Hey /an/! I just bought a 7 week old kitten and wanted to know about any tips or common mistakes that you can think of. I've worked with cats and other animals for a while, but never raised one before. Thanks!
Do not overfeed it
Give it as much food as it will eat until it's 12 months old
Give it lots of love, petting and hugs work
They are very moody if you're doing it right, and you will do fine.
Pics of cat pls
It's also a good idea to get it used to things you want to do with it later. Especially if it is a longhaired cat get it used to brushing. and if you plan to trim it's nail get it used to that in small steps
Kittens from shelters need to be adopted out at the bare minimum to make room for more kittens. It is not ideal and many adopted cats end up with behavioral problems from it, but it is a life and death situation so the kittens are placed ASAP.
Op did not rescue the kitten, he bought it.
My issue is kinda related.
I figured I would adopt a little shota-kitten for my cat (at least 2 years old now, formerly feral, rehabilitated) to play with when I'm not home, is this a horrible idea?
It could go either way. Some cats do like company, some really do not care for other cats. They can generally learn to get along if you want two in a household, though another adult would be preferable as a kitten can bug the shit out of an adult cat and is less able to defend itself in a fight (and some fighting is pretty normal).
Sounds fair, my main concern is with my cat's feral background. She's as loving and gentle as can be around me and anyone who visits, but I'm worried she'll see another mature cat as an enemy encroaching on her turf.
The way I see it, if I were to adopt a younger cat, she wouldn't think of it as a threat and she might be more lenient towards it, but I'll look into it some more.
Thanks for the reply, anon.
On common mistake is to buy a kitten under 8 weeks of age. In most of the US, it's actually illegal. I do hope you report whoever you bought the kitten from if you paid money for it.
So about kittens taken from mum too young; oh god the bite inhibition. Do the poor creature a favor, and don't dump him when he becomes bitey, because chances are s/he will stay that way until s/he is no longer playful. Kittens taken away from mom too early may not learn when biting is too hard, when not to bite, when to stop biting, etc. I've had to foster many orphan kittens, some only 7 weeks and some as young as 3 weeks, and I have yet to find a solution for the lack of bite inhibition. It's extremely difficult to find a home for these cats, and I've had returns on just about all of them that weren't given to family at least once or twice, and some cats are returned as many as a a dozen times and still looking for homes. It's not that they are aggressive, but they don't understand how hard to bite, when to bite, and when to stop. It's a game to them and they don't realize it hurts others.
You can get a cat fixed as young as 8 weeks, provided you go to an experienced vet, and I highly reccomend the sooner the better. People put this sort of shit off thinking they have months, then months fly by and they don't have the cash, then they wait for the next few paychecks and bam; 6 kittens and a cat you now need to take care of, which is roughly 4X the amount to spend rearing those kittens than getting the animal fixed. Cats can become sexually mature at 4 months of age, so before 4 months is pretty vital. Once a cat gets into the habit of spraying, fixing is not guaranteed to fix that problem. Spaying a female when she is in heat will also cost more.
Besides that, get him/her used to having their ears cleaned, nails trimmed, and being handled in general. Make sure she is kept UTD on shots; the rabies you can't get until 3 months, the first round of distemper she should have now, and if she doesn't you need to make an appointment right now. Distemper in such young kittens can literally kill them in a day. For kittens, distemper generally comes in a series of 3 shots, all roughly 2 weeks from each other, and the last shot should be good for one year. You will also need to go to a vet to get flea/tick meds, because she is too young for over-the-counter meds that could poison her. She should be kept inside and away from unvaccinated animals for at least 2 months after her rabies shot and one week after her second distemper shot. Assuming you get all the shots done on time, you should be waiting 5-6 months. If you miss a scheduled distemper shot by more than a week, you need to start the entire series over again from shot #1
Not that anon but fighting is very possible. My grandmother have two adult cats but one of them was a stray she found at Walmart one day. To this day they will fight each other though they never draw blood or anything like that. Trying to give your cat a new friend might just end up giving it a new enemy you are stuck with dealing and possibly only serve to stress both of them out.
A kitten will most likely end up better or your current cat might just become a bully and stress the poor thing out. Like that anon said, it really can go either way. If you feel you can't deal with two cats hating each other then you may be better off not taking the risk.
Yeah, back before I decided to tame her, I'd hear her fighting other ferals and raccoons over chunks of bird suet every other night, so I know what she's capable of.
Her growth is stunted, so she looks like she's about 10 months old even after putting her on a healthy diet, would that factor into any aggression between her and a new cat?
>ignore bad behavior.
This is important. If a cat is rewarded for behavior a single time, it will remember as long as its brain is sound. I have a cat that is extremely well-trained and behaved except for the fact that he beats on doors to have them opened because my mother opened a door for him the very first time he did it. I've tried everything to make him stop and nothing has worked.
A spayed/neutered, younger adult (non-kitten) cat of the opposite sex is generally recommended to add a second cat to a household. Careful integration is key. As another anon said: it doesn't always work out. Don't get a second cat that you have no means of re-homing if it can't integrate and do your research on the integration process thoroughly before attempting at all.
I have raised many litters, totaling about 30 kittens. I have been involved in rescue and fostering for 20+ years. And I also show and breed cats.
Taking a kitten away from mom before 14 weeks definitely has a negative effect on the kitten. Unfortunately, it is common for that to happen. It's so common that most people don't recognize the damage because all of their previous cats were damaged in the same way.
That's not even close to true. If it was true, it would be very difficult to bond with any kitten over eight weeks old. I have adopted cats as old as 16 and had a wonderful bond with them.
Definitely. The only problematic behavior I've noticed is wire chewing, and I'm going to use some bitter spray for that. Hell, dogs hardly even understand negative reinforcement.
I've been working with him and he's already totally fine with me messing with his paws and touching him anywhere.
Thank you, this was very helpful. I have a few rats and another cat that seem to be helping him learn his bite strength (the rats are a bit bigger than him so I'm not worried about them). They wrestle with him and if one gets too rough the other will let them know, and they stop. I've also been making a high pitched meow when he bites hard. That all being said, if he ends up as a biter that's fine, and he'll be with me for life. I'll keep in mind the neutering thing, I was just going to go with whatever the vet recommended. I'm taking him to get vaccinated tomorrow. I didn't know that about distemper, I'll be more careful with him. I had been taking him out on my shoulder to Petsmart. Luckily I live in a place with no ticks or fleas, so I'm good there.
Thank you guys for your input, I'm trying to make this kitty as happy and healthy as possible.
In my country you wouldn't have been allowed to adopt a kitten younger than 8 weeks, but well, what is done is done.
Honestly it's not really hard, I'm dealing with a puppy at the moment and it's a much bigger deal.
Just try to get him used to things like the sound of hoovering, a drill, grass mulching and stuff like that.
Keep his litter clean, feed him good quality food, be consistent in your training (don't let him walk on the table one day if you're not going to let him do it later, etc.)
Also be patient, he will have accidents (piss, shit, vomit), don't ever try to punish him, he won't understand.
Play and cuddle, and you'll be good, OP