6~week kitten care questions

Skye839

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Hello! I’ve posted before about a little kitten I’m adopting. She was supposed to come home at the end of the month at 9 weeks old, but instead I’ll be receiving her in a few days which will make her only 6.5~weeks old.



I have never cared for a kitten this young so I want to be prepared and have some questions:



  1. Feeding: her and her littermates have already been eating solid food for over a week. When she comes home, I’m wondering if I should mix solid food with kitten milk replacement (as she’s still very young and probably needs the extra nutrients?) I’ve read in a thread that some make a kitten “slurry” with half kitten milk half solid food, is this a good option and if so until what age should I add the milk? How many times should I feed her a day and how much? Also, where I live there isn’t high quality wet food, would softened or normal kitten kibble be ok?
  2. Litterbox: I’ve been told the kittens “sometimes use the litter box, sometimes not”. Are there any tips to enforce the litterbox use for kittens as young or is it something she’ll just eventually grasp on her own?
  3. Socializing: since she’s so young I understand I have to put effort into her socialization and I plan to spend a lot of time with her, handle her, play with her, etc. Do you have any tips regarding this? I have two cats at home and I’m planning to introduce them slowly (separated at first, scent swapping, rewarding when close, etc.) and if that goes well maybe they’ll help show her the ropes too?


Disclaimer: I have been educated in my previous post about the age kittens should be separated from their mothers (12~ weeks rather than 8 as I thought) and I am fully aware 6.5 weeks is way too early. I’m saddened about it, but I cannot change these circumstances (though I’ve tried). I’m already attached to the kitten and not taking her in just means she’ll be adopted by someone else, she and her siblings need new homes regardless, so please don’t suggest I don’t adopt her. I would appreciate if the focus of the replies were to be about the questions so I can care for her as best as I can, rather than dwell on things that cannot be changed or passing judgement. I will try to forward the advice to the other adopters as well.



Sorry for the lengthy post and thank you in advance!
 

game misconduct

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only advice i can give is spend the time and patience in getting her used to you trimming her nails or messing with her paws in general(popping her claws out etc.)And cleaning(wiping) her butt your probably gonna have to teach her how to play nice maybe :biggrin:congrats on your new kitten to diont forget to show her off here with pictures
 

Sarthur2

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Why are you getting her so early? She really needs to stay with her mom for 8-10 weeks. What’s up? Is she even weaned yet?
 

Sarthur2

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Here are helpful videos:



Let us know specific questions once you have the kitten.
 
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Skye839

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only advice i can give is spend the time and patience in getting her used to you trimming her nails or messing with her paws in general(popping her claws out etc.)And cleaning(wiping) her butt your probably gonna have to teach her how to play nice maybe :biggrin:congrats on your new kitten to diont forget to show her off here with pictures
Thanks for the advice! Especially about her getting used to having her paws/nails touched, hopefully will make the trimming easier in the future (one of my adult cats HATES it and I have to wait til he’s asleep, lol). I will post pictures once she’s here of course 😃
 

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The disadvantage of getting them so young is they don't learn from their siblings how to play nice. But you have two cats so they should teach her her manners. There will be hissing, growling, and swatting, but the young kitten needs this to learn limits. Cats are hardwired not to hurt very young kittens but be prepared to intervene if the play becomes too rough, she is awfully little. She may not be able to hold her bladder to reach litterboxes, so make sure there are plenty sitting around and eliminate them as she gets older. Another thing to do is to keep her in a small room until she consistently uses the box. As for food, feed often and as much as she wants, there is no limit as to how much kittens can eat, they use way too much energy. I would offer wet food and a bowl of kitten replacement milk, and if she is going to eat some kibble when she is grown, leave some kitten kibble out for her. Watch your other cats though, they would gain weight on it. Or you could just wait until she is older and can eat theirs, that should be soon. Bless you, for giving her a home. Be prepared for the whirlwind that kittens are!
 
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Skye839

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Why are you getting her so early? She really needs to stay with her mom for 8-10 weeks. What’s up? Is she even weaned yet?
I understand that completely, the thing is I sadly don’t have a say in it because I’m just adopting the kitten and I’m not the momma cat’s owner 😞 Basically, the owner’s cat got accidentally pregnant, has some health issues and is soon going to be spayed. There is more info on my other post if you or anyone else cares to read more about it. Originally, she would keep the kittens til 8-9 weeks (which is still somewhat early) but she told me yesterday she’s going to rehome them earlier (kittens will be 6.5 weeks old). I don’t know the full extent for the reasons, but despite my attempts to tell her to keep them longer with the mother (and explaining why), she will not be doing so. That’s why I wrote the disclaimer, I know things should be different but I cannot change the circumstances, I just know a 6~ week old kitten will come to me at the end of the week and I want to be informed on how to properly care for her.

As I mentioned, the owner told me the kittens have been eating solid food for over a week now, but since they are still with their mother I’m assuming they are also having her milk, so I don’t know if that classes as fully-weaned. Thank you for pointing me to those videos, they are very useful. I’ve seen the lady transitioned 4-week kittens into solid (wet) food in a week. Since the kitten is already eating solid food, should I not go through the kitten milk + food slurry thing at all and just keep feeding her solid? What about my question about softened dry kibble? Around here I’m only finding wet food around the quality of Whiskas for kittens (and I haven’t heard the best things about it), so I was wondering if higher quality dry kibble (softened or not) would work for the kitten. Also, I’m still not sure about the quantity and frequency of the feedings.
 
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Skye839

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The disadvantage of getting them so young is they don't learn from their siblings how to play nice. But you have two cats so they should teach her her manners. There will be hissing, growling, and swatting, but the young kitten needs this to learn limits. Cats are hardwired not to hurt very young kittens but be prepared to intervene if the play becomes too rough, she is awfully little. She may not be able to hold her bladder to reach litterboxes, so make sure there are plenty sitting around and eliminate them as she gets older. Another thing to do is to keep her in a small room until she consistently uses the box. As for food, feed often and as much as she wants, there is no limit as to how much kittens can eat, they use way too much energy. I would offer wet food and a bowl of kitten replacement milk, and if she is going to eat some kibble when she is grown, leave some kitten kibble out for her. Watch your other cats though, they would gain weight on it. Or you could just wait until she is older and can eat theirs, that should be soon. Bless you, for giving her a home. Be prepared for the whirlwind that kittens are!
Hi again! Thank you for popping around. I hadn’t read this before my last reply, it’s good to know about the feeding, I’ll just offer her food throughout the day if she’s willing to eat it. I remember the introduction between my other two, there was a lot of hissing indeed but I also did many things wrong like just straight up putting the kitten beside him 🤦🏼‍♀️ I intend to keep her on a separate room for a bit to get her accustomed and the others to get used of her smell first (I see it’s also helpful for the litter training, thanks for letting me know) and I should probably feed her there too, as the other cats will most likely try to steal her food. I’ll ask the same I’ve asked Sarthur, should I use wet food despite not having the best quality available (like Whiskas) or will softened dry kibble do?
 

di and bob

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I would do both. softened dry kibble for one or two of the meals, and wet, even Whiskas, too. That way she can have the best of both. Once she's a little older you can switch her to what you want. Make sure she has access to plenty of kitten formula or water. She'll do fine, I have gotten many kittens even younger than her and they turned out fine. Especially where your little girl has 'step-parents' to watch and learn from.
 

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Kitty will accept the box to eliminate if it smells like that's the proper place. Put something soiled with her urine and/or scat (a small piece is fine) in the litter box. The litter box needs to be kitty height. Some have used disposable aluminum roasting pans for the purpose, and I've used a shallow plastic storage box. Also, don't use clumping litter when training--kittens sometimes will try to eat the litter, and we don't want it clumping up inside her!

Despite cats' propensity to do so, you might have to show her how to dig in the litter. If you take her paw and make little digging motions with it, she'll get the knack of it.

Kitty teeth are still coming in for her and softened food is preferable. You can continue to soften dry food with KMR or water, and she should be able to eat kitten formula wet food, the kitten formulas being more nutrient-dense than regular food because kittens have little innards. It's easier on their gizzards rather than eating huge quantities of adult cat foods. Some amount of milk-based food is desirable, because she's growing lots of little kitty bones at this time.

6 1/2 weeks is okay, even though it's not so desirable from a socialization standpoint. I've had kittens as early as a month in age, and they did fine.
 
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Skye839

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I would do both. softened dry kibble for one or two of the meals, and wet, even Whiskas, too. That way she can have the best of both. Once she's a little older you can switch her to what you want. Make sure she has access to plenty of kitten formula or water. She'll do fine, I have gotten many kittens even younger than her and they turned out fine. Especially where your little girl has 'step-parents' to watch and learn from.
Kitty will accept the box to eliminate if it smells like that's the proper place. Put something soiled with her urine and/or scat (a small piece is fine) in the litter box. The litter box needs to be kitty height. Some have used disposable aluminum roasting pans for the purpose, and I've used a shallow plastic storage box. Also, don't use clumping litter when training--kittens sometimes will try to eat the litter, and we don't want it clumping up inside her!

Despite cats' propensity to do so, you might have to show her how to dig in the litter. If you take her paw and make little digging motions with it, she'll get the knack of it.

Kitty teeth are still coming in for her and softened food is preferable. You can continue to soften dry food with KMR or water, and she should be able to eat kitten formula wet food, the kitten formulas being more nutrient-dense than regular food because kittens have little innards. It's easier on their gizzards rather than eating huge quantities of adult cat foods. Some amount of milk-based food is desirable, because she's growing lots of little kitty bones at this time.

6 1/2 weeks is okay, even though it's not so desirable from a socialization standpoint. I've had kittens as early as a month in age, and they did fine.
Hi di and bob and Vince, sorry for the late reply, this week has been a bit crazy! But thank you, your advice on the food and litter has been great, I managed to find some good wet kitten food to give her for a while and plan to mix in some dry kitten kibble later on. Also got her kitten-safe litter!
 
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Skye839

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The kitten has come home today and she’s a sweetheart, she’s been eating well, playing and napping since she came home.

My one concern is that she hasn’t peed or pooped
D9E919A2-8168-4FF5-8A05-069CFBBE538A.jpeg
yet and it’s been 6 hours (she’s had two wet meals with a bit of added water and also sipped a bit of water alone). At least that I’ve noticed, none in the litterbox and none in the newspapers I laid around in the room she’s at. I smelled/felt the blanket and towel she has available and didn’t notice anything there either. I think she’s probably just getting accustomed to the new setting but want to know if it’s normal. I placed her in the litterbox a few times and grabbed her paw as if to scratch but nothing. Any insight about it would be very appreciated!

(Adding pics so you get to see her sweet lil face! Also, the wall-eyes she had at 3 weeks seemed to have corrected and in fact been just a young kitten-eyes thing 😄)
 

vince

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She's probably still overwhelmed by the new living conditions. You most likely won't see her use the box for a while.

The litter box should be in some out of the way place where there's little traffic and where there won't be big things looming overhead. A corner of the bathroom is often a good location. The feeding location should be far away from the litter box.

A ticking clock or heartbeat toy might make her feel a little better. Alternatively, you could play a radio softly on a talk station.

A little stuffed toy all her own may be soothing, too. You can even make one out of a couple sweat socks one inside the other and tied into knots.

She is a cute little fuzzball!
 
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Skye839

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She's probably still overwhelmed by the new living conditions. You most likely won't see her use the box for a while.

The litter box should be in some out of the way place where there's little traffic and where there won't be big things looming overhead. A corner of the bathroom is often a good location. The feeding location should be far away from the litter box.

A ticking clock or heartbeat toy might make her feel a little better. Alternatively, you could play a radio softly on a talk station.

A little stuffed toy all her own may be soothing, too. You can even make one out of a couple sweat socks one inside the other and tied into knots.

She is a cute little fuzzball!
Thank you! I agree she’s a cutie 😝 Yes, it was just the shock of the rehoming. She did end up peeing a whole pool… on one of the few spots uncovered, when I wasn’t with her lol. I reduced her space for when I’m not around with a playpen I had for my dog, I’m still testing her escaping abilities, so far so good! Just some moments ago I saw her pacing and meowing and thought she might’ve wanted to poop so I placed her in the litter box and she eventually did, so I’m relieved about that! She did pee next to the litter box right after that when I was leaving the pen, not sure how to tackle that? I added a couple smaller trays in case it might help. For it being her first day here I think she’s doing pretty well, though! Thanks for the soothing advice too!

On another note, I spotted a couple fleas on her and some flea dirt (not awfully infested, but I know it should be treated fast). Vet recommended Frontline spray but I’ve seen many recommend baths instead of going the chemical way, any advice on that front?
 

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If she urinated on something you can put under the litter in the box, that might help her figure out where she should pee. Clean the area where she relieved herself with am enzyme cleaner to remove all trace of the urine smell, or she may return there to go, cats being strongly scent-driven. She does seem doing fairly well--just don't get discouraged.

I generally get Fipronil for fleas in the pet supply aisle at the grocery store. It seems to work fine for my cats, but they're all grown (don't recall exactly when you can treat a kitten topically). You do have to treat with a topical flea med several times because it won't kill flea eggs and there will be subsequent hatches. A bath with a bit of blue Dawn dish soap is the recommended flea treatment for small kittens. Pick the fleas out of the bathwater and drop them in a small separate container, also filled with the Dawn bath solution.
 

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You can put a kitten tube of Frontline or Advantage II for kittens on the back of her neck for fleas.
 
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Skye839

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If she urinated on something you can put under the litter in the box, that might help her figure out where she should pee. Clean the area where she relieved herself with am enzyme cleaner to remove all trace of the urine smell, or she may return there to go, cats being strongly scent-driven. She does seem doing fairly well--just don't get discouraged.

I generally get Fipronil for fleas in the pet supply aisle at the grocery store. It seems to work fine for my cats, but they're all grown (don't recall exactly when you can treat a kitten topically). You do have to treat with a topical flea med several times because it won't kill flea eggs and there will be subsequent hatches. A bath with a bit of blue Dawn dish soap is the recommended flea treatment for small kittens. Pick the fleas out of the bathwater and drop them in a small separate container, also filled with the Dawn bath solution.
You can put a kitten tube of Frontline or Advantage II for kittens on the back of her neck for fleas.
Thank you both! I decided to use the frontline spray for now as the vet assured me it can be used on young kittens with the right dosage, if I see it persists I’ll go for a dawn bath.

Woke up today to her going to the bathroom right next to the litter box again despite cleaning and following the suggestions🥲 She does go inside when I “force” her in the box, so here’s to hoping she’ll get the hang of it after making her evacuate in it a few times 🤞🏼
 

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Frontline doesn't kill them instantly. You will need to keep doing "flea inspection" for a few days. Change out her bedding and wash it frequently. You might need to flea spray the area around her bed if it's on a rug or carpet, too. Those little buggers can be persistent!
 

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For the litter box, put the kitten in it frequently, and grab their front paws to show them how to dig, and then turn them around so their butt is over the hole. Repeat frequently. Also, try to keep them in one room with the box. It might be more confusing if they have to go and find it vs if it's always in sight.

That's what I've always done with stray kittens I caught, and they picked it up fast.
 
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