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First steps

First steps

In your kitten’s first 12 months, he’ll grow to be up to 20 times larger than he was at birth! Watching him grow up and explore his surroundings is fascinating, and lots of fun. Find out more about his path to adulthood with our growing up guide below.

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Month 1

There's a lot to look forward to when raising a kitten. Newborns tend to grow very fast and will double in weight by the end of their first week. Then, at around two weeks, they will open their eyes to the big wide world for the very first time - although everything will look a little blurry at first!

During the first three to four weeks, kittens rely on mother's milk for sustenance as they aren't quite ready for solid food. After that, you can start introducing food like GO-CAT® Kitten, but they will continue to rely partially on their mother’s milk until approximately seven to eight weeks. It's best to keep a very small amount of moistened GO-CAT® Kitten available at all times, changing the food frequently to ensure that your kitten enjoys it at its freshest and tastiest.

Because pregnant and nursing cats have the same nutritional needs as growing cats, you should preferably feed their mother with a kitten diet such as GO-CAT® Kitten. It is important for kittens to discover and have access to the food their mother eats, as it helps a smoother, stress-free weaning.

The primary period of socialisation begins at two or three weeks old, when a cat's lifelong level of comfort and companionship with humans is determined. Worming should be done every month for his first six months, then every three months. After he reaches his first year, he should be wormed twice a year.

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Month 2

The second month is when kittens begin to learn what is ‘normal’ and ‘safe’. Between four and eight weeks, they begin to enjoy playing with their littermates. This is called social play and typically involves chasing, hiding and pouncing. They also start to exhibit their predatory instincts, which they learn from their mothers.

Your kitten should be completely weaned from their mother's milk by the end of month two. Make sure you provide him with small amounts of kitten food such as GO-CAT® Kitten at all times, changing the food frequently to ensure freshness. Clean, fresh drinking water should always be available. To help him stay happy and healthy, it is very important that your kitten drinks enough water each day.

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Month 3

Between eight and twelve weeks, a kitten's interest in social play with litter mates or other cats will be overtaken by their curiosity for toys and household items. Check our Tips and Advice to see how you and your cat can make the most of playtime together.

This is also the time when you can enjoy introducing your kitten to other pets and members of your family. It's best to make the introductions slowly, and to ensure that children know the new member of the family is not a toy and must be treated with care!

Your kitten should be vaccinated before the age of 12 weeks, so make sure to book an appointment with your vet.

At three months, your kitten is growing really fast and his nutritional needs are increasing everyday. You can continue to moisten his food with warm water, although you may find you no longer need to.

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Month 4

At 12 to 16 weeks, kittens begin to feel at home in their new environment and start bonding with the people in it. It's a good idea to train your kitten to be handled and groomed every day to help him feel comfortable with human contact. Like humans dental health is an important topic. Special pet toothpaste and toothbrushes are available, but ask your vet for advice first.

Spend as much time as you can having fun with him, but do allow him to rest after playtime – it requires a lot of energy!

And remember, curious kittens can be a little mischievous and may chew on inappropriate household objects. Make sure to kitten-proof your home in order to make his adventures as safe as possible!

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Month 5

At this age, you’ll notice that your kitten’s eye-paw coordination has improved, and you’ll enjoy watching him start to ‘hunt’ playfully. Toys will continue to be a source of fun and enjoyment.

This is also the ideal time to ask your vet when to plan the neutering/spaying of your kitten. Please note, at this age you should keep your kitten indoors to avoid any unwanted litters in females, and to prevent accidents and wandering in males.

Continue to help keep your kitten happy and healthy by feeding a kitten product such as GO-CAT® Kitten in two to three meals a day, or as required.

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Month 6

The sixth month is a particularly exciting time for bonding and interaction. Although kittens may become less interested in play, given a stimulating environment and plenty of encouragement, most will still have a healthy appetite for playing and exploring! Find out how to make the most of playtime together with our playtime tips.

Your kitten may still be filling out, but growth will begin to slow down quite considerably after six months. As a result, his nutritional needs will change too. Make sure you read the on-pack feeding guidelines to ensure you’re giving him the right amount for his age.

And don't forget to look out for the arrival of your kitten's shiny new teeth - 30 in all! -which should be developing by this stage.

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Month 7

Your kitten will continue to grow, but at a much slower rate than in his first six months. At this age, he might already be sexually active, so it is recommended to make an appointment with your vet before this time to neuter/spay your kitten. That way you can prevent any unwanted litters in females, and help stop fights and roaming in males.

Fleas can also become irritatingly common even in the cleanest of homes. So make sure you keep a look out and use a kitten-friendly treatment.

To help keep your kitten healthy and happy, continue to feed a kitten product such as GO-CAT® Kitten in two to three meals a day, or as required.

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Month 8

Even if your kitten looks fully-grown, there's still a little way to go! His eye-paw coordination is continuing to develop, and you'll be delighted to see how agile he is becoming.

You'll also have noticed that your kitten has an incredible spring. As he grows bigger, his targets will get higher. Take care to provide him with a safe living environment, and put potentially dangerous items well out of reach. Once your kitten starts playing outside, consider fitting a cat flap so he can happily come and go as he pleases.

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Month 9

Although your kitten might seem grown up, he still needs extra nutrients if he’s going to carry that playful spring in his step into adulthood! That’s why you need to continue feeding a kitten product such as GO-CAT® Kitten for the duration of his first year.

As kittens mature they may appear more independent. But don't be fooled —they still need daily social interaction. That's why playtime continues to be important, and daily exercise sessions are essential to help keep your kitten active.

At nine months, your kitten may also start to show a paw preference. 49.5% of cats favour their right paws, 40.4% prefer the left, and 10.1% are ambidextrous*. It can be quite fun working out which paw your kitten favours!

*Source: Tan U, Kutlu N., Atatürk University, Medical Faculty, Institute of Physiology, Erzurum, Turkey. [www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]

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Month 10

Kittens typically reach their full adult height between 10 and 12 months, although some long haired breeds, like Maine Coon and Persian cats, may not fully develop until they reach 15 to 18 months.

Indoor kittens actively seek stimulation and remain very curious. To help keep your kitten's bright outlook on life, provide regular opportunities to play explore and climb. Who knows, they may even become a good retriever, happily chasing and returning small toys! Take a look at our Do It Yourself games section for ideas.

At this stage, kittens and cats are also territorial. If there's more than one in your household, make sure you position litter boxes, food and water bowls, as well as resting areas, in several locations around your home.

Continue to give your kitten the nutrition he needs to help stay happy and healthy by feeding a kitten product such as GO-CAT® Kitten in two to three meals a day, or as required.

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Month 11

By now, most kittens will have developed their own little personalities. But handling and social interaction can still strengthen their relationships with people. And because they're so bright, you can train them to perform all sorts of entertaining tricks, and even respond to commands such as ‘come’ and ‘sit’! With a little bit of patience and good timing, training can be lots of fun for both of you.

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Month 12​

Congratulations! Your little friend is now a fully-fledged grown up!

To help keep your cat healthy and vital, continue to provide toys and activities for stimulation. After all, daily play, exercise and social interaction are essential for his health and happiness. Regular handling and interaction will also allow you to monitor his wellbeing closely.

Now’s also the time to switch him over to a ‘grown-up’ diet such as GO-CAT® Adult. Discover our great range of dry recipes, each 100% complete and balanced to help support your cat’s health, vitality and happiness. Make the transition gradually, slowly increasing the amount of the new food over a period of at least five days.

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