Grooming, Bathing, Socializing

Grooming & Bathing

Kittens should be kept clean and will often need bathing since they are so messy. Less is more for bathing kittens.

Try to spot clean by only rinsing the kitten with warm water where he is dirty, such as his bottom. Make sure to not get a lot of water on his head, especially the eyes, nose and ears. If there is food stuck on his face, use a warm damp cloth.

Kittens cannot be put back into their home until they are completely dry. You can use a blow dryer on the lowest setting after towel drying.

Socializing Your Foster Kitten

Socialization is critical for young kittens, and they will need multiple short socialization sessions on a daily basis, as well as playtime and enrichment to help them learn to enjoy being around people.

Please follow these steps for socializing foster kittens:

    • Keep the kittens confined to a dog crate in a quiet room for the first few days to make sure they are eating well & adjusting to the new environment. Offer them their carrier without its door or a cardboard box inside the crate and cover the crate with a sheet so they feel more secure.
    • The crate should be in a secure, cat-proof room where kittens cannot run away and hide once you start letting them out of the crate.
    • Once they are eating well and comfortable, and after the initial 14-day quarantine, allow them to explore this cat-proofed area when supervised; keep them confined when not supervised.
  • Make sure to use every meal time as a socialization event. Offer kittens food and sit with them while they eat. Eventually work toward putting the food on your finger and having them eat it from there. Once they are comfortable with this, slowly bring the food closer to you so that they have to climb on your       lap to get the food. Progress to petting them while they eat, starting with their face and shoulders. Eventually work on handling more and more and   then finally, picking up. (See how-to resource at the end of this guide.)
  • Short socialization sessions (3-5 minutes) several times a day are better than one or two long sessions.
  • Once the kittens become social with you, have friends or family interact with them too, so that they learn to be social with everyone
  • Work on getting them used to household noises and voices by slowly introducing them (i.e. talking in a normal voice, laughing, opening cabinets, etc.)
  • Always pair food or playtime with your presence, whether or not you are touching/interacting with them.
  • Give them safe objects to explore, such as paper bags and cardboard boxes.
  • Do not allow them to play with your hands or feet. This will encourage play biting which will continue and be painful once they get older.
  • Allow them to walk on different surfaces and explore when supervised.

Feline Foster Care Content:

Overview: Is Fostering Right for You?   

Preparing Your Home and Family                     

Getting Acquainted

Kitten Growth Milestones

Daily Care for Moms with Kittens

Daily Care for Orphaned Kittens

Grooming, Bathing, Socializing

Cleaning & Sanitizing

Medical Information & Concerns

Print & Post Resources for Caregivers

More Foster Resources on ASPCApro

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