Louie’s Purr-Advice About Your Kitten
- The more human contact the better.
- Playtime isn’t just fun for you– it’s important for your pet’s development.
- It’s never too soon for your first veterinarian visit.
- Feed only a food formulated for a kitten’s special nutritional needs, like Purina Kitten Chow Nurturing Formula.
- Establish a grooming routine now for easier grooming later.
- Set ground rules for your kitten’s behavior, and be consistent in enforcing them.
- Begin litter box training immediately.
Taking Care of Your New Cat or Kitten
First of all, congratulations on the new member of your family. Bringing home a new pet is always an exciting adventure. This page is to help you understand and be aware of the things that go along with owning a cat or kitten.
The very first thing that you MUST do is to schedule an appointment with a local veterinarian to check out your new kitten. The vet will take a look at her and examine her to make sure she is healthy. You can do a minor check at home by following these guidelines:
Taking a Look
1. If you cannot get to a vet right away, inspect your kitten. Know every part of her, so if there were a change you would notice it. We will start at the ears. Take a look at them inside and make sure they are clear of debris. If you notice black, coffee-grain looking material in her ear, then your kitten most likely has ear mites. This is very common if your kitten has been around other cats. Mites are microscopic and cannot be seen with the naked eye. You cannot buy over-the-counter medicine to treat ear mites. If you do see mite medicine in the pet store, read it and it will probably say it “prevents” ear mites. At this point, your kitten already has ear mites, so it is imperative that you schedule an appointment with your vet for treatment.
2. Look at the eyes of your cat. Are they clear of any discharge? Is the third eyelid showing? (The third eyelid looks like a piece of skin that comes from the bottom of the eye.) This could be a sign of an infection or a sick cat. If there is discharge coming from the eyes, this could be a sign of conjunctivitis and may be related to an upper respiratory infection. This, too, is something that needs to be seen by a vet.
3. If you adopted a kitten, be prepared that the baby teeth will eventually be replaced by adult teeth. You most likely will not find discarded baby teeth lying around, as kittens tend to swallow them. If your adult cat still has baby teeth, the baby teeth need to be removed by a veterinarian to prevent dental problems later on.
4. Take a look at the hair on your cat. Is there hair missing? How is her coat? Diet can be a very important part of hair coat. If a kitten or cat is fed a cheap, unhealthy pet food, it shows in her hair. If you feed her good quality food, her coat will be fuller, and shinier and healthy-looking. Buying a more expensive food may actually save you money in the long run. The better quality foods have less fillers in them and the cats will eat less. The cheaper brand of cat foods have more fillers in them, so the cats tend to eat more in order to get the nutrients that are lacking.
5. Next thing you want to notice is whether your kitten has claws in both the front and the back. If you adopted a cat that has been declawed, it is very, very important that this cat remains an indoor pet. A cat left outside with no claws cannot defend herself from other animals and may get eaten by dogs or other wild animals. Declawed cats are cats that have surgically had their claws taken out by a veterinarian. This is to prevent scratching furniture. There are alternatives to declawing your cat. There is a product called “Soft Paws,” vinyl nails that are superglued to the cat’s nails. The product is available for both dogs and cats and comes in many colors. It is painless for the animals and lasts about 6 weeks. www.softpaws.com
Dangers of the outside world
If you choose to let your cat live outdoors, be advised of the things that could happen.
1. Your cat could get hit by a car. So many cats get hit by a car each week and it is very devastating to pet owners. Remember, you spent the money on adopting a cat, so don’t throw your money away on a chance it could get run over.
2. Ok, if you live out in the country and you think your cat is safe from traffic, danger still lurks nearby. Many cats get attacked or even eaten by dogs. Some dogs travel in packs and will chase your cat down and kill it.
3. AIDS!!! Yes that is right. Just like humans, cats can acquire Aids. This is called FIV. Just like humans, there is no cure for this disease. There is no vaccine for this disease. It is spread through mating and through bites from cat fights. It is especially seen in unspayed females because when the male cat mates, he bites the back of the female’s neck. Unneutered males have a higher infection rate because they tend to get into more cat fights which, in turn, produces more bites. Spaying and neutering your cats will reduce the risk some, but as long as they remain outside, they are still at high risk.
Please, if at all possible, keep your cats inside where they are at low or no risk.