Looking After Your Kitten/Cat
There are a few simple ways to keep your kitten happy and healthy at home.
A Comfortable Bed
Kittens need somewhere warm and comfortable to sleep and rest undisturbed.
A safe place to hide
It can take a while for your kitten to adjust to the new environment and and all cats often feel more secure when they're able to hide. You sould give them constant access to safe hiding places such as cardboard boxes, and allow them to come out when they are ready.
Each kitten should have their own food and water bowl, litter tray, bed, hiding pace and scratching post. You should always provide a spare, so if you have two kittens, provide three of everything, spaced around the house.
Kittens need to be able to exercise every day as this is important for their mental and physical health. They need to be kept indoors until they're fully vaccinated and neutered, so they'll need lots of different toys to keep them stimulated until they're old enough to venture out.
Kittens need a complete balanced diet to ensure they receive the correct nutrients. They require more calories than an adult cat as they are still growing and are more energetic than an adult, so make sure you're feeding them a good quality kitten food.
To begin with, your kitten will require four or five small meals a day until around six months of age. By this time, two meals per day will be sufficient and you can carry this routine on through their adult life.
Kittens reach adulthood at 12 months of age so you'll need to move them onto a complete adult food at this age. A sudden change from kitten to adult food can cause an upset stomach, so we recommend a gradual change over 7-10 days.
Kittens don't need milk as part of their diet. Make sure there's always a supply of fresh drinking water available. Milk isn't a suitable drink for cats and kittens as can cause an upset stomach.
Socialisation is one of the most important things you can do for your kitten as it helps them to become friendly, confident and outgoing adults. It's all about letting them gradually meet people and other animals and experience lots of everyday sights and sounds, especially in the first ten weeks of life. Don't, however, introduce too many new experiences in one day. Three a day is sensible, remembering to repeat them as often as possible, once your kitten is happy with them.
Good, early socialisation leads to friendly, well- adjusted cats. Sadly, without positive early experiences, cats can become nervous, which often leads to problem behaviour, including aggression.
Most kittens are still at home with their mother during the socialisation period, so it's up to the owner or breeder of the litter to make sure the kittens are well socialised.
If you're thinking about getting a kitten, check that they've been exposed to different people and other pets, as well as normal household noises at the breeder's house. If they're not properly socialised, you may have problems later.
You should continue to let kittens have lots of positive experiences when they arrive at their new home.
Cats are natural hunters and this behaviour starts to show when they're young kittens. The best kind of toys to enourage natual behaviour are those that move quickly and unpredictably. Good examples are fishing rod type toys or balls intended for kittens and cats.
Neutering is an operation carried out by a vet. In male animals, the testicles are removed - this is called castration. In female animals, the ovaries and the uterus (womb) are removed - this is called spaying.
Neutering stops cats from having unwanted kittens.
In female cats, neutering also prevents certain illnesses, such as cancer of the ovaries or womb, or pyometra (an infection of the womb that can be fatal).
In male cats, neutering can make them less likely to fight; this can reduce their chances of getting feline AIDS (FIV), which is spread by bites and scratches. Neutered male cats are also less likely to wander off, which can reduce their chances of getting hit by a car. They are also less likely to spray urine in your house.
Kittens should normally be neutered between 4-6 months of age.
PREVENTING PARASITES (FLEAS, TICKS AND WORMS)
Preventative parasite treatments include sprays, tablets, injections and spot-on preparations. Treatments available from pet shops and supermarkets may not be as effective as those available from us, so bear this in mind if you want your cat to be properly protected.
Give us a call on 023 8026 8001 for further advice on flea, worm and tick treatments for your cat.
Many pets go missing every year and sadly many are never reunited with their owners.But there is a simple solution. Identifying your cat with a microchip gives a greater chance of being reunited with your cat should they get lost and allows a vet practice to contact you straight away if your cat is admitted as a stray or an emergency.
A microchip is a harmless radio chip about the size of a grain of rice and is injected under the skin of your cat in the same way as a routine vaccination.
Once your cat is microchipped, it is very important that you keep your details up to date with the database.
NOTE FROM 10 JUNE 2024 IT IS COMPULSORY FOR ALL CATS OLDER THAN 20 WEEKS TO BE MICROCHIPPED.
Give us a call on 023 8026 8001 for further advice on getting your cat microchipped.
Cats are usually protected against Cat Flu, Feline Enteritis (a cat form of Parvovirus that can be very damaging to unborn kittens) and Feline Leukaemia. Cat Flu is an extremely common virus, especially in youngsters, and Feline Leukaemia, although more unusual, is a fatal condition.
An initial course of injections for kittens should offer good protection in the first year of life, but this immunity will gradually fade over time and regular booster vaccinations are required annually.
At the same time as the vaccination visit, we also like to give your pet a full health check, allowing us to pick up other health problems (e.g. dental disease) at an early stage.
Give us a call on 023 8026 8001 for further advice on vaccinating your cat or kitten.
Could your cat have Osteoarthritis?
Click here to find out more. If you have any questions or would like to discuss your cat's health with us, please call us on 023 8026 8001.