Mental and Physical Development
Dominant Behavior At seven months of age, a kitten is nearing sexual and mental maturity. As a result, kittens at this age begin to assert themselves in the household ranking of pets and humans.
In some cases, kittens with more dominant personalities may develop behavior problems as they try to climb the ranks and become the "alpha cat," or boss, in the household.
It is normal for younger kittens to begin to take a more dominant role if they are in a household with older animals. However, in a household with cats and dogs of the same age, there may be a fierce ongoing battle for the dominant position. Growing kittens may even attempt to dominate other children and people in the home. This type of behavior can be alleviated by pet owners treating all animals with equal attention, and either completely ignoring a kitten, or moving a kitten to a "time out" area, when it engages in aggressive behavior.
Changing Food Needs A 7-month-old kitten has reached a phase of growth where he is between a kitten and an adult cat. Now is the time when you will need to closely monitor your kitten's weight, and pay particular attention to the amount of food your kitten is eating.
Every kitten has its own nutritional and caloric requirements, and there is no set amount of food you should be feeding your kitten. Instead, use the feeding amount recommended on your kitten's food bag as a guide. If your kitten seems to be losing or gaining weight, slightly adjust the amount of food your kitten is eating. You may also begin to introduce very small amounts of adult cat food to your kitten's diet at this time.
Health and Veterinary Care: Healthy Eyes
A kitten's eyes are capable of communicating both behavior and emotion. The eyes alert you when a mischievous kitten is about to climb up the drapes. They warn you when she isn't that thrilled to be cuddled at a particular moment. They relay when the "hunter" kitten is out and on the prowl.
In addition to indicating general behavior patterns, a kitten's eyes also provide a window to her general health. A healthy kitten has clear, bright, crisp-colored eyes that are engaging to observe as she experiences new discoveries.
Subtle changes in the eyes' appearance, however, can be an early warning sign of illness. Discharge, swelling, cloudiness, redness, pain, squinting and discoloration are all symptoms of an underlying problem that almost always requires a veterinarian's attention. Contact your veterinarian right away. If medical attention is delayed or if a problem isn't detected early, the result could be terrible since it doesn't take long for a diseased eye to become a blind eye.
Kittens require daily play as part of their normal routine. Your kitten may be very good at entertaining herself, but interactive play between you and your kitten improves your bond and may decrease the potential for future behavioral problems.
Interactive play can mean throwing your kitten's favorite chew toys for her to go after or dangling a toy on a string for her to chase. Laser pointers are okay as long as you don't use them for more than a few minutes.
Regardless of which toy you choose, the kitten should receive a food reward at the end of each play session, as they are physiologically designed to ingest their prey at the end of the hunt. If this doesn't happen, the kitten is left feeling anxious and frustrated.