Monday, April 13, 2009

Bringing Home A New Kitten

What to do when bringing home a new kitten

So you have found the most adorable kitten and want to know what do I need?

1. Litter box and cat litter
2. Food and water bowls
3. kitten food
4. kitten toys
5. Veterinarian
6. Introducing new kitten to children or other pets

First and foremost, you will need to put in some due diligence as you prepare your home for the new family member.

It is a good idea to have your kittens litter box in the appropiate place before brining her home and you will want to have a specific spot for the cat litter box pre-arranged. It should be in a quiet area of your home. It should not be in a noisy laundry room or by a furnace that makes noise. Your cat will like her privacy, but don't want continual noise. Your litter box should not be too tall for your kitten to get in and out of. Start with the smaller, more basic one. As your kitten gets older and bigger, you can move up to the larger size.

You should pick a type of litter that you feel comfortable with. Today, most people like the ease of a clumping litter, but do not use the scented litter. Cats normally prefer very fine-grained litter. Think of what cats in the wild do. They do their business in the sand. With clumping cat litter, it is easy to scoop out the urine or feces and discard. Note: Do not throw any cat litter in a toilet. It will quickly form a block in your sewer system. Instead, have a small inexpensive trash container with a liner near your box and simply put it in there. I use the diaper disposal bags from the dollar store. I simply put them by my scooper and trashcan. I scoop out the soiled litter and put it into the bag, tie it up and then put in the trash.

Choosing your food and water bowls. It is best to buy a set of ceramic or stainless steel bowls. Start with the smaller ones. Make sure that your kitten has a specific place to be fed and drink water in your home. Again, privacy is best. Make sure you clean the food bowl once a day and fill the water bowl with fresh water daily. You may want to purchase a pet fountain to provide continual fresh water.

There are many brands of kitten food on the market. Make sure that you buy kitten food and not cat food. Your veterinarian can tell you how much you should be feeding and what type of food. They will be happy calculate the exact amount of food to feed. Make sure your kitten food has a high ratio of protein in it's ingredient list. It should be at least 9-10% protein.

Toys for a new kitten are like buying toys for a baby. Kittens need toys that are safe. Do not give them a toy with a bell or anything that can be pulled off and swallowed unless you are holding it while playing and monitoring your kitten. They like things they can chase. I highly recommend that any cat toy is only out when actively playing with your kitten. That way you will never risk the kitten swallowing anything harmful. Always supervise play with children and a new kitten. You can buy a pull and chase toy like Smarty cat feather frolic. Anything that you can pull and the kitten can chase is great.

Do your research before choosing your veterinarian. Talk to friends and see who they recommend. Remember a veterinary clinic that has multiple vets on staff can be the best choice. Also, ask what hours they are open. My veterinary clinic is open every day. Ask if they also have all the equipment and area for immediate care. Find out where the nearest immediate care veterinary facility is also. Have that and your veterinarian's phone numbers on the refrigerator and programmed in your cell phones.

I have found patience is the key to introducing a new kitten to it's new surroundings. It is necessary that you ease the kitten through this adjustment period, especially when there are young children around, as well as other pets. In addition to supervising your children when they are playing with the new kitten, you should teach them how to handle the kitten with the utmost care and respect.

If you have other pets in the house you will need to separate your kitten and introduce her slowly. If you have cats living with you already, you will have to put the new kitten in a room with a door. Let your other cats sniff under the door and play with her paws. Do this for at least 24 hours before letting your existing cats see the new kitten. The same thing should happen if you have a dog in the house. Let your dog smell the kitten from under a door for at least 24 hours before allowing them to see or interact with each other. Remember the kitten is the stranger in the house to your other pets. Let your other pets gradually welcome her.

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