Kitten Care – The Basics – How to Prepare


Introduction – Pros and cons of having cats

My wife and I definitely wanted kittens since we couldn’t leave a dog puppy at home while we were both at work or out. A lot of our friends have kittens and cats and after all our research, the pros of having cats as pets are as follows:

  • They’re extremely self sustaining. You need to ensure that you leave food and water for their meals and they’ll manage. (You still should spend time playing with your kittens and also just spending time being affectionate with them if you want them to grow into tender loving cats and not just animals)
  • They don’t bark and make loud noises like dogs when they’re displeased. A bit of mewing is normal though. They’ll communicate with you when they need to, such as when they’re hungry, or want to play, or want to be left alone.
  • Litter training. One of the major pros for us was that they manage their toilet activities with accuracy and neatness (overall). You’ll still have to deal with pee and poop, but with the right care initially, they’ll only pee and poop in their litter trays, in the soil provided, and cover it up, so you just have to make sure their litter trays and soil is cleaned once or preferably twice a day.
  • Cleanliness. No baths needed. Your household cats will groom themselves meticulously and make sure they’re soft, fluffy, and clean. If you’re really particular though, you can give your cats a warm sponge bath every three months or so.

The cons of having cats are pretty much standard. You obviously have to make some sacrifices at home if you’re adding infant members to the family. Just as you’d baby proof your house if you had a human child, you’ll have to cat proof your house when you get cats too. The cons are:

  • Cats like to play a lot. They like movement, and they like to hop, skip, and jump (these aren’t the cons, keep reading). Don’t leave small breakable objects on surfaces which they have access to. If they find out it moves, then they will most probably paw it off the surface to the floor to play with it more.
  • Furniture damage. Cats will definitely need to scratch surfaces that offer good resistance to their claws. They do this to mark territory, stretch, remove dead outer layers from their claws, etc. But it’s important that they have a scratching post ready. If they get accustomed to anything else like a particular chair or carpet? You can say goodbye to it in the long run.
  • Their claws can get pretty damn long and sharp. This isn’t really a con to me but more a point to note about cats. You can get them clipped at a vets or pet grooming store, or you could simply clip off the tips (ONLY the tips) of the claws to cause less damage to your skin or your sofas.

On the whole, you need to be ready for the responsibility of having a child, bringing them up properly, with love, care, and affection. You need to have lots of patience and tolerance towards these furry little fellows.

The Basic Equipment List

These are all items that we have and have already purchased and are using regularly for both our cats. They’re both doing fine and healthy, their fur is great, their moods and energy levels are excellent, and overall, they’re growing up nice and strong. Make sure you have all these items before you get your cat(s).

Food

For kittens between the age of 2 to 12 months, we have been feeding them the following items. Some are store bought, and some we make at home and supplement their food.

This is the tuna in jelly variant wet food from Whiskas. We use this on a daily basis.


This is the chicken in gravy variant wet food from Whiskas. This food Gundu liked a lot, but Kai didn’t. See which food your kittens prefer and then settle for that. Note how their poop changes with the food you give them also.


This is the dry food that we give our kittens. It makes for wonderful belly filler, just 20 grams or so per feeding and it lasts for a good amount of time.

To get them a slight break from the above list of food, we also tried Me-O ocean fish dry food:

They both liked Me-O dry food as well, but there’s some problems with this food that I noticed. I’ll highlight that later in this article.

We feed them thrice a day. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner as advised by various articles, books, and also practiced by our cat parent friends and family. Half a packet of wet food and about 15 to 20 grams of dry food mixed in a bowl is find for a single meal.

Home-Made Food

We also make some food for them at home from time to time. The standard is any meat broth. I boil chicken (with bone) in water and make a nice fatty stock. The stock is drained from the chicken (which I make into a dish for me to eat) and stored in an aluminum bottle. I pour in some broth with some boneless boiled chicken for them which they love. The broth can also be used with other boiled meats like beef, chicken liver, chicken heart, fish, (all boneless). I also give them broth with a serving of Whiskas dry food. Here is where I get to the downfall of Me-O dry food. It seems to absorb the broth quickly and lose its own taste, so the cats don’t eat it after drinking only the broth. They eat it later when they get hungry though. Me-O dry with Whiskas wet is fine.

You can also mix and match their food. Boiled white rice with whiskas wet, or boiled chopped liver or any boiled meat is also good. Our cats aren’t really fussy eaters, so as long its good meat, they’ll eat it. They don’t like curd or curd rice like some other cats do.

Treats

Treats are, well, treats. Use very sparingly because these are like drugs to your kittens. Only give it to them as a reward for specific good behaviour or good deeds. Sometimes if you’re just playing with them and they’re being extra nice to you, you might want to toss them a treat.

They absolutely love this. They come in little stringy pieces and I give half to Gundu and half to Kai whenever I treat them. Since Gundu is facing a bit of a territorial/litter sharing problem, he tends to poop just outside the litter tray. When he does poop in the litter, I give him a half treat!

There are various other flavors and treats available on Amazon. I haven’t tried them yet. Let me know if your cats like any other treats!

Litter Sand, Litter Tray, and Accessories

The most important aspect after food intake is food excretion, i.e. their pooping stations! If you have outdoor cats then this isn’t too much of a concern since they’ll go into the garden and do their business. The modern working couple however, will mostly stay in the urban to semi-urban apartment setup with possibly just balconies for outdoor experiences. In such a case, you’ll need a litter tray with litter sand. These are your cats’ toilets.

Litter Trays

We have a mix of both open and closed litter trays at home for our cats. Kai doesn’t have an issue using either but I’ve heard some cats like privacy and some cats like an open litter so they can keep a close eye of possible predators in the vicinity while they go.

We have two of these at home:

The simple open plastic trays are also available online but we managed to get those from the local “china bazaar” or plastic items shop.

Litter Sand

We have tried the following at home for our cats:

This is a medium grain litter. Clumps okay. No complaints from either cat. It’s supposed to be scented, but I don’t really get any harsh or strong smells from it


The other one we have is this Pura lavender scented litter. It was a value for money purchase because we got 20 kgs for 1000/- but I like this litter sand the least out of the three we have tried. I’m not sure if the one linked below is lavender scented as the one we got.

The third one is got is from the local pet shop, called Pet Pattern. It’s a 5 kg bag and cost 350/-. It’s medium grained bentonite litter which is the best clumping of all three, but it doesn’t control odour and contains some dust.

Litter Scoop

Any basic litter scoop will do. It’ll cost you around 100/- for a generic one from the local pet store or you could get a branded pack of two for 300/- (doorstep delivery):

You need to scoop through your litter tray and it’s contents and remove the clumped bits at least twice a day to keep the toilet serviceable for your kitty. If you leave it unattended, your cat will get agitated and will find some other place to pee and poop. Do your duty and keep it clean! Try to wash out the entire tray when you are replacing the entire contents. Fill up the tray with about 3 inches depth of litter sand.

Toys and Accessories

Now here’s the real important stuff to keep your cats happy. First rule is, they need to be happy and relaxed. For that you need to make sure their toilets are clean, they are fed on time, and lastly, given attention when they want and play with them when they want. We tried different toys like fluffy toys and stuff but it’s not worth it. Here’s the list of do-it-yourself toys at home for the babies:

  • Crushed up paper/foil ball. Just crush up a supermarket receipt (these work best) into a nicely hand crumpled ball and toss it to them. They will play with it for ages and this never fails to get their maximum attention. You can use it as a distraction tactic to exit the house also if your cats are runners. Foil can also be used but leave sharp edges! Don’t use newspaper because of the ink and the fact that it disintegrates very easily.
  • String on a stick or hanging string. You can use pieces of woolen string or soft rope (very important that it’s soft and not abraisive or they’ll get injured) to keep them occupied. You can tie that soft rope to a stick and hang the string above them to make them jump around and generally get to the thread.
  • Climbing areas. Cats love to climb! You’ll see them climbing the window grills, curtain roads, cupboards, shelves, and anywhere they can jump up to! Let them do it but make sure any breakable objects are removed from those surfaces.
  • Boxes/Cartons. Cats simply LOVE boxes and cartons. Just open a box in front of them and see them jump right in! Cut little holes and doors in the box walls to let them have even more fun!
  • Paper bags/Big polythene bags (polythene ONLY with strict supervision so they don’t choke/suffocate). They love to jump into paper bags and go for little walks in them around the room!

Here are some of their most fun things to do:

So as you can see, these are all easy home made toys that will give them the most joy. The only store bought relaxation item we got for them was this large scratching post:

The scratching post is essential if you want them to spare your furniture. Get them introduced to this really quick before they make a habit out of using furniture or carpets as a scratching post. Be ready for some damage to household items anyway. If we can’t provide them tree trucks and the outdoors, there will be some damage! Be nice to them all through.

We also got them this kitty harness:


It’s not easy to use harnesses on cats as they don’t like to be restricted or tied in any way. We tried this to take them on short walks outside our apartment in the corridor from time to time. Once they get used to it, we can take them to the ground floor to show them some soil and trees! Try to ensure that they are relaxed and not excited or frightened when you are putting on the harness. Use pieces of kitten treats to pacify them and reward them during the process.

We use Amazon for all our kitty requirements. Some of the items even have prime delivery options for next day delivery, which is a massive blessing if you don’t have time to go hunting for pet stores across the city and braving traffic. This is basically the first 101 article for Indian cat parents who had similar queries and questions in their mind about adopting kittens like we did! Hope you found it helpful. Mail me at rj@ranjanmatthew.com if you have any specific queries and I’ll try to help you.