Mental and Physical Development
Appetite Loss At 18 weeks of age, a kitten is reaching the first phases of sexual maturity. Your kitten may periodically lose its appetite at this time due to hormonal changes if he or she has not yet been spayed or neutered. However, it is not normal for kittens to lose their appetites for more than a few days at a time -- or to completely stop eating.
A loss of appetite in kittens that lasts for more than two days or which is accompanied by a refusal to eat warrants an examination by a veterinarian. A variety of conditions can cause a loss of appetite in kittens, such as teething, parasitic infections, and gastrointestinal upset. It important to find out the cause your kitten's loss of appetite as soon as possible to resolve the condition quickly and avoid more serious conditions, such as fatty liver disease due to long-term anorexia.
Proper Play Toys The 18-week-old kitten is not as easily amused by toys as he was once was, but kittens at this age still need to play for mental growth and stimulation. Now is the time to update your kitten's toy box with the type of toys that a maturing kitten will enjoy.
One of the activities that a kitten or cat never tires of is climbing. A kitty tower or condo will be the perfect "toy" for your growing kitten, and he will enjoy these types of toys for many years to come.
Toys that involve stalking and hunting will also entertain your 18-week-old kitten. Try to find toys that look a lot like mice, rats and oversized bugs, and hide them throughout the house. Periodically change out old toys with new toys, and for added fun, sprinkle the toys with a bit of catnip.
Health and Veterinary Care: Fleas and Ticks
Even though your indoor kitten is not likely to have gone outdoors, she is still at risk for fleas and ticks. Why? It is possible to bring these parasites into our homes on our shoes and pant-legs.
Fleas may transmit tapeworms and cat scratch disease, and can cause itchy, uncomfortable allergic reactions. Ticks can transmit various dangerous diseases, including some that infect humans.
The Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) recommends that topical preventative products be applied to your kitten year-round, since fleas can survive the winter in homes and garages. Most of these preventative products are safe to apply to kittens as early as eight to nine weeks of age.
Always use a product that was recommended by your veterinarian, and avoid over-the-counter products. Most are either toxic, or safe but ineffective.
Training: Sleeping Arrangements
Many pet owners like to sleep with their little kittens, but there are a few downsides to sharing your sleeping space with a maturing kitten and eventually a cat.
Once a kitten feels comfortable on your bed, he does not identify the bed as just a sleeping space. Instead, the bed also becomes a napping place and an area for play. Eventually, pet owners often find their beds overrun by cat hair and toys.
If you would like your kitten to sleep in his own space, he is more than ready to do so by 18 weeks of age. Cats generally nap throughout the day and night in different places, but in most cases, they have a favorite spot. Help your kitten find a favorite sleeping space by providing your kitten with a comfortable kitty bed in a quiet area where he can rest without being disturbed.