Getting a new kitten is an exciting time. New owners must be aware that this is the most important time to establish routines that will ensure a healthy kitten and cat.
One extremely important step that all new owners must take is adhering to a schedule of kitten vaccines. Kittens form an immunity to most diseases naturally when they drink their mother's milk. However, this immunity only lasts a few short weeks. Vaccinations are designed to boost the cat's immunity once this protection wears off. Typically, vaccinations are given at 8, 12 and 16 weeks, but this schedule may vary depending on the breed and other factors. These booster shots protect against upper respiratory infection in cats, feline distemper, rabies and more. Discuss your kitten’s lifestyle with your vet to determine if they may benefit from vaccination against feline leukemia or other infectious diseases.
A cat's behavior and personality are also developed during the first several weeks of life, so it's important that owners pay close attention to how their kitten is reacting to and socializing in its new environment. Cats are naturally curious, but don't let the kitten go too far too quickly. Initially it is a good idea to give the kitten a room or area of the house it can call "home” and then gradually extend the territory as it becomes familiar. This is also an important time for training the kitten. Poor behavior can be punished with spray bottles or loud noises, but don't get too harsh and good behavior should be rewarded with treats. Your veterinarian can make further recommendations for this important period in a cat's life. Additional tips on raising a healthy kitten.