you ease her into her new food gently.
In the natural world, big cats use grooming to maintain their social relationships. In a similar way, you can strengthen the bond with your kitten is by giving her a regular health check.
It's a good idea to start doing this from a young age – that way, your kitten will soon start thinking of it as just another natural routine.
As soon as you bring your new kitten home, she's relying on you to take good care of her. So register her with your local vet as soon as you can. It’s also a good idea to keep all her health documents – and the vet’s phone number – in one handy place. You might want to consider taking out pet insurance too.
Your kitten might be a bit wary of her cat carrier. To get her used to it, try putting it out a few days before you’re going to need it. Place something inside that smells of your kitten – like a toy or blanket – to reassure her that it’s okay.
Just like his big cat cousins, your male kitten will have a natural urge to spray and mark his territory. And a female kitten “in season” will probably be noisy and restless, squirming and rolling around on the floor. Neutering will help prevent this behaviour. Even better, it also has long-term health benefits.
Getting your kitten neutered will help protect and improve her health.
When to neuter
The best time to neuter your kitten – male or female – is at around 6 months old. This is the time when that cute little bundle of fluff becomes sexually mature. Talk to your vet for advice about all aspects of neutering.
As a responsible owner, you’ll want to make sure your loveable little kitten stays happy and healthy. Vaccinations are especially important, as they’ll help protect her against diseases. Once your kitten’s had all her jabs, you'll know that she's got the best possible protection.
When to vaccinate
Your kitten will probably have her first jabs at 9 weeks, followed by a second set at 12 weeks. Some vaccines can differ, so it’s best to check the exact timings with your vet.
Your kitten is a natural carnivore. That means her teeth are perfectly shaped for cutting and tearing meat, rather than grinding or chewing. Just like her big cat cousins, your little feline friend needs healthy teeth to eat her food and groom herself properly.
Your kitten's teeth should be clean and free from deposits. Her gums should be a healthy pink colour. If you notice any redness around your kitten’s teeth and gums, speak to your vet – sometimes bits of food and bacteria can lead to plaque.
At some point during the first nine months of her life, you may discover that your kitten isn’t feeling or looking her best. This might be because she’s caught a kitty cold.
The good news is that the majority of kitten colds are caused by only two viruses. As long as your kitten is up to date with her vaccinations, then she should be protected against both of them.
Fleas – symptoms and treatment Fleas are easy to spot. Even better, they’re easy to treat. They’re brownish-black in colour, and you’ll be able to see them moving about on your kitten’s coat.
Worms – symptoms and treatment
There are two types of worm to be aware of. Roundworms can make your kitten look a bit pot-bellied and, in some cases, cause vomiting. Tapeworms look a little like grains of rice in her litter tray, or around your kitten’s bottom.
Just like yours, your kitten’s digestive system converts the food she eats to energy. If she’s poorly, her tummy may be affected, with common problems being diarrhoea and constipation.
If your kitten does have either of these symptoms, then it’s a good idea to get your vet to check her out.