The essential guide for a New Kitten
Author: Aussie Vet Products Date Posted:24 January 2014
How exciting! You just picked up the newest member to your family. A kitten!
Checking that your house is a safe environment for your new kitten is the first step. Try to look at your home from your kitten’s perspective – every object can be a toy, every surface a place to explore.
Vases and ornaments should be put away for now, plastic bags out of sight and all sharp objects need to be safely hidden out of sight. Fridges, washing machines and dryers can also look like fun places to explore so these doors and lids should always be kept firmly closed. Cords and cables are irresistible and need to be placed under carpets or secured to the floor or wall to deter your kitten from playing with or chewing them.
Have you ever noticed cats rubbing their faces along surfaces or even yourself? Cats use facial pheromones to mark their territory as a safe and secure environment. Feliway is a product available in a spray and electric diffuser which synthetically mimics your cat’s facial pheromone. Using Feliway in your home can help to reassure your new kitten that their new home is a safe and inviting place.
Collar and ID Tag
It’s a good idea to get your kitten a collar with a bell and also an ID tag.
Kittens are born hunters so getting them a collar with a bell will help to warn birds of your cat’s whereabouts and will also enable you to hear where they are while they’re exploring through the house or garden.
A Red Dingo ID Tag is a perfect edition to your kitten’s collar just in case they happen to go wandering out of the backyard.
Making sure your cat is microchipped by your vet is also an important procedure for keeping them safe.
Bedding and Grooming
Providing a safe warm place for your kitten to sleep will relieve stress levels and help them to settle in and trust the environment. A Cat Igloo is the perfect bed. It provides a small warm haven for your kitten to hideaway and rest.
Grooming your cat not only prevents knots and tangles, removes dirt and loose hair; it also provides a time for you to bond and get your kitten used to be handled and groomed so that they aren’t afraid or anxious about grooming time in future. A grooming mitt is an easy way to gentle pat your cat whilst removing unwanted hairballs and tangles.
It’s your job to provide your new kitten with a complete and balanced diet. Kittens develop 75% of their total adult body weight within the first 6 months of their life; so you need to provide a high quality kitten food to nourish them during this time. Your kitten should be fed a kitten specific food until they reach 12 months of age, at which time you should slowly introduce a good quality adult cat food.
Toys, Scratching Posts and Treats
Cats LOVE to sharpen their nails and play to their hearts content. Fuel their desire with toys to enhance their coordination such as the Frolicat Laser BOLT Toy. Your kitten will spend hours stalking, attacking and playing with their new toys so try spraying them with Catnip to make it that little bit more irresistible and keep them out of trouble.
To prevent your new leather couch or table cloths getting ruined and scratched, make sure you provide your new kitten with a scratching post so they can sharpen their nails and stay away from your precious furniture.
Stay on top of your cat’s dental health and spoil them with Greenies Feline Treat packs. These treats will help prevent tartar and plaque build-up on your cat’s teeth.
You may be dreading training your kitten to use the litterbox.
Fear not! It’s easier than you think. Training your cat to one brand of litter will make it easier for them to know where they’re supposed to go for the majority of their life.
There are a few times when you know your kitten may need to use the litterbox – after eating, after they wake up and after playing. Guide your kitten to the litterbox when these times arise and supervise to reduce any mistakes. Remember, your kitten may still have the odd accident. Do not punish them for this- simply make it easier for them to get to their litterbox in time.
Vaccinating your cat will protect them against common diseases such as Cat Flu, Feline Enteritis and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus.
Your kitten may have already received their first vaccination from the breeder or shelter you may have picked them up from. This should have been given at 6-8 weeks old.
At 10-12 weeks, you should take them to a vet to get the essential booster shot and then at 14-16 weeks, they will need their final vaccination. From here on, your cat will require an annual booster vaccination.
Protecting your cat against fleas, worms and heartworm is also very important. Cats can come into contact with intestinal worms by simply playing in the garden with lizards. Using a product such as Revolution from 6 weeks of age will protect your new kitten against nasties like fleas, intestinal worms, heartworm and ear mites.
If you live in a tick infested area, it is also vital that you use some form of tick prevention to prevent tick poisoning. The only registered product for tick protection on cats is Frontline Spray. Applied every 3 weeks, your cat will live a tick free life.
New places and environments can be stressful to your kitten, so be patient with them and try to give them as much handling and time with you as possible so they can bond with you and feel safe in their new home.