Dear Critter Corner: My neighbor’s cat had a litter of kittens and I adopted a little female kitten named Miku that’s 8 weeks old. I’ve never had a cat before, where do I start with her care?

Congrats on the new addition to your family and home! It’s an exciting time with a new kitten, so much to learn and do together. First off, you’ll want to find a vet if you haven’t already and take Miku for her first check-up. In finding a vet, there are quite a few these days that are feline specific, providing quieter lobbies and exam areas, and specialists in feline care. The vet will do a pretty typical exam, checking Miku’s vital signs, taking Miku’s weight, and asking you about any medical issues Miku may have been having (weepy eyes, coughs, fleas, soft stool etc). At this point it will be a good time to ask the vet about the vaccination schedule for a kitten. Most kittens will receive their first vaccine between 6-8 weeks of age, and will need a schedule for the next set of vaccinations. Some of the vaccines may be more specific to your living situation and whether Miku is an indoor versus outdoor cat.

Once home, try to keep Miku secluded to one room of the home to help her get adjusted to her surroundings in a slow manner. This will help her to not get overwhelmed and hide, and will also help Miku find her litterbox and start to use it consistently. If needed, a good-sized bathroom can serve as a great transition for Miku before being able to explore the new home. Be sure to include water and food bowls, a bed, blanket for cooler nights, litterbox, and toys to help create a comfortable haven for Miku. Visit Miku regularly for plenty of pets and playtime and this will help strengthen the bond between you and your new furry family member.

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