Getting a kitten – Part 2

Bringing a tiny kitten back to your home can be very exciting. However, you need to remember that the kitten will now be entirely reliant on you to make them feel safe, warm and comfortable in their new home as their mother will no longer be present.  It’s going to take a bit of planning when introducing a new kitten to your home but it will be worth it when your kitten grows into a confident, loving cat. Below are a few hints and tips on what you can do if you are bringing a new kitten home.

  1. For the first year kittens will grow and develop and they will have different nutritional requirements compared to fully grown cats.  There are a number of specially formulated foods available to ensure they get the right balance.   If you are unsure on what to feed your kitten your vet will be able to advise you. 
  2. Now the kitten is away from its mother your kitten will need to feel safe, secure and warm. Make sure their bed is comfortable and is kept somewhere quiet and away from busy areas of the home
  3. Litter training – Getting a cat or a kitten to use a litter tray can be difficult but with patience you should be able to train them without too many problems.  When you buy a litter tray make sure it’s easy for the kitten to use. Preferably one with lower sides. When your kitten has grown you can upgrade to a deeper tray. Keep the tray in a quiet area of the house so your kitten isn’t put off.  Also, make sure the tray is away from the cat’s food and water.   
  4. When it comes to training, place your kitten in the tray shortly after waking or after they have finished eating. If your kitten doesn’t scratch or dig try gently taking the paw and simulate digging. Alternatively, you move the litter around so the kitten knows it’s ok to do it and it also lets them get used to the noise. There is a good chance the kitten will not be interested and go off to another room.  It may be because they don’t need to go or they want privacy.  If you have a male kitten it could be because they have gone to look for a magazine to read while they are doing their business.
  5. Make sure you praise your kitten when they use the tray and never tell them off for not using it.  If the kitten is not using the tray, try placing it in there hourly until it gets the idea.
  6. NOTE: If you are pregnant, never touch dirty litter from the tray due to the risk of toxoplasmosis.
  7. Make sure your home is kitten proof. If you have any cords dangling (on blinds for example) ensure they are tied out of reach as kittens can get tangled and choked by anything swinging. If you have lots of electrical cords, try and bunch them together and tie them out of reach so the kitten doesn’t have the urge to chew them. Also, think about things that are kept in lower cupboards such as bleach and detergent. Kittens will be exploring the whole house.  You will want to ensure they do not come across anything poisonous or damaging to their health.  Make sure you keep the door closed on the washing/drying machine.  If it’s warm the kitten might climb in for a quick nap.  The best way to look at it, if it’s dangerous for a baby or small child then it’s dangerous for a kitten.
  8. If you have other pets in the house it is advisable to let your vet check them to make sure they are not carrying anything that could be harmful to the kitten.  When introducing other pets to the kitten make sure it’s fully supervised as you do not want the resident pets to get aggressive.  You may want to take it slowly over a few days so they can get used to each other. 
  9. Kittens love to play so make sure they have lots of toys to keep them entertained. Ensure the toys don’t have sharp edges or bits hanging off that could choke them.  Do buy a scratching post. It will save wear and tear on your furniture 

There are lots of other useful things you can do to make sure your kitten has the best possible start in their new home.  One of the first things you can do is take your kitten to your vet as they will be able to tell you everything you will need to know from vaccinations to spays and neutering.  Cherrydown Vets offer a FREE service whereby you can bring your kitten along to see someone and they will give your kitten a full health check and offer advice.

If you have any questions regarding this blog please contact us at the clinic or leave a comment on our Facebook page

Getting a kitten – Part 1

 Did you know the cat is now the most popular domestic pet in the UK? Cats and kittens make great pets but they are a big responsibility.  Cats will need lots of love and attention and, more importantly, they will need an owner who will be committed to them for the rest of their life – often 15 to 16 years or more.

If you are thinking of getting a kitten there are a few things you should look out for:

Kittens should be 8 weeks old when they leave their mother. Look for a kitten that is inquisitive, doesn’t shy away from people and is ready to play. Have a look at the mother as many of the kittens future traits may be in her. Is she a lap cat, is she happy to be handled?

A kitten should be nicely rounded.  Don’t get a kitten that looks skinny. Also, if it has a bloated stomach there is a good chance it could already have worms.

Kittens should have bright sparkly eyes.  If it has runny eyes, is sneezing or coughing then it would be better to avoid getting that kitten.

Check the kitten for fleas.  Lots of kittens will have them but they can be dealt with quite easily. Ask your vet about the best treatments for fleas.  If the kitten is really fluffy there is a good chance it is going to have long hair.  Invest in a good brush as the cat may need daily grooming to prevent hair balls.

Check the ears.  If there are brown or dark grey deposits in the ears it could indicate there are ear mites present.  Again, speak to your vet about how the problem can be treated.

Look for kittens with a nice temperament. Wild kittens will be difficult to tame. Get a kitten that will happily come to you and likes to be picked up and stroked.

So you have now picked your kitten and will be bringing it home.  In part 2 we will talk about introducing the kitten to your home, litter training and health checks.

Do please remember that there are lots of lovely cats available from rescue centres that are not necessarily kittens, but that will make wonderful pets. Their ages vary but there are often younger ones. Getting a slightly older cat has benefits as they are less likely to do things such as run up your curtains and otherwise cause less mess and/or damage.

If you have any questions regarding this subject please feel free to contact us at the clinic or leave a message on our Facebook page