A new beginning with your kitten
- Your new kitten needs an abundance of attention and care
- When naming your kitten, remember short names are easier for kittens to learn
- Teach your kitten its name by using it constantly
- Buy collars that allow for two finger widths of space between the neck and collar, and check the collars fit every week while it is still growing
- You can comfort your kitten at bedtime by providing a blanket or plush pet toy to cuddle, a ticking clock wrapped in a blanket can also help as it mimics the mother's heartbeat
- Help your kitten to a good start by putting the litter tray in a room or place where you intend the tray to be in the future so it is familiar with where to go
- Brush your kitten regularly, it is a nice way to spend quality time together and get your kitten used to handling. It also helps minimise furballs. Regular brushing is even more important in cats with long fur. Kittens usually start to groom themslevs by 3-4 months of age.
Play with your kitten for a happy, healthy life
- Alternate toys during play time and put them away between play sessions so your kitten won't get tired of them
- To challenge and stimulate your kitten buy intellectual toys, like a ball with flashing lights or a stuffed cat toy that makes sounds
- Play games that direct your kitten's playful energy away from you. Chasing ping pong balls is great fun
- Avoid games that encourage your kitten to pounce on moving fingers, hands, feet or legs. These could encourage aggression later.
- Despite the traditional image of a kitten playing with a ball of wool or string, these are dangerous if swallowed
Regular vet visits keep your kitten healthy
We recommend you make an appointment for a health check soon after bringing your new kitten home.
If your kitten is suffering from diarrhoea, vomitting or showing other unusual symptoms contact us immediately.
Kittens should begin vaccinations as early as 6 weeks of age. They will then typically require further vaccinations at 12 and 16 weeks of age. At the North Road Veterinary Centre we will recommend a vaccination program tailored to your kittens needs.
The following diseases are preventable by vaccinations:
- Feine Enteritis: a viral disease that causes vomiting and diarrhoea, and is often fatal
- Cat Flu (Herpesvirus, Calicivirus and Chlamydia) - a group of upper respiratory viral and bacterial diseases that can progress to pneumonia and cause other serious illness.
- Feline Leukaemia (FeLV): a deadly virus that inhibits the immune system and causes debilitating diseases including various types of cancer
- Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV): a fatal virus contagious amongst cats from fighting and cat bites that impacts the immune system
Desexing your kitten is in your kitten's best interest
- Research shows that speyed or neutered pets live longer and have reduced risks of a variety of serious health problems, including certain types of cancer
- Speying or neutering at a young age (4-6 months) often helps prevent behavioural problems, like urine marking and aggression
- Speying or neutering your pet helps control pet overpopulation.
Nutrition and your kitten
At least 80 percent of a kitten's diet should be made up of a good qaulity, fully balanced kitten food.
Good nutrition isn't just about the ingredients; it is also about finding the right balance of nutrients. The right level of nutrients promotes food health and quality of life.
- The professional range of kitten and cat foods (eg Hills and Royal Canin) are not only completely balanced, but also offer a very high standard of nutrition and high digestibility. A full range of these diets is available at our clinic and the team is always happy to guide you and provide advice.
- Kittens should be fed at least 3 times a day until 6 months of age, after this you can reduce to and maintain twice daily feeding. Kittens and cats will often self regulate their feeding, and food may be left down all the time if they prefer this and there is not a risk of over-feeding. Care should be taken as your cat matures to ensure it does not become overweight with 'free-range' feeding.
- Any changes in diet should always be introduced gradually, helping to prevent any stomach upsets.
- Avoid giving your cat large qauntities of raw fish, as this may cause life-threatening thiamine deficiency
- Cats are carnivorous in nature, so fresh meat in moderation can be fed, but should not be the main source of nutrtion
- Clean water should always be available. Milk is not recommended as it can result in diarrhoea, many cats are lactose intolerant.
- There are two main categories of parasites that are of concern for kitten and cat health: intestinal worms (roundworm, tapeworm and hookworm) and fleas. Control measures for these should be introduced from 6-8weeks of age.
- Treatments and preventative medications are available at the clinic in the form of tablets, pastes and spot-ons, and these should be continued as an ongoing preventative care throughout your cat's life. Our team can advise you as to the best option to meet you and your cat's needs.
- Please ensure your cat does not have access to lillies. All parts of the plant are extremely toxic to cats and ingestion of small amounts can cause acute renal failure.
- Do not give you cat any medications unless authorised by a vet, many harmleess human medications are poisonous to cats. Paracetomol is extremely toxic to cats.
Enjoy the many years of love and companionship with your new best friend.