Powernubby.com: Bringing Home A New Kitten: Things to Consider. Taking on a kitten is an expensive investment, you must ensure that not only are you prepared for the responsibility of a kitten but you can also afford healthcare and maybe insurance. Initial vaccinations are now about £45, microchipping about £20 and neutering is around £28 for a male and £37 for a female, not forgetting the wormers and flea treatments.
Here Are Several Things to Consider Before Deciding to Bringing Home A New Kitten
You may want to consider a slightly older kitten or cat from a charity such as the RSPCA. They neuter and vaccinate their cats before they are ready for re-homing. When chosing a kitten you have lots of factors to think about: male or female, pedigree or non-pedigree, will it be indoors or outdoors, how old will it be when you get it and will it get on with your other animals? Visit the kitten when it is still with it’s mother, check it for any signs of discharge from the eyes, ears and bottom. The coat should be in good condition and the eyes bright. The kitten should be active and alert and though the smallest one (runt) may look cute it may suffer from health problems.
Very small kittens often suffer broken legs because they have a habit of getting underfoot due to their natural curiousity! Socialisation Kittens which leave their mothers at a very young age may later develop socialisation problems, ideally kittens should be at least 8 weeks old (preferably 12) before they leave their mother. Kittens learn from the mother about the social interactions between cats and humans.
You should always see the kittens with their mother, this will also give you an indication of the mothers temperament (which can be genetically passed on). Kittens from a pet shop or breeder which have had little human contact may also develop behaviour problems. Without this early contact between humans and cats they may grow to fear or distrust humans and thus become very independent. This can lead to a kitten with aggression problems.
The first few weeks (up to 12 weeks old) of your kitten’s life are very important and they should be allowed to meet as many different people, encounter different environments and situations as possible. This will decrease the likelihood of you having a cat with behaviour problems such as nervousness. If you have an enclosed garden, let your kitten explore it. Many people worry about this before the cat is fully vaccinated. However if you take precautions such as checking for other cat faeces and maybe even putting your kitten on a harness so you can control where it goes then there should not be a problem. It is a decision only the owner can make, but if the kitten is let out it must be supervised at all times.
The three diseases which your kitten should be vaccinated against are: feline enteritis, cat flu (cat influenza) and the feline leukaemia virus (FeLV). Usually your kitten will be vaccinated at 9 weeks old and have a second injection at 12 weeks old. After which your cat will be covered a week later and can go outside. Your vet will probably recommend an annual booster injection, however there is now a lot of controversy about whether this is necessary. There are few studies available in books to read on this, although there is a lot of information on the net.
There does not seem to be any scientific data which actually supports giving boosters every year and one of the stronger arguments by Dr.Rogers (DVM) found on critterfixer.com does suggest that cats have no need for annual vaccination of FeLV because after they are one year old they develop what is known as age related immunity. It must be stressed that the decision whether to give your cat annual vaccinations is the owner’s personal opinion and we cannot advise you either way. It is worth considering that insurance companies may not pay out on cats which are not fully vaccinated and catteries may not take them.
If you are thinking about travelling abroad with your cat (cats are very territorial animals and can be easily stressed by such things as travel) then ask your vet about other vaccinations that may be needed.
Worms can be passed from the mother or can be passed onto your cat by the mice and birds it hunts. There are two types of worms a cat can suffer from, they can be passed from the mother to kittens and if left untreated can eventually result in the severe deterioration of the cat/kittens health and even cause death. Tape worms come away in segments and resemble grains of rice, Round worms look like thin pieces of string. There are many remedies on the market but it is always best to get your vet to recommend one because the amount given depends on the age and weight of the cat; wormers from pet shops are not always totally reliable and efficient. Regular worming is recommended until your kitten is 6 months old.
If you are lucky, your kitten will already be toilet trained. Their mother can teach them this, although kittens taken away too early from their mother may miss out on learning social and hygiene skills. You should choose a shallow litter tray so small kittens do not have difficulty using it. Ask the breeder what type of cat litter they used as there is a wide variety available and if your kitten may already be accustomed to a certain type. However, if your kitten is not trained then it is quite easy to do so. After the kitten has eaten gently place it in the tray, hold its paws and scratch them in the litter. The kitten should eventually learn to do this itself. However, if there is an accident do not shout (this encourages them to go to the toilet secretly when you are not there!). If it is faeces pick them up and put them in the litter tray and show your kitten.
If your kitten persistantly urinates in the same place try moving the litter tray to that area for a few days and scrub the floor with a cleaner that does not contain ammonia (ammonia smells like urine to a cat and they may keep marking that place). Some cats prefer to urinate and defecate in separate litter trays, so two may be necessary (especially when they are young and may get confused where the tray is). Keep the tray away from their food. Always keep the tray as clean as possible. If it is dirty cats tend to ‘hold on’ and this can lead to urinary problems such as cystitis.
When a female cat is neutered it is called spaying when a male is neutered it is called castration. A responsible pet owner should get their cat neutered to avoid unwanted kittens. Cats can be neutered from about 6 months old, they can also become pregnant from this age and female cats can come into season as often as every 4-5 weeks in the spring and summer, that’s a lot of kittens!
FACT: Most cats killed on the roads are uncastrated tom cats, neutering will avoid your cat from wandering, fighting as much and spraying urine in your house!
Range of diets:
Choosing a diet for your cat can be confusing. There are many different diets available for kittens, adult cats, indoor cats, outdoor cats, senior cats and then a whole range of diets for cats with conditions such as kidney failure.
Many new diets are being used to manage disease, however, if you feed a good diet to begin with, you will help avoid disease and future visits to your vet!
Many animal health professionals are now realising that feeding a poor quality diet throughout an animals life is one of the main contributary factors in causing health problems!
These are not suitable for kittens or cats. Cats must get their protein from an animal source to survive successfully. On a vegetarian diet they are at risk from deficiencies of taurine, arginine, tryptophan, lysine and Vitamin A deficiency. A cat’s liver has a limited capacity to produce the amino acid, Taurine. It is found in animal tissues but is not in plant material, therefore vegetarian diets fail to provide sufficient amounts of this nutrient. A deficiency causes visual impairment which may cause the cat to bump into things, failure to reproduce successfully and heart disease.
So, are you ready bringing home a new kitten?