[Article supplied by Royal Canin.]

Have you recently welcomed a new addition into your household in the form of a kitten? There are many things to think about, including health, diet and safety to name but a few. To help with the joys (and occasional challenges!) of raising a kitten, ROYAL CANIN® have summarised a few key tips to ensure you get off to a great start together.

1) Basic Needs

The kitten’s basic needs are simple:
• Lots of sleep, without being disturbed. Choose a bed that is comfortable and easy to clean, and place it in a quiet area.
• A clean supply of fresh water available at all times.
• Regular, frequent meals of kitten food in the same place and at the same times each day. This will help establish a structure to the day and reassure them that their needs are being met.

2) Nutrition

When it comes to food, it is a good idea to stick to your kitten’s existing routine as much as possible for the first few days, including the diet you feed them. You might even want to ask the breeder to supply you with a small amount of your kitten’s diet. Of course, once those first few days are over and your companion is settled, you can start to introduce a diet such as ROYAL CANIN® KITTEN very gradually, over 5-7 days, if they are not already on it. Once your pet has made the change, follow the feeding guides on the pack closely, as these will change month by month as your pet grows.

Most kittens prefer to graze on their food throughout the day - if you do choose to leave food down for them, don’t overfeed, replace it regularly with a fresh offering, and make sure no one else is eating it instead! If you are using wet food, make sure any leftovers are picked up and disposed of after an hour or so, to ensure good hygiene practices. If you have more than one cat, you may need to think about feeding each cat separately several times a day, to ensure they are all receiving the right amount of the appropriate food for them.

3) Play

During the first few weeks, play with your kitten frequently to put them at ease and develop their tactile skills but keep play times short, with appropriate toys, as recommended by your vet. Only use toys under supervision and put them away after each play session with your cat. Ensure there is no confusion and only allow play behaviour that you will continue to encourage as your pet grows up. Play is an important form of exercise for all cats.

4) First vet visit

It’s a good idea for your kitten to have a check-up when they first come to live with you so that your vet can make sure they’re healthy, arrange for necessary vaccinations and advise you on worming, flea treatment, neutering, micro-chipping, diet, pet insurance and other recommendations. Regular vet checks help to keep your kitten healthy as they grow and ensure that they get used to going to the vets. You may already be familiar with a local vet or friends may be able to recommend someone.

It is important that you find the right practice for you, so ask around and maybe even pop in to see what services they offer – some practices run nurse clinics for kittens to show you the basics, such as tooth brushing and similar. Make sure you register your kitten at the practice as soon as you can, in case they need to be seen urgently, and keep a note of the vet’s 24 hour emergency number. When you register, make an appointment for that all important first check-up.

Finally, we just want to wish you good luck and all the best with your new kitten from everyone at ROYAL CANIN®! We hope you have many long years of happiness with your new companion.
© ROYAL CANIN® SAS 2016. All rights reserved.

Written by: Hannah