You have now chosen
your new kitten and it is almost time to bring your baby home.
Below are a list of things you will
need to make the kitten more comfortable in your home.
Carry Cage - To transport your
new kitten safely home in. Buy one that is large enough so that it can
be used throughout the cat's life, eg; for visits to the vet, cat shows
or just to be safely transported. Carry cages are readily available from
most pet stores, RSPCA or vet clinics. Buy one that is washable.
Cat Bed - There are many
available on the market, from soft padded ovals with high sides to cat
houses that are enclosed on all sides
an opening in front. A cardboard box filled with soft bedding is also
adequate but more often than not when your kitten is older you may find
it sleeping on your bed, but who am I fooling, they normally like to
sleep in the bed.
Tray - A first kitten tray with lower sides
for the kitten
to get easily in and out of, but can then be upgraded to a more
substantial tray with higher sides to prevent the spread of kitty
litter. There are also
some available that are enclosed. Don't forget to buy a scoop to easily
remove cat pooh and wet litter from the trays daily.
- Initially it is best to use the same litter as the kitten has been
used to. This can gradually be changed over time to the litter you
prefer. There are many kitty litters available. Some breeders and owners
prefer chicken pellets or kangaroo pellets. After use these can be
spread over the garden after the cat pooh and clumps have been removed.
There are many brands of commercial kitty litter available from
supermarkets, but please be aware of the clumping brands. There have
been some reports of cats and kittens dying after they have ingested
some of the litter. There is also an excellent recycled paper kitty
Bowls - Have at least 2 bowls
for fresh water and food. These should have fairly low sides so the
kitten can easily eat and drink from them.
Cat Food - Initially it is best
to use the same food as the breeder has been feeding the kitten. You can
then change foods gradually. A sudden change in food may cause diarrhoea,
which can be life-threatening. Also have fresh clean water available at
Cat Toys - There are many, many
excellent cat toys on the market. My cats favourites are small furry
mice, soft glitter pom-pom balls that are available from most good
haberdashery stores, scrunched up paper bags, pipe-cleaner
"spiders" and "fish or butterfly's" on a string.
- Cats and kittens love
chewing on grass, so pick some fresh grass every couple of days. You can
also plant bird seed in pots, this will only take a few days to sprout.
You can also buy pots of cat grass. Look for this at your local plant
nursery, normally in the herb section. Chewing grass is good for their
digestion and health. But watch out for the inevitable small amount of
grass vomit. It's not pleasant to step in with bare feet!
Scratching Post - To save your furniture from being ruined supply
your kitten with a scratching pole. This can be a simple pole covered
with sisal rope or carpet to elaborate poles with shelves, holes and
crannies. Scratching poles can be home-made or bought from pet shops or
some cat shows.
normal cat behaviour. Having a scratching post is important, but it has
to be covered with a suitable material such as carpet or sisal rope.
Some cats like to scratch on vertical surfaces, others on flat surfaces,
but the kitten has to be able to rip and shred the material. Don't
replace the material when it's all torn and worn - this means the most
to the cat! The scratching post should be stable, and should be tall
enough for the cat to stretch.
discourage scratching by:
areas with thick plastic
with a water pistol in mid scratch
suitable toys to relieve cats boredom
Brush & comb - Regular
grooming of your cats coat is beneficial for the cat as is provides
closeness with you, helps to limit fur-balls and helps to control moulting.
Nail Clippers - Guillotine type
nail clippers especially designed for pets are the best. Avoid using
human nail clippers or scissors as they can split the nail. See grooming
page for directions on clipping your cat's nails.
Cattery - Nowadays it is not a
good idea to let your cat roam free. Many Councils (Shires) have bylaws
allowing anyone to catch a roaming cat, that does not have a collar or
tag, and have it legally put down. But you say, my cat always wears a
collar and tag. Collars get caught
in things and then the cat pulls it off, especially the collars with
elastic inserts. If you don't have an elastic insert
your cat could accidentally hang itself. Also sad
to say there are many cat haters
out there who might have malicious
feelings towards your cat. So the safest thing is to keep the cat inside
or in a cattery. Don't worry, cats are very happy and contented if they are kept inside,
just make sure they have some toys to play with.
photo of the cattery is the one we built for our cats and faces north. They go outside
for some fresh air when it's not cold or too hot.
The area to the right is their day time sleeping quarters where they can snuggle
up together. We have tried to
make the cattery an exercise area where the cats can climb, jump and
scratch in the dirt.
Worming - Always worm your cats every three
months and take them to the vet at least once a year for an annual
check-up and vaccination. Your cats should be at least vaccinated
against Feline Enteritis and against Feline Respiratory Disease. There
are many other diseases that we can protect our cats from, please speak
to your Vet about what other vaccinations are available.
Fleas - Fleas can also be a problem at certain
times of the year. These can be removed easily from your cats with a
little work with a nit comb and a cat safe flea powder.
Desexing - If you will not be a registered
breeder, please have your cat desexed. This can be done at around 5-9
months, but again please check with your vet. Most breeders now sell
their kittens desexed, which is done when the kitten is between 10-12
Remember, vets are the experts. They
have spent many years in study to be able to advise and treat your cats.
So please take the time to listen to them.
Some cat tips:
Giving a cat a
tablet can be an experience - your arms may never be the same. You
can buy Pill Poppers which mean no fingers near their mouths. I find the
method that works for me is to sit on the floor, place the cat between
my legs, gently lift the cat's head back and drop the tablet into the
cat's mouth. Then gently rub the cat's throat. This encourages the cat
to swallow. But act calm and precise no matter what method you choose to
Cats can be
washed, but use a non toxic shampoo as the cat will groom itself after
Cats can be
taught to stay inside. Start the moment you bring the kitten home and
you will find that they will not want to leave! If you buy a kitten that
has been bought up inside the home this will make the job easier.
If you find your
cat is spraying urine or has had an accident, clean the soiled area
thoroughly using the below methods: