Video:Your Kitten's First Yearwith Franny Syufy
Learn all about a kitten's first year and what happens during that time. Here, see helpful information about a kitten's first year.See Transcript
Transcript:Your Kitten's First Year
What Happens During a Kitten's First Year?A kitten's first year is vital to his ultimate physical development. Equally important is the human-feline bonding that will take place in the early weeks, which will set the pace, not only for your relationship with your cat, but also for his or her unique personality development.
How Long Should a Kitten Stay With Its Mother?Under ideal circumstances, a kitten should remain with his mother for at least 12 to 16 weeks. Although the mother will start weaning her kittens sometime between five and seven weeks, the additional time helps the kittens learn socialization skills.
The First Six Weeks of the Kitten's LifeThe all-important first six weeks in a cat's life will accomplish much in determining his personality and character for the rest of his life. Healthwise, this period is also extremely important to the developing kitten, as very young kittens are susceptible to a number of threats, such as fleas and URIs.
Seven to Twelve Weeks of a Kitten's First YearKittens start developing their social skills during this time, by observing their mother, by play with other kittens and cats, or in a one-cat family, by playing and interacting with their humans. Your kitten will need his first set of shots by eight weeks, and the second set three or four weeks later. If an initial veterinary exam was not done at the time of his adoption, he should also be tested for worms. Topical flea treatment can be started safely at eight weeks.
Three to Six Months of a Kitten's LifeSomewhere around four months, your kitten may start losing his baby teeth, as the adult teeth develop. His gums may be painful, and this would be an excellent time to start a program of dental care, by gently massaging his gums with gauze. Plastic drinking straws are also a proven aid to teething, and make for great interactive play with your kitten. Kittens will start establishing their place in the "social ranking order" of your house during this time. Your kitten is still growing during this time, and it is not unusual to see a previously plump fluffball of a kitten suddenly grow long and lanky - then taller - and finally flesh out again. Kittens should continue to eat kitten food during this phase of growth - they need the additional nutrients for strong bones, health teeth and supple muscles. Your kitten can, and should, be spayed or neutered between three and six months. Cats' sexual maturity can vary, and both female and male kittens as young as four or five months have been known to become sexually active.
Six to Twelve Months of a Kitten's First YearBy the age of 12 months, your cat will have attained the physical growth of a 15 year old human teenager, and he will undoubtedly start showing some of the same personality attributes of that age. Like a human teenager, he is testing the waters of adulthood to see what it feels like. Be patient with him and give him all the affection and love he will take, but do it on his terms. Your feline youngster will continue to grow and develop for another year, and some breeds (Maine Coons are a notable one) are not fully developed for four years. Whatever the ultimate size of your cat, don't lose sight of the fact that his overall health and well-being are of prime importance.
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