A new kitten is a fun time for all in the house. They have so much energy, they are constantly up to mischief and they are possibly the cutest thing ever created!
Kittens will arrive at any time from 7 weeks to 14 weeks. Many breeders of pedigree kittens keep them until they are 14 weeks . Up to this time, they are learning from their Mum many essentials such as grooming and behaviour.
Vaccinations – If not given by the breeder’s vet, vaccinations are given at 9 and 12 weeks of age or as soon after this as possible. I would advise all kittens to have the Flu, Enteritis and Leukaemia vaccines, even if they are going to be indoor cats. Read more about kitten vaccinations here.
Keeping inside – Kittens should be kept indoors until at least 2 weeks after their second set of vaccinations, although I know many people who keep them in until after they are spayed or castrated at 6 months. When you start to let them outside, let them out when hungry so they don’t stray far.
Microchipping – This is in my opinion essential for all animals. If they are ever lost, the first thing that the Police, the RSPCA or any Vet will do is scan your pet. They will then contact you on the details registered to the microchip. Many animals go missing every year and even indoor cats escape or fall out of windows. Cats are naturally curious and there are lots of stories of cats hitching rides in lorries ending up many miles from home!
Feeding – It is a good idea to get the fundamentals of nutrition correct at this early stage. Kittens have small teeth and may find hard food difficult to eat when very young but they quickly learn to adapt. Feeding a combination of wet and dry food when older, will often lead to obesity. Dry food, does not go off as quickly, so can be left out for a day or so. Your cat can then pick at the food, eating small amounts regularly, as it would naturally in the wild. It is advised to have a minimum of one feeding bowl per cat and one extra, in different parts of the house. (This same advice goes for litter trays and water bowls). Cat activity feeders can also be lots of fun for your kitten and will help later in life to keep her active. A good quality dried food, such as Royal Canin Kitten will deliver all the nutrients she needs and help to improve skin condition, immunity and gastrointestinal health.
Many people put the feeding bowl in the busiest part of the house, the kitchen. This can often be too hectic for cats especially if there are children in the house. It is also advisable to keep the bowl out of sight from large windows and doors to give your kitten security from cats outside and so reduce stress.
Flea and Worm control – In general, kittens should have a broad spectrum wormer with Panacur or Milbemax Kitten when 12 weeks old and then have monthly Stronghold flea treatments. Worming can then continue at a frequency based on her lifestyle which is best discussed with one of our vets or nurses. This often mean giving a worming treatment either tablet, granules or spot-on between 2 and 4 times per year.
Grooming – Try to get your kitten used to being brushed on a daily basis. The interaction is great and will make the bond with your kitten stronger. It is also really important in cats with long hair as they will need a daily groom to prevent matting of fur externally and hairballs in their stomachs. At the same time try to get her used to having her teeth, ears and paws examined. Some cats with flat faces such as Persians will also need their eyes cleaned daily.
Insurance – This is another essential, please read our section on pet insurance for more information.
Scratching Posts – Cats ‘strop’ to keep their nails sharp but also to leave their scent on prominent objects. They like natural fibres, running vertically, securely fastened at a suitable height. This ensures that when they stretch up they can have a good scratch. They also like to have the scratching post positioned just within the main living area.
Clicker Training – Clicker training is not just for dogs. It can be a very fun thing to do with your kitten. It is a reward-based training method that has its roots in classical and operant conditioning.
Multi cat household – Introducing a kitten into a home with one or more other cats can be stressful for the existing occupants. Please remember the rules about numbers of feeding bowls and litter trays. It would be a good idea to let the other cats get used to the kittens scent before letting them interact fully. This may require keeping the kitten in a room away from the others for a couple of days but putting her bedding where the other cats can examine it. Pheromone diffusers or spray such as Feliway are brilliant at helping in these situations.
If you want any help or further information please email or pick up the phone and give any one of the team a call.