Have you decided on acquiring a new kitten? Be sure you’re ready for your new addition before you bring him or her home. Important things to consider include feeding the right diet, setting up a litter box, kitten-proofing your house, setting up vet appointments and more.
The following are tips we have compiled on the most common topics that new owners ask about:
Most kittens do well at regulating their calorie intake, so it is okay if fed free choice. If a food is labeled “100 percent complete and balanced for all life stages,” it’s okay to feed to your kitten. Don’t feed him a food labeled for “maintenance,” which is for adults only. Canned food, however, should be fed at specific times and picked up if not eaten within 30 minutes or so. If you notice your kitten is getting too chubby then cut back on the amount you’re feeding her. She should be lean and not chunky. Fresh water should be available at all times.
Provide a litter pan and ensure that she can climb over the sides. Scoop the pan daily to keep the kitten healthier, conserve litter, and minimize odors. Some cats are very fastidious and won’t use a dirty pan, especially in multi-cat households. Experts recommend you have one litter pan for each cat, plus one.
Kittens love to play and it can be hilarious entertainment for you. Encourage playful exercise by providing the right kind of toys for her. Not only will it improve her muscle tone and vitality but can also prevent heart disease, weight problems, and stress (just like with people!). Make sure the toys are too big to be swallowed and sturdy enough so they cannot be crushed in kitten jaws.
Do not allow your kitten to play with string, ribbon, thread, yarn, tinsel, or the like. If eaten, any of these items can become lodged in the intestinal tract as a “linear foreign body,” which can lead to a very sick kitten and may require surgery.
Provide a spot where your kitten can retreat and sleep. This can be a kitten bed in a quiet dark corner or a box or paper bag, or even a pile of towels or blankets. Keep in mind that cats are by nature nocturnal and so may be quite active during the night hours, a fact to consider when selecting a spot for her to sleep.
Spay or Neuter
If your kitten has not already been “fixed” by the time you bring her home, we recommend spaying her or neutering him at 5-6 months of age unless you intend to breed. Not only will you prevent annoying mating behaviors and territorial marking, but you will eliminate the chance of testicular cancer or pyometra, an infectious condition of the uterus. Most importantly, no unwanted kittens will be born.
Furniture Destruction & Declawing
If your kitty is being destructive to your furniture, try training her to use a scratching post by placing it initially in a prominent place and rubbing catnip on it. There are several alternatives to declawing including nail trims, Soft Paws, behavioral training, etc. If declawing is necessary it can be done at the time of spaying or neutering.