Kitten Care – Introducing Food and Litter Box

This little fluffy girl will be four weeks old this week and she has in the last 24 hours started to give signs that she might like to try eating something besides just being a “drink milk” from mom girl..

I like to start my kittens (and puppies for that matter) on warm scrambled egg as their first meals. Here is the thing as soon as the wee ones start eating real food, the momma cat stops cleaning up bathroom wise.

So learning how to eat food and learning to use the litter box are tied hand in hand..   I was not planning on writing this post until something very sad crossed over my face book feed two days ago.

At one of our local farm/feral cat saving programs, wrote about the sad passing of a little white kitten due to impact as she was a young one, found hungry and some kind folks took her in without a lot of kitten knowledge and they gave her milk and a used their regular clumping litter and put her in a crate..

Sadly, she drank her milk, and being very hungry, she looked for what else she could eat and eat the clumping litter which of course was found at the vet after she was dropped off at the rescue and the impact was found at the vet.. they did what they could but she passed away within 48 hours.

That was hard enough but folks started writing not so nice things on the rescues page about how did this happen.. The folks who found her where trying to help and it certainly was not the rescues or the vets that let this kitten down.. it was however didn’t take care of momma cat and her kittens!

Then yesterday I went looking for non-clumping litter, prefer the kind that is pellet form to start the litter box training for Leeloo   I went though three stores and finally had to drive one town over to get to a “pet” store and there was only one kind.. wow. I had not idea how much harder it had gotten to get this..  I ended up with a new product to me, pellet form but based on walnut shells..

So when I sat down to write this morning and went what do I want to talk about today.. and kitten/litter box came to mind, I went.. no, come on.. recipes, garden,

Nope.. my mind and my fingers went.. kittens..  So a little background on me when it comes to cats/kittens. I was raised on a farm and we had barn cats BUT my mother was a firm believer in that old (very wrong) myth that you should never touch newborn kittens or the mother cat will leave them, so we never really started playing with or working with the kittens till they were at least a few weeks old.. being kids and that we had a milk cow and feed out warm fresh milk, they got friendly pretty fast. or at least some of them did. we always had a few more “shadow” wilder cats on the farm.

Then as an adult, I did some foster work with both cats and kittens or expecting moms. I always wanted to breed and show cats and did for a few years (I was one of those that held the kittens for a few extra weeks and placed them already altered) so I have helped birth out and raise a lot of kittens between breeding and farm/rescue over the year.

I am very hands on. I am right in there during setting up the birthing box to getting the kittens nursing to  Weight check’s daily for the kittens.

Besides birth, the most at risk time in a safe in the house litter of kittens is that week of introducing food and litter boxes.  This is the time when any underlying health issues with solid food will show up, any issues with bowl will show up..

No matter how well fed a kitten is.. it explores its world by tasting it and chewing it.. when they are introduced to litter, they will try it.. it’s just totally normal kitten thing to do..

What we need to do is.. NOT have clumping litter in that box while they are learning what it’s for.  Once they are well settled on their wet/dry food and have used the litter box a few times.. you are good to go..

At that point you can slowly transfer them over to clumping..

Now let’s go back to food for a minute.. Please do buy a good quality kitten food, you do not need to buy wet food unless you want to.. for a frugal tip, just buy good kitten food and add the water yourself.

Place a small amount of kitten food.. 1 TBSP per kitten is a good starting amount, adjust as needed, and pour hot water over top of it. As you can see in the photo, just cover the kibble and let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes.

Normal Healthy kittens and puppies should be offered food 4x a day from the 4 to 8 or 9 week stage.. typically by the time they are 8 to 10 weeks and ready to be rehomed.. they are down to three times a day (I however when working with my own keep to the four times a day till 12 weeks)

Once the food has soaked and puffed.. you are good to go 🙂 to feed your kitten/kittens, but remember after they eat to take up any leftover wetted foods and either allow momma cat to clean it up or give to your hound or throw it away. otherwise the wet food at room temp will turn bad. Always use a new clean dish each time you make a new batch.

And please remember the most important thing of all..


Enjoy your kitten! Take lots of photos.. they are only small for a very short time!



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8 Responses to Kitten Care – Introducing Food and Litter Box

  1. valbjerke says:

    As all our cats are outdoor/barn cats – the mommas teach them….however in the winter several of them like to hang out in the barn by the wood stove. I put down a shallow box of bedding sawdust for litter (I really don’t want to be scraping up cat poop even if it is just the barn) and they use that no problem. I do have two cats that are allowed in the house – and on occasion when they want to come in, I don’t provide litter – they simply let me know when they want out. Being very hands on such as you are makes for much tamer kittens….but hubby usually wins that contest in the winter when he’s in the barn. I’ve often found him taking a quick ‘cat nap’ by the wood stove – literally covered in sleeping cats and kittens 😄

  2. onedogrunning says:

    Just a couple of thoughts… Unmedicated chick crumble makes great, safe clumping litter for kittens, and leaving water-soaked dry food out for longer than a few hours is considered dangerous as it becomes a breeding ground for bacteria. Beautiful little kitten!

  3. bluestempond says:

    What a calendar cat! Just adorable.

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