Raising healthy and happy kittens is no easy task, but it is certainly worth the effort: feline friends are extremely loyal, playful, and intelligent creatures and fantastic pets. However, a cat requires an owner with an incredible amount of responsibility and dedication to the well-being of your new pet.
Whether you are an experienced cat owner, or are thinking about buying your very first kitten, it is important to understand the complexities of the feline species and to be as prepared and informed as much as possible before your new pet enters your home.
Behavior of the Typical Kitty:
Understanding Nature of Your New Cat
The age-old question, “are you a dog, or cat person?” holds some truth in that the personalities of felines and canines differ dramatically. Cats are naturally more sensitive than most pets, and they develop a strong sense of personality early on as kittens.
Kittens are also very curious creatures, with the tendency to explore their surroundings with great intent while leaving marks by rubbing oil secreted from glands near their whiskers on surrounding objects.
Though a healthy sense of curiosity should be fostered in a kitten, safety should remain a top priority. To avoid over stimulation of a new kitten, first confine the kitten to one room without many fragile objects or delicate items that could be damaged by the young feline explorer.
Every few days, you can slowly permit the kitten to explore different rooms of the house by opening another door to a room that has been de-cluttered and kitty-proofed. By providing special cat toys for your pet to play with, you help to stimulate the healthy play behaviors that are integral to a kitten’s normal development while preventing your treasured items from being used for play.
Another issue to consider with regards to owning a new kitten is whether or not it will be treated kindly by the other pets in your household. Unfortunately, many cats are perceptive to the special treatment and attention that is shown to a new pet, and so if you already own a cat, be on the lookout for any hostility being shown to your new kitten.
Any tension between your older feline and a new kitten can be mitigated by designating different spaces for each pet, and by providing different food bowls and litter boxes for each cat to use. These steps may seem unnecessary at first, but they can help to reinforce that each pet is important and loved, since cats are keen to perceiving whether they are being neglected or subject to favoritism.
Putting in the extra effort to demonstrate that there is no competition between the pets for your attention can help to foster bonding and companionship between your cat and new kitten.
First Steps to a Healthy Feline Life:
Vaccinations, Medicines, and Tests
When first purchasing a kitten, it is important to ask for the documentation of any previous health tests and vaccinations that have already been performed. These records can inform you as to which rounds of tests and shots should be performed next in order to prevent the diseases that most often plague cats, including rabies, distemper and respiratory viruses.
As the disease is passed through cat-to-cat contact, leukemia vaccine is also important to obtain for kittens which will be allowed to play outside or interact with other felines. Most vaccines are provided for kittens within the first four months of its life, and a veterinarian will be able to determine which courses of vaccination should be administered and when.
A balanced diet is another important part of a kitten’s health, and many different cat foods are available to help your pet obtain proper nutrition and satisfy your pet’s taste buds.
There are different types of cat food especially designed for kittens to be eaten within the first year of life, and veterinarians emphasize that foods should be purchased with AAFCO certification to ensure the quality of cat foods and all pet food products.
No matter how high the quality of the food that you feed your pets, remember that intestinal parasites can still occur in your pet. Specialized deworming medicines and products can help to remove any parasites that live inside your pet, whether tapeworms, roundworms, or other parasites.
Avoiding outdoor play, contact with other pets, and feeding your cat “human food” can reduce the risk of parasitic infections in your kitten.
Emergency Health Issues:
Knowing When To Go to the Veterinary Hospital
Kittens are expected to endure a small amount of normal bumps and bruises as they learn to run, climb, jump, and land gracefully on their feet without injury. However, if your cat is limping or showing any signs of pain, it is incredibly important to have a trained specialist look at your kitten and ensure that no surgery or treatment is necessary.
Other issues that require attention from a veterinarian include, but are not limited to – signs of vomiting or nausea in your pet, uncharacteristically lethargic behavior, the presence of worms or fleas, and itching symptoms connected with ear mites.
Your local veterinary hospital will be happy to assist you with any questions or issues you might be having with your new pet, and might be able to provide you with advice, as well as additional informational brochures and packets you can take with you, about protecting the health of your new pet.
This is a post by Ashley Williamson. Ashley is a freelance writer and a full time pet lover. When she is not working she likes to travel and read as much as she can. If you have any question feel free to leave a comment.