Whether you are contemplating getting a cat, given a cat or gifting a cat, it is best to consider a few important ‘cat-scratch’ points ahead. Whatever you have decided on, be sure to take lots of pictures with your cat as they literally grew up in a brink of an eye.
Adopt is Better than Buying
There are countless homeless pets, needless to say it is a good thing to adopt your cat from an animal shelter or a rescue group: You save a life while saving money.
If you do decide to get the cat through pet stores or breeders, be sure to do a little research to ensure the kitten does not originate from a kitty mill. This is to discourage indiscriminate breeding solely for profit.
Get Two Only If You Can Afford It
For certain breeds who crave companionship such as Siamese, it is recommended to keep more than one cat so that they can keep each other company. However, owning a cat is a long term commitment; owning two means double the commitment but double the enjoyment too! If time, space, and money are not constrained, by all means get more.
If you are limited in resources, it is better to consider just keeping a cat that is more independent inclined.
Bringing home a kitten is sort of like bringing home a newborn baby, except the kitten will take no time to get into everything.
Be sure to prepare ahead a cat carrier, cat pen, kitten food, food and water bowls, litter box and litter sand, a collar and tag, cat scratch post, and cat toys.
Don’t forget to cat-proof the house to protect the kitten from harms way but also to protect the furniture and soft furnishes from cat-scratches.
Indoor or Outdoor
Indoor-only cats usually live longer, healthier lives because they won’t get into fights with cats in the neighbourhood, or caught diseases from them. It also means your cat won’t prey on wild birds and other small creatures. They are hunter by nature after all!
If you choose to keep your kitten indoors, make sure he can’t get out and also he has window perches and sufficient toys to keep him stimulated.
Kittens below one year old need up to three times the calories as adult cats. So look for cat food made specifically for kittens and follow the recommended feeding amount. Canned food and dry kibbles are available. Discuss with your vet about using them.
Cats need to stay hydrated. Put a few plates of clean water around the house where they roam. Most kittens prefer shallower bowls. Some like to drink moving water; if that’s the case, a water fountain may encourage the kitty to drink more.
Litter box caters to cat instinct to excrete in sand or grainy soil. Choose a litter box with low opening so that the kitten can easily get into it. Put it in a quiet spot close by and show her where it is.
There are different choices of kitty litter. You may need to experiment a little to find which work best for your kitten. Choices include crystal litter, regular and clumping clay litter, as well as litter made from wood chips, grains, and newspapers.
Cats spent almost 2/3 of their day sleeping, kittens even more. Even though cats seem to sleep wherever they want, it is best to have a safe and private place for the kitten to sleep. It can be a window perch, a comfy pad, or even just a carton box.
Play and Socialize
Wish for a healthy and well-adjusted feline companion? Start playing gently with the kitten from day 1. Playing develop her motor coordination, keep her fit and provide an outlet for her energy.
At the same time, gently discourage her from using her teeth and claws on people or other pets. Remember not to use your hand and fingers as toys! She is likely to sink her teeth or claws into anything she consider as toy and accidentally hurt someone.
Keep Kitty Safe
Kittens are extremely curious creatures and before you know it, they are into everything and everything seems to be perfectly chewable. Make sure to put away paper clips, plastic milk jug rings, pins, dental floss, string, yarn, ribbon, rubber bands and other temptations away from your curious cat. Also, securely store cleaning supplies, pills, drugs, as well as antifreeze and motor oil.
Teach Your Kitten the House Rules
Show her where she can stick her claws in — not on the couch but on the well-secured scratching posts.
Curtains are not meant to be climb on but the tree house and sisal-covered pole are.
Begging for table food is not going to get her anywhere.
Getting into the cat carrier and seeing the vet are rituals before getting a nice treat; and so is having the nails clipped.
Some Human Foods Don’t Go Well with Felines
Needless to say, alcohol, cigarette smoke, and carbonated soft drinks are bad for your kittens, but do you know the Thanksgiving turkey slathered with gravy may be just as bad? While the meat by itself is harmless, the gravy is likely heavily infused with garlic and onion, and perhaps chocolate as well?
Garlic, onion, and other bulbs from the Allium genus contain a substance that destroy red blood cells in cats, causing anaemia.
Chocolate contains Theobromine which is toxic to cats and dogs.
Cow’s milk can lead to diarrhea, stomach upset, and induced vomit.
It is recommended to feed your kitten only with quality kitten food. Ask your vet what food is suitable as cat treats.
Some Plants Don’t Go Well with Felines
A pot of catnip or oat grass are heaven sent to kittens and cats. The same can’t be say about azalea, chrysanthemum, tulip bulbs, nightshades, and oleander. Lilies are especially toxic to cats, a small quantity can be lethal. Call your vet or the local SPCA if you suspect your kitten has eaten something poisonous.
Spay or Neuter Early
In America, estimated six million cats and dogs are given up to shelters every year. Spaying or neutering your cat helps to keep the number down. The procedure can be done on kittens as young as eight weeks.
When it comes to flea, it is better to take precautionary approach before the cat is infested. If your kitten is scratching a lot, or chewing and licking often, has irritated skin, or bald spots, he may have fleas. Ask your vet which flea control is suitable for kittens, and then treat all the pets in the house. Some flea treatments used in dogs can be very toxic to cats, so always read the package carefully. Don’t forget to vacuum the carpets and sofa.
Protect Against Intestinal Parasites
You can’t really dodge these parasitic worms completely, but you can decrease likelihood of infestation with scheduled medication. Indoor cats generally have lower rate of infestation.
Roundworms (diarrhea and vomiting), hookworms (kitten anemia) and tapeworms are the most common parasites your kitten will face.
‘Rice grains’ in your kitten’s stool or around her bottom are sign of infestation, see your vet for medication immediately. Many heartworm medications come with monthly dewormers.
Vaccinate Your Kitten
Common illnesses such as feline distemper, feline leukemia, rabies, and upper respiratory infections can be prevented with vaccinations. Talk to your vet on which vaccines are suitable for your kitten.
How to Tell When Kitty Is Sick
Your kitten may be under the water if they are coughing, sneezing, refusing food or water, sleeping much more than usual, hiding, vomiting, panting, poor coordination, or losing weight. If your kitten display any of these symptoms, bring the kitty to the veterinarian. Never attempt to cure your kitty with something from your own medicine cabinet.
Be Selective with the Vet
Choose your vet as you would choose your own doctor. A clean and orderly clinic is always a good indication.
Does the vet attentive to your pet? Listen to you? Answer your questions clearly? Are the staff members calm and caring? It is alright to change clinics if necessary!