How to Take Care of a Kitten

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.

Prepare Ahead

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.

Kitten Food

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.

Fresh Water

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 Boxes

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.

Cat Bed

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.

Flea Control

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!

Cats and Milk Facts

Contrary to charming children’s book illustrations, cats and milk are not really a match in heaven. That is because even though most felines love a lap or two of milk, they sort of face with an unrequited love from the milk’s lactose. How’s that for a genuine ‘cat-scratch’ fact?

Just like some human, many cats can’t digest lactose and suffer stomach upset or diarrhea after drinking milk.

So should cats drink milk at all? Here’s a compilation of experts’ advices.

Cats and Milk Fact 1: Lactose Intolerance Is Common
Just like people, it is normal for a cat to be lactose intolerant. To digest lactose, the cat digestive system must contain sufficient enzyme lactase to break down the milk sugar, lactose.

Newborns have plenty of enzyme lactase to help them digest their mothers’ milk. As kittens grow older, production of the enzyme slows down and without sufficient lactase, the ability to digest milk lactose diminishes as well.

When a lactose-intolerant cat drinks milk, the undigested lactose passes through the intestinal tract, drawing water with it. Bacteria in the colon have a field day fermenting the undigested sugars, producing volatile fatty acids and gases that cause problem.

Most common symptom of lactose intolerance in cats is diarrhea; other symptoms are upset stomach and induced vomiting. The symptoms usually appear within eight to twelve hours after consuming the milk.

Cats and Milk Fact 2: Many Cats Can Handle Milk
Some cats do tolerate milk just dandy. If the cat doesn’t show any lactose-intolerance symptom after taking a lap or two of milk, the cat is fine with occasional milk.

However, most cat experts don’t recommend giving milk to them. Cats don’t need milk, their diet should mainly consist of high-quality cat food which meet their nutrient requirement. Treats of all sorts — such as meat, tuna, cheese, milk, or other “people foods” should not be more than 10% of your cat’s total diet. Also, remember that a cat often fed with table food is likely to be a finicky cat.

Cats and Milk Fact 3: Kittens Don’t Need Cow’s Milk
Despite those lovely storybook illustrations, cow’s milk is really not meant for kittens. It has way too much lactose for a kitten digestive system to handle.

In addition, the proportion of cow’s milk proteins: whey and casein, is completely off for a kitten. Hey, cow’s milk is meant for calves, not kittens or other babies!

If your kitten is young and still nursing, you can try a milk replacer made specifically for kittens.

Sold by veterinarians or found in pet stores, cat milk replacers often contain cow’s milk that has been adjusted to mimic as closely as possible the nutrient composition of cat’s milk. With correct casein and whey ratio, and appropriate amount of lactose, it is suitable for fostering or raising an orphaned kitten.

For a grown cat, offer milk replacers in small amounts as a treat if it has a taste for it; otherwise, it is not necessary. The same practice apply to dairy substitutes designed for humans, such as soy and lactose-free milk.

Cats and Milk Fact 4:Yogurt and Cheese May Be Easier to Digest
Sometimes a cat that can not take milk may have no problem with other forms of dairy, such as cheese, yogurt, butter, or ice cream. That is because different forms of dairy food contain different amounts of lactose.

There are two reasons explaining that. Diary like ice cream and yogurt are often diluted with other things, such as water, regular sugar, or added fats. They may also be cultured, meaning microorganisms have digested part of the lactose.

So if your feline pal likes dairy products but is lactose-intolerant, you may still try with cheese, yogurts, and other cultured dairy.

Cats and Milk Fact 5: Cats Need Plenty of Water
No matter how well your cat process cow’s milk, your cat will always need plenty of fresh, clean water. According to the web site of Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, water is needed for:

Body temperature regulating
Food digestion
Waste elimination
Tissue lubrication and regeneration
And allows salt and other electrolytes to pass through the body

To encourage your cat to drink water, placing several bowls of different depths around its active zones usually helps. Many cats find flowing water fascinating, if yours is one, kitty fountains are available at pet stores. Some cats are taught or taught themselves how to turn on and off the water tab.