Kitten Care

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Congratulations on the arrival of your new Kitten.

Welcoming her home

Bringing home a new kitten is always an exciting event- after all you are welcoming a new member of the family.

At first she will feel a little strange in the new surroundings. You can help her feel at home by making sure that there is food on her arrival and a warm place for her to rest and sleep. The best choice is to have a carrier when you collect the kitten and use that as her bed. A good alternative to begin with is a cardboard box on it's side with a blanket inside. This makes a secure, snug bed for the young kitten. At the beginning a quiet and restful environment is essential to make you kitten feel at home.

Your Veterinary Practice will be glad to give you some advice on nutrition and how important it is to establish good feeding habits, training, vaccination, worming and other measures of preventative healthcare (Please see the other section on the website for further information in these areas.)

General Care

It is a good idea to restrict your kitten to one room at first. If it is one with an open fireplace, place a guard around it- timid kittens have been known to bolt up the chimney. Likewise, make sure all of the windows and doors are shut on her arrival, you do not want to risk losing her. Preparing for her arrival as you would a new baby is useful. Do provide your kitten with a toy. A rubber ball or imitation mouse will help her to play and exercise. Please do not allow her to play with wool or string as these can be swallowed and become lodged in her intestines. See below for details of ordering our 'special introductory kitten starter kit'.

Surprisingly, Cats are very clean animals and will readily take to using a litter tray indoors. Tip: If she is unsure of cat litter, start by putting uncontaminated earth from the garden into the tray, the gradually over ten days, placing an increasing amount of cat litter mixed with the earth. Later on putting a cat flap in the door will encourage your growing kitten to 'go' outside. In patrolling her new territory, she will give herself plenty of exercise. A kitten's sense of fun and seemingly need to play endlessly are vital for her development so too is a visit to your Veterinary Practice. It is important to make an early appointment. Your kitten will then become familiar with the practice and the support staff and must receive her first vaccination, as she is susceptible to several contagious diseases. Your Veterinary Surgeon will advise on the interval for "booster vaccination".

Grooming

Do ask the Vet, but regular grooming and stroking is essential, it not only removes dirt and dead hair but also helps prevent skin irritation, you will naturally be forming a strong bond together.

Worming

Click here for detailed information about worming

Just as with skin irritation, intestinal parasites are one of the commonest problems of kitten hood. The Veterinary Practice will advice on worming and a control programme - click on 'worming' above to obtain more in depth information. Modern de-worming medicines from the Veterinary Surgeon are effective and gentle.

Exercise

Your growing kitten loves to play and exercise. They will often exercise themselves through hunting and exploration. Your kitten should also start to wear an identification tag with your name and telephone on it as soon as you bring him home. It may also an idea to consider microchipping, as an effective and permanent form of identification at your kittens first vaccination. Click here to find out more about microchipping.

Diet

Click here for detailed information about nutrition for your healthy cat.

Cats have not been as intensively bred as many dog breeds, so their anatomy is more "as Nature intended". Consequently they have few inherited physical problems. A sound and properly balanced diet will give her all of the protein, calcium and nutrients necessary to fuel her playful exercise. Moderate exercise and a good feeding program will combine to help muscle development, prevent obesity and maintain vitality. The Veterinary Practice will advise you on the most appropriate diet for your growing kitten.

Cats are natural carnivores and have special requirements for protein, fat and vitamin sources compared to other animals including dogs.

However, a kitten's nutritional needs are different from that of an adult cat and must be met by the small quantity of highly digestible food that the tiny kitten can accommodate. Rapid growth and development of bones, muscles and internal organs means that the diet is especially important during kitten hood. A kitten's nutritional needs are also different from those of an adult cat because kittens need relatively more energy, calcium and phosphorus than a grown animal. They are after all building a skeleton. However Nutritionalist's such as experts at Royal Canin, believe that excess levels of nutrients can be harmful over time. The right balance is crucial to avoid unnecessary excesses of nutrients such as vitamins, sodium and magnesium. Excess levels of magnesium for example can increase the risk of crystal formation in the urinary tract. Excess levels of sodium are unnecessary and may predispose to hypertension. A good start is so important in helping your cat lead a long and healthy life.

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