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When you first get your new kitten, you want to know that everything's OK, which is why we offer a free kitten health check - the vet will give the kitten a complete checkover, offer you any advice you may need and answer any questions you may have.

We also offer a kitten starter pack at a special price, which includes the first set of vaccinations, along with their first worming and flea treatment at no extra charge so you can give your kitten the best start, in the knowledge he or she is protected.

 

How To Raise a Happy Kitten - a Vet's Advice

Things to do before collecting your kitten -

  • The best kind of basket for your kitten is one with a top-opening lid. It is so much easier to drop them in it, and take them out from, than one with a little swing door on the front. Your kitten is less likely to get stuck and tangled in a towelling, fleecy, or cotton bed than a woollen one.
  • Before collecting your new kitten ensure that your home has been suitably prepared for its arrival and you have everything you need for a good start and a happy cat.
  • Keep windows and doors closed to prevent escape. Upper storey windows and balconies should especially be kept closed to prevent falls, cats are naturally curious and inclined to look over the edge. Closing windows and doors will also prevent neighbourhood cats from coming in and attacking the new arrival.
  • Ensure that electrical items are switched off and cables are out of reach of your kitten. They may chew through these and cause themselves injury or worse, or may tangle or tourniquet themselves in them.
  • Never allow them to play with toys or objects small enough to swallow.
  • Ensure toilet lids are kept shut to prevent drowning, check your washing machine and tumble dryer before turning it on cats are inquisitive and will climb into small spaces such as these.
  • Make sure there are plenty of indoor dens and safe places to hide (cats love cardboard boxes, almost more than anything else), especially places at various heights. But please be aware that kittens do climb onto furniture and jump so you will need to ensure that any collectables or treasured items are out of reach and in a safe place. Your kitten will find your special vase and send it crashing to the ground!
  • Ensure your kitten has plenty of toys, and a variety of different toys, including interactive toys, and scratching posts. Fishing rod type toys (with fluffy lures at the end of the line) should be used only whilst supervised because of the danger of choking, and ensure these are put out of the kitten’s reach when not being played with.
  • Use a Feliway diffuser when first introducing the cat to the new environment plug in a couple of hours before the cat arrives in the room they will mostly be in. Some breeders advise that the cat basket is sprayed with the Feliway aesosol before you collect your kitten.

Now that your kitten is home -

  • Leave the travel basket/carrier in the room when first introducing them to the new environment, leave the door/lid open and let them come and explore when they are ready, leave the carrier in the room to ensure they can go back into it when they want to. Cats like places to hide. Cardboard boxes are a good idea to have around the house.
  • Keep litter trays a distance away from your kitten’s feeding area, patio doors and large windows. Cats like privacy too! They do not like being seen whilst on the litter tray or when feeding. If you have more than one cat then ideally you should have one litter tray per cat as well as one extra, this will help prevent any behaviour issues. It is better to prevent grudge matches than to try to resolve them, which can be a lengthy and complicated process.
  • Cats like to have a separate water bowl away from their food source, they also like free flowing water. Cat water fountains are a good idea.
  • Always feed a good quality kitten diet. Kittens prefer to have several small meals throughout the day rather than one or two large meals. Water is sufficient for kittens. They should never be given cows’ milk as they are intolerant to this. If you do want to give your kitten commercial kitten milk ensure that it is a specifically manufactured kitten milk, although this is not essential, or even necessary. Your kitten has been weaned and should be on solids only.
  • Cats do not like being dirty and will spend a lot of time grooming themselves, shallow feeding bowls with vertical sides are best as this helps prevent them getting messy faces/whiskers whilst eating. It is a good idea to get your cat used to having their faces/mouths wiped with a damp facecloth as cats do not appreciate being bathed. They normally do not like being submerged water!
  • Get your kitten used to being handled at an early age, pick them up, encourage everyone in the household and visitors to handle them, so they do not shy away from people later in life. Ensure children are gentle when handling them. Kittens can scratch and bite.
  • Ensure when handling them you handle and look in their ears and mouth (open up the mouth as practice for dosing tablets), check their feet and individual toes. This will help get them get used to being handled as well as enable you to notice any signs of ill health or injury.
  • Be aware of the warning signs that your cat has ‘had enough’: ears back, hissing, tail wagging, growling, cats do scratch and bite when angry. They do need time to themselves, so read the warning signs!
  • Get your kitten used to being brushed at an early age; especially long haired cats, this will save you grooming fees! The nurses can advise you on the types of brushes/combs suitable for use. This is very important. Do not stop when your kitten resists – if you do, your kitten has won the first of many battles. Stop grooming when you wish it to end. Always try and be firm and confident. You kitten will feel it can trust you.
  • Ensure your cat is well socialised and not nervous of noise. Get people, including children, to visit the house. Ensure your kitten gets used to all kinds of different noises from an early age: vacuum cleaners, tin foil, saucepans, etc.
  • Kittens should ideally be kept indoors until they are neutered and microchipped. Neutering is best done at six months of age.
  • Microchip operated cat-flaps are a good idea. These prevent other cats getting into your home and terrorising your cat. These can usually also be set to lock when your cat comes in at night/sunset and automatically unlock again at sunlight.
  • We strongly recommend that cats are kept indoors at night. Most road traffic accidents and fights happen at dusk and dawn.
  • Get your kitten used to a collar as soon as possible. But never leave them alone with the collar on until they are a little older. When letting your cat outside, it is a good idea to ensure they have a correctly fitted cat collar, with an identity tag to show that they are owned, and a bell attached to warn birds to keep out of their way.
  • Holidays/weekends away. Your kitten will need to fit into the life you lead. This means that it may need someone to feed and care for it whilst you are away. This is something you will need to consider, whether it be a neighbour or friend popping in to feed them, or a cattery.;
  • Travel. It is a good idea to get your kitten used to being in the cat basket and in the car. Practice this at home. Without going anywhere, put the cat in the basket and sit with it in the car, with the engine running. Use a calm, cheerful voice throughout to reassure your kitten. Some cat prefer being covered and in the dark while in the car. Others don’t mind either way. Never take your kitten or cat anywhere other than in a cat basket.
  • Remember you are your cat’s servant/waitress/butler.

Please phone the practice if you have any questions. We are always happy to chat about kittens and puppies.