Essential Tips for Kitten Care
Things to consider beforehand
Welcoming a new kitten into the household is a serious step requiring careful consideration and some planning. Cats live on average up until the age of fourteen years so a new kitten should be viewed as a long term commitment requiring ongoing care.
Are there already pets in the home? Kittens may find it stressful being introduced into an environment already populated with adult cats, dogs or other pets. Minimize the kitten’s exposure to hostile pets and introduce them gradually into their new environment, taking care not to leave them alone with any animals that may threaten them. Kittens can fit into households with other animals but do not under-estimate the patience and care required to achieve a successful outcome.
Kittens are cute and adorable little things and can be hard to resist when seen curled up in a pet shop basket, but they can also be inquisitive, destructive and demanding creatures that can turn a home upside down given half a chance. To help a kitten grow into a contented cat it needs love, shelter, warmth and companionship as well as a balanced nutritional diet and good healthcare.
There is a long list of things to acquire before welcoming a new kitten into the home. It will need somewhere warm and safe to sleep, such as in a basket or a comfortable box. Cats are notoriously fickle creatures and may choose to sleep somewhere entirely different, so be warned. Separate food and water bowls, litter tray, collar, scratching post, grooming brush, cat flap and special cat treats and toys are well worth investing in.
It may take a kitten some time to settle into a new home and owners do need patience. Encourage positive behavior with specially formulated cat treats. For example, if the kitten uses its litter tray, reward it with a chicken flavor treat, they are an effective way of reinforcing positive behavior and establishing good habits early on.
A healthy kitten is a happy kitten
New kitten owners need to be aware of the healthcare required to keep their new pet in peak condition. Regular worming and flea treatments are essential to help a kitten thrive and vaccinations against a number of feline diseases should be administered around the age of nine weeks, followed by boosters throughout the cat’s life.
Bringing kitten home
Weekends are the ideal time to bring kitten home for the first time, as it is less likely to be left alone. Try to make sure the home is as calm and quiet as possible to minimize the kitten’s anxiety. Think about how the kitten is transported. If traveling by car, have a suitable carrier available as driving with a kitten loose in the car is dangerous. Cat-proof the home in advance. Remove anything the kitten may injure itself upon such as electric wires, plastic bags, medicines, etc. Ensure the kitten is secure inside the home and prevent access to hazardous high windows or balconies. The kitten will want to explore its new territory in minute detail, so be ready for this.
There is a lot to think about, but all the planning and preparation is well worth it. After all, there few things better in life than a purring kitten on your knee…
Thanks for the Guest Post Dave!