Find out from the breeder what, when and how much your kitten was being fed. A sudden change in diet can cause a gut upset, so you should feed the same thing that the breeder fed – at least initially. Once your kitten gets settled in, you can wean him or her over to a new diet if you wish. The main thing to remember when choosing a food for your kitten is that it must be food specifically made for kittens – not adult cat food. Kitten food is specifically formulated to meet the needs of a growing kitten. We recommend Royal Canin Growth food, which you can buy in the clinic. If you feed this, you do not need to provide any supplements. Wean your kitten onto new food over a period of about a week by first mixing 80% of the old food with 20% of the new food, then gradually increasing the percentage of the new food. Kittens should be fed four times daily until 2 months of age, three times daily until 4 months of age, and twice daily thereafter. Make sure your kitten always has free access to water. Cats don't need milk, but if you wish to provide milk make sure it is milk intended for cats – this milk is low in lactose, as many cats are lactose intolerant.
The following are all part of a comprehensive preventative health care program for a kitten:
Some kittens will already have been using a litter tray when they come to your home, and will only need to be shown where the litter tray is. If not, you can take the following steps to help your kitten learn to use a litter tray:
Keep the tray in a quiet, protected area where your kitten can use it privately.
Keep the tray in one place – do not move it around.
Praise your cat for using the litter tray, but do not punish him or her for toileting in inappropriate areas.
Clean the litter tray regularly with water – some cats will not use a soiled litter tray, and the smell of disinfectants or detergents can deter them from using the litter tray.
See the Information Sheet on Desexing.
All cats benefit from grooming, and the earlier you introduce this to your cat, the better he or she will tolerate it. It is best to use a brush specifically designed for cats. Grooming is also a good way to pick up on any abnormalities in your cat. In long-haired breeds, hair can start to mat after even a few weeks, which can be uncomfortable and even painful. Your cat may require sedation to be able to remove these mats.
It is important that there is something in your cat's diet to keep the teeth clean from an early age, because once tartar has built up on the teeth the only way to remove it is using ultrasonic scaling under general anaesthesia (see Dental Health Information Sheet).
The ideal way to prevent tartar formation is to brush your pet's teeth 3 times per week. If this is done from an early age, kittens can learn to tolerate this well. We understand that you may not be willing to do this, and there are other options. Royal Canin Dental food and Hill's t/d are complete and balanced, and can be used as part of the diet (every second day) from 6 months of age to abrade the teeth and prevent tartar formation. Raw chicken necks or bones are also effective at cleaning teeth.
Here you can find information and advice about common problems and diseases. Please remember, though, that this information can't replace a visit to the vet!