Congratulations you have, or are getting, a new kitten. Kittens bring so much love, warmth and laughter into a house. I can spend hours watching them play. Kittens tend to be much easier than puppies but there are a few thing than can help keep your kitten safe and make the introduction into your home go smoothly. So here are our 5 top recommendations for every new kitten.
1. Kitten Proof Your House
Before bring that tiny ball of fur into your home remember that kittens are explorers and hunters. Rubber bands, hair elastics, dental floss, tinsel or other small buttons or beads are all things we may find lying around the house which maybe fun to play with and chase down the hall but these can become dangerous and expensive items if swallowed by your kitten. You will also want to remove any household plants that maybe poisonous. Have a look around, do you have any chemicals such as ant traps or detergents that are not tucked away in a cupboard? Remember it won’t be long before that little kitten will have no problem jumping onto the counter. And finally check for areas that a kitten may crawl into or become tangled up into; open ducts or vents, dryers and washing machines or blinds and their cords can all be serious kitten hazards. Make sure to bundle things up or close them off to avoid serious potential harm.
Prepare a small space that will allow your kitten to explore and become comfortable with her new surroundings before you open up the entire house to her. When setting up, remember cats do not like to eat next to their litter box so place the two items at least 10 feet apart. In your new kitten’s room make sure there are some safe places for the kitten to hide even if they are cardboard boxes or cat tunnels, and a comfy bed so she is able to take those necessary cat naps. As well, your bundle of energy will be eager to play so ensure there are safe items for the kitten to play with and explore, such as a cat tower, and avoid toys with small parts or strings, as these are very dangerous if swallowed.
3. Health Exam
Every kitten should have an exam, preferably before you bring him home, but definitely within the first couple of days. Before your kitten comes in contact with your adult cats, we at the Fraser Valley Animal Hospital do recommend you have him tested for Feline Leukemia Virus and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus to prevent the spread of any serious and life threatening diseases to your existing pets. During your new kittens exam the veterinarian will ensure your kitten is also free from both intestinal and external parasites, such as round worms or ear mites. At this time you will want to discuss and make a preventative health plan for your kitten based on his or her planned life style, such as which vaccines will be appropriate.
We also recommend that during this first you discuss with your vet your kitten’s nutritional requirements. Veterinarians have years or schooling and are required to continue with post graduate education and so have the most knowledge when it comes to nutritional requirement. And since proper nutrition is so essential, as it affects every growing cell in your kitten’s body, you will want to ensure you are actually receiving not only educated and up to date advice, but also one that is backed by science.
Kittens need 2 to 3 times as many calories and nutrients as an adult cat. Over time cats can become finicky eaters and develop preferences for kibble shape and texture. It is at this time the we do recommend that you introduce canned diet to your kitten, as there are many medical conditions that nutrition plays an important role in the treatment. If a canned diet is recommended and your cat was not exposed to canned diet as a kitten it will often be refused, and as they say you can lead a horse to water….
4. Bringing Her Home
Always transport your kitten, and later on cat, in a carrier. Over the years practicing as a veterinarian in Abbotsford, I have had a couple of owners lose their cats in the parking lot when the owner stepped out of their car and the cat spooked. We spent many hours helping owners try to convince a spooked cat to come out from under a car. Keep them safe use a carrier! With training and time the carrier can actually become a positive place for your cat rather than a wrestling match to get her into. For more information about the carrier read our blog on The 9 Steps To Train Your Cat To Love His Carrier. Once home take the carrier to her new room and open the carrier door and allow the kitten to leave on her own. The self confident kitten may run right out where as others may need a little time to feel comfortable and safe to come out and explore.
If you have other pets now is not the time to introduce them. Give your kitten time to be comfortable with her space before she has to face new faces as well. When first introducing your dog to your kitten make sure he is leashed so that you can control the visit. Things can happen quicker than you think and before you know it you are heading to the veterinarian, (trust me I have seen it). We also recommend that you never leave your dog alone with the kitten. Watch the following video on our YouTube page about introducing a cat to a new household. In the video maybe about two cats but the same principle applies to a dog.
5. Time To Train
What?! Train a kitten? Yup just like our dogs a little training can go a long way!
Now is the time to train your cat to take a pill! Now you may think I am crazy but I deal with many sick cats and the number one issue with trying to help those cats is getting medication into the sick cat. When your cat is 15 and your veterinarian tells you that you need to give small pill everyday to help with Fluffy’s high blood pressure, well you will be grateful that you took the time now to train your kitten. What I recommend to my clients is that each day you “pill” your kitten with a small amount of tuna. This trains you the pilling motion and your kitten learns that when you pop something in his mouth you are not actually trying to kill him. For more information read our blog How To Pill A Cat And Not End Up In The Hospital. And to see how it is done check out a how to video on our YouTube page.Set featured image
This is also a great time to teach your kitten to scratch the post not the carpet or the furniture. Once again I refer you to our blog on 5 Reasons Every Cat Should Have A Cat Tower. Prevent a problem before starts!