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Choosing A Kitten
When choosing your new kitten, whether you have answered an advertisement in the local newspaper or have been recommended to a particular breeder, you should visit the kitten at its home. Many breeders have their cattery as an extension of their home but some breeders have the cats and kittens in a cattery outside. When visiting the cattery, it is usual and desirable to see the mother cat with her kittens. However, you may not be invited to handle very young kittens that have not been vaccinated and are vulnerable to infection or you may be asked to disinfect your hands. This is not a reflection on your personal hygiene, but a simple precaution against infection. However, you will be able to assess the general condition of the cats and kittens, and decide if this is going to be the breeder of your choice. I personally would choose a kitten that has been living inside the home. I believe that these kittens tend to be cleaner (as in the use of kitty trays) than a kitten living outside. Inside kittens have already adjusted to the home environment and the normal day to day hustle and bustle that happens in a home.
If all goes well and you choose a kitten you will probably be asked for a deposit against the cost of the kitten. This works both ways; you are now assured that your chosen kitten is definitely booked for you, and the breeder knows that your intentions are honourable.
You should tell the breeder the reasons for buying a kitten: is it purely for a pet, or do you wish to show it or maybe even breed from it? No breeder would wish to see an example of their breeding exhibited on the show bench if it is not up to standard as it would reflect on them their breeding program. If the kitten is for breeding you will need the breeders permission to do so. A pet quality kitten will be just the same as one sold for showing or breeding, but may have some small fault such as the eye colour is not intense enough or the coat pattern or colour is not correct.
Some simple health checks for your chosen kitten:
- ears should be clean and free from parasites
- eyes should be clean and bright with no discharge
- mouth and gums should be a healthy pink colour
- coat should be clean and free of fleas, flea dirt or bald patches
- anal region should be clean with no trace of faecal matter (pooh)
- if a kittens feels light but has a pot-belly, this may be a sign of worm infestation
- the kitten should not feel bony but should have a light padding of body fat
- the nose should be clean and free of discharge
- the kitten should be used to being handle from birth, and should not be frightened of humans
- If the kitten hisses or spits at you, or seems timid or nervous you are better off looking for another kitten
- Have a look at the kittens litter tray. Is it clean too? A strong smell along with runny excrement could indicate some infection
- Choose a kitten that has been bought up in the breeders home. To make sure that it has been living inside and not just bought inside especially for you, check if there are any cat toys lying around and if the kittens are playing with them and note how the kitten/s act with the other cats in the house.
Desexing your kitten
This can be done when the kitten is between 8-12 weeks old and is normally arranged by the breeder before you bring your new kitten home.
Below are the benefits of having your female kitten desexed:
In 7 years a female cat and her young can produce 420,000 cats.
There is no benefit to your cat to allow her to have a litter. It does not make her more placid or a happier cat.
Breeding only adds to the unwanted cat population.
The spey operation involves removing the entire uterus and both ovaries via an abdominal incision.
Advantages of speying include:
And of having your male kitten desexed:
- No unwanted kittens to find homes for.
- No disturbing behavior associated with heat. This includes howling, trying to escape and restlessness.
- No smelly, noisy, tom cats hanging around.
- Avoids diseases of the reproductive tract and mammary glands.
- Entire female cats are more aggressive and are more likely to fight. Fighting spreads Feline Aids.
Male cats can be neutered (castrated) and involves removing the testicles from the cat. This operation can be done from eight weeks of age. Castration will not ruin your cat's personality. Castrated males are usually more friendly and are less likely to roam.
Advantages of neutering are:
- Castrated males are far less likely to spray and the smell of the urine is greatly decreased.
- Castrated males don't go out looking to mate and therefore are less likely to be run over by a car or attacked by a dog.
- Fighting spreads Feline Aids and a castrated cat is less likely to go out fighting.
- Prevents your cat from yowling all night keeping you and your neighbours awake.