You have a cuddly new kitten and you want to learn more about kitten care and training. Let us look at a few cases:

1. You own mother cat and the kittens belong to her 

This can be the best situation or the worst situation. If mother cat is well trained and well behaved, her kittens will follow her lead and you will have no trouble. If not...

Still, all is not lost. As long as you successfully train mother cat, her kittens will fall in line. You just have to be patient, that's all. And keep a bottle of aspirin handy to deal with the inevitable headaches.

2. You have a nursing mother cat and an orphaned kitten 

This is very similar to point #1. Except that you first need to get your cat to accept the kitten. Just rub the orphan with mother cat's own kittens to get their scent on the orphan. Then place the orphan with the other kittens and supervise to make sure everything goes well.

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Another way to get mother cat's scent on the orphan is to put a little drop of soft, unsalted butter (not margarine) on the orphan. Rub a little dollop on its head and sides, so that mother cat will give it a good lick.

While there is no guarantee, many cat breeders have found that mother cats do accept orphaned kittens.

3. You only have the kitten 

In this case, you will have to hand-raise the kitten. The first thing is to get her to a vet for a thorough check-up. Ask him for specific advice on raising your particular kitten. If you cannot afford a trip to the vet, check with your local animal shelter or SPCA for advice.

In general, you will need to feed your kitten KMR (Kitten Milk Replacement) before slowly weaning it to solid food. Do not use cow's milk, as many kittens are lactose-intolerant.

You will want to train your kitten in these 3 areas to prevent future problem behavior:

  • Litter training to use the litter box
  • Socialization so they do not bite and scratch you during playtime
  • Do not scratch your furniture

Kitten litter training is almost the same as litter training an adult cat. However, here are a few things to beware of:

  • Get a shallow litter box - avoid automatic cat litter boxes.
  • Do not use clumping cat litter or crystal cat litter.
  • Sand is usually the safest litter. Some brands of clay or biodegradable litter may also be suitable. Check the label.

Cat biting/scratching often occur because kittens are not properly socialized. A kitten in a litter quickly learns not to bite or scratch too hard during playtime. Over-aggressive kittens quickly find themselves without playmates. When you play with your kitten, you should be careful to do the same - if she bites or scratches too much or too hard, you should immediately stop playing and ignore her.

Training your kitten to use the scratching post is also very important. Before she forms the habit of going after your furniture, you should get her used to the scratching post. This kind of scratching is a part of her nature and necessary exercise for her claws and spine. It is also a way of marking her territory. Like her litter box, her scratching post should not be moved around your house.

If you properly care for and bond with your kitten, you will have an excellent companion for a good many years. Train her right, and she will never give you any trouble.

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