Adding a kitten to your family can be an exciting and rewarding experience. That is why we've put together these basic care tips to help make the transition period as easy as possible.
The way you approach daily routines and problems with your kitten can influence how it will react to situations later in life. So ensure you have a plan set up so you can efficiently manage anything that arises.
The following is an overview of the topics that you will need to consider. Our staff are always happy to help should you need any further advice or information.
Health & Kitten Care
General Health Information
Vaccinations - a course of three vaccinations is required to fully protect your kitten. These are due between 6-8 weeks, 10-12 weeks and 14-16 weeks of age. Until your kitten has finished its course you should not allow him/her to venture outside. Annual vaccinations are due for the rest of their life.
Intestinal Worms - Worming is essential throughout the life of all cats. Ensure you keep track of your kittens weight as they grow. The correct course of worming needs to be given every 2 weeks until 12 weeks of age, monthly until 6 months, and then every 3 months for the rest of their life.
Heartworm - Heartworm is completely separate to intestinal worms as the infection is via mosquitoes. The worms infest in the heart and lungs and cause heart failure. You need to start prevention before your kitten is 12 weeks old.
Fleas - Fleas are one of the most common complaints for kittens. This is because they affect both our kitten and us! To help there are a number of easy to administer products available. If fleas become a problem in the home you will generally see the adult fleas or find flea dirt (small black flecks) on your cat.
Inside vs Ouside Cats - We recommend your kitten be kept as an inside cat. Inside cats have far fewer health problems than outside cats such as basic problems like picking up ticks, scratches and ulcers from fighting. The is also the risk to our wildlife with outside cats. Remember to keep your inside cat active as obesity can also be a problem. (Check with your local council regarding rules and regulations with cats being outdoors).
Feeding Your Kitten
Feeding a balanced, high quality food is essential for your growing kitten. It is always best to continue the previously fed diet during the initial transition and relocation to reduce the chance of an upset stomach. Monitor your kitten's weight and body condition and consult your vet if needed. Remember, as your kitten grows so does the amount of food they need.
Ensure you start a grooming routine early with your kitten (especially long hair breeds) to ensure it is an easy practice later in life. This includes brushing and toe nail clipping (especially for indoor cats). Regular grooming will also help reduce hairballs in all coat types.
When adopting a kitten they should be fully litter trained by the time they are the right age to leave mum and littermates, about 8-12 weeks. However when bringing a new kitten into your home you need to teach them where you want them to go. A quick and easy way to do this is take your kitten hourly to their tray, place them inside and allow them to find their way around from this spot. You might also find isolating your kitten to one area helpful, and this tends to be the most common way to introduce your cat to a new home. Cleaning the tray regularly will keep both you and your kitten happy, as they do not like to use a dirty tray.
Choosing the correct litter for your cat is also very important, as some cats are fussy and prefer certain textures. Kittens should also be provided something safe in case it's ingested. Natural clumping and pellet litters are the most suitable for kittens.
Toilet Training Products
Socialisation and Training
Not only dogs need to be socialised and trained. Anything you want to do with your kitten later in life you need to introduce at a young age. These sort of things include; washing, grooming, car travel, and meeting new people. Just remember as a kitten, this is best done in small doses at a time.
Satisfy Your Kitten’s Instincts
Cats have natural hunting and stalking instincts that are brought into every day play and exercise. It is important to provide your cat with toys and furniture that can satisfy these behaviours and promote a healthy amount of exercise. Cats thrive when their hunting and catching instincts are satisfied, so providing igloo beds and scratching poles to perch on and hide in is essential. Playing with your cat using 'teaser' toys is a great way to satisfy their need to catch prey.
Cat Scratching Poles
It's important to have places inside where your cat can navigate around the house without always being on the floor. Cat's and kittens thrive on climbing and will utilise all the furniture you have to do so. Using shelves, tall scratching poles and window hammocks are all fantastic ways to make your house a home for your a cat.
There are also various other reasons why you should provide a cat scratching pole throughout your kitten's life. These are just a few reasons to purchase a scratching pole for your cat:
To remove old claw sheaths
To stretch and exercise
To mark their territory with their paws and chin
And for mental stimulation
If you do not provide a scratching pole or mat for your kitten they will have no alternative but to use what is available. This may be your couch, carpets, mats, curtains or mattresses. Consider how much time, effort and money you could save by just starting with the correct tools for your kitten.
Playing With Your Kitten & Other Products
Playing with your kitten from a young age is essential to developing a strong relationship with your cat. Fortunately we have a wonderful range of cat toys, tunnels and interactive feeding toys to keep your cat entertained.