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Below is our care sheet for kittens. If you would like general information on a our growing species list click on the links below.
Caring For Your New Kitten
Essential Care Items:
Feed your kitten the best quality food you can afford. Poorly balanced diets can result in obesity and a shortened life span. High quality food is easily digestible and, therefore, you use less. It also helps to decrease the amount of times your kitten goes to the bathroom. Kittens should be fed a growth formula until they are at least a year old. Growth formulas have more protein than the maintenance formulas, essential for growing kittens. We recommend feeding only dry cat food to help keep teeth healthy. Wet food can be given as a treat. Cats are considered grazers when it comes to eating and will eat throughout the day. Be sure to provide fresh water at all times.
Groom (brush) your kitten regularly (at least once daily). This helps distribute the oils in your kitten's skin making his coat shiny and healthy. Cats are notorious for hairballs which can be less frequent if brushed regularly. Kittens do not need to be bathed. Most cats are meticulous groomers. However, if you feel the need, a mild baby shampoo works great. Your kitten's nails should be trimmed monthly, taking just the sharp tips off. Be careful not to trim to short or bleeding will occur. If this happens, apply pressure to the nail tip until bleeding stops.
We do not recommend declawing because there are now other alternatives available such as a product called Soft Paws. Soft paws is a vinyl cap that can be fit over your cat's nails and is not harmful or permanent. You can get these caps at your veterinarian's office. You can find out more information about this product at www.softpaws.com.
A collar is necessary for the identification of your kitten. There are many types of collars on the market, making decisions difficult. We recommend that kittens wear break-away styles. This allows your kitten to be released if it should get caught (especially if it lives outdoors). A collar should be no tighter than to allow two fingers between neck and collar. Kittens generally don't like to be walked (they walk you!). If you are going to walk your kitten we recommend a harness style collar. This prevents choking and gives you better control of your kitten's body. They will have a harder time wriggling their way out!
Kittens are easy potty trainers. Instinctively a cat likes to go in a litter box. You will only have to show them once or twice before they know to go in the litter box. There are lots of good kitty litters but we recommend the clumping variety. It makes clean-up easier. The litter box should be cleaned daily with a sifter. The clumping litter should be completely replaced weekly. See tips in our Advanced Cats Section.
Toys allow your kitten to exercise, play and entertain itself. Kittens have a natural instinct to hunt and scratch. Balls to chase and bat around are a great toy for independent play. If you would like to play too, the feathers on a stick are a source of endless entertainment. Your kitten will also need somewhere to scratch (preferably not your couch!). Many are finicky about what they'll scratch. Try a little cat nip on a new scratcher so your kitten gets the idea. There are many varieties but we recommend the ones with carpet and rope. If you have problems with your kitten using the furniture as a scratching post...try a product called Sticky Paws which is transparent double sided tape that can be easily applied and removed from expensive furniture. www.stickypaws.com
When choosing your new kitten you should look for bright clear eyes (no discharge), a clear nose (no discharge), a shiny coat and, if possible, check any "potty areas" for firm stool with no diarrhea or mucus. A healthy kitten will be eager to play with you and chase or bat at toys. A common health problem is hairballs. It is caused by hair build-up in your cats system through the grooming process and during shedding periods. If your cat has a hairball, it will throw it up naturally. You can help to minimize this problem by giving your cat an over-the-counter hairball remedy such as Laxatone found at your local pet store. You can also try feeding your cat mineral oil from a spoon once per month as a preventative.
Enjoy your new fuzz ball and give your kitten lots of love and attention!