May 3, 2013

How To Prepare for a Kitten

Filed under: cats,Kitten Care — Tags: , , , — Dr. Amber Reed @ 10:25 pm

Prepare for KittenMaking the decision to bring a kitten home can be very exciting. Who wouldn’t want a small, cute, furry friend to join their home? Just keep in mind that your new friend is going to be completely reliant on you. Your kitten will be entering a new environment and must feel safe, loved, and taken care of. Use the following tips to help you prepare for a kitten, in order to ensure that you start your relationship off on the right foot.

1. Inform your household of the kitten’s arrival
Since the kitten will become part of your family, it is important to inform everyone in your home about your new furry friend. This will help ensure that everyone is prepared for the arrival of the new family member. It will also give a chance for others to lend a helping hand, to prepare for your kitten’s arrival.

2. Do some research
If you have never had a cat before, it is important that to understand cat behaviors. This will help you to not only better understand your cat, but it will help you take care of your cat. Once you have conducted research, be sure to share it with other’s in your household.

3. Choose a spot for your furry friend
Designate a certain spot in your house that will be your cat’s own space. This spot should be warm and secure. You should also “cat-proof” the space by making sure that objects, like plants that are poisonous to cats and cable wires, are out of the kitten’s reach.

4. Visit a pet store
There are important items that kittens need in their daily lives. Ensure that you have acquired these items before the arrival of your four-legged friend:

Litter box: A new, clean and comfortable litter box should be acquired for the kitten.

Food and water bowls: Opt for a ceramic or stainless steel bowl. They are said to be healthier for pets.

An identification tag: Whether you plan to have an indoor or outdoor cat, you want to make sure that your furry friend will be found if he ever gets lost.

Scratching post: Cats need to scratch themselves and a scratching post will prevent your kitten from using your carpet or furniture as his scratching stations.

Cat carrier: You’ll want a carrier in order to safely transport your kitten while travelling or even for simple visit to the vet.

Food: There are many brands of kitten food and it is important to do research on the best type of food before buying. Providing your kitten with a nutritious diet will prevent health problems in the long run.

Tools for grooming: Even kittens need good grooming. A comb, brush and shampoo can help achieve this.

5. Visit a veterinarian with your kitten
Upon your kitten’s arrival, it is important to visit a veterinarian. Your vet will check the kitten’s overall health while also offering you advice on how to care for your new friend.

After these 5 steps, you should be prepared and ready to welcome home your new friend.

We’re social! Do you have a comment, question, or concern about bringing a kitten home? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter, or the comment box below.


November 13, 2010

Feeding Kittens

Filed under: Kitten Care — Dr. Amber Reed @ 3:01 pm

So you’ve just brought home a new kitten and you want to do everything you can to make sure it grows into a happy healthy cat.  Obviously, nutrition is one of the most important factors for determining your kitten’s future health and as such cat owners should learn how to properly feed their kittens.  From mother’s milk to solid foods, this guide will give you information about the basic requirements of kitten nutrition.

During the first 2 or 3 months of your kitten’s life, she should have access to mother’s milk.  Indeed, in her first 10 weeks, your kitten will grow considerably.  Kittens at birth weigh less than 5 ounces and will gain an ounce of weight every day and within a few weeks will weigh at least a couple pounds.  Throughout this period of rapid growth, the mother’s milk provides complete nutrition in addition to antibodies that help kittens fight disease.

At around the 3 week mark, you can start introducing solid foods to your kitten’s diet.  Still, at this point the mother’s milk will be the main source of food but you can offer solids as well.  Canned foods are the best to introduce first as they are soft and palatable for kittens who have no teeth and fragile stomachs.  Gradually over the next several weeks you can introduce more solids as your kitten weans off its mother’s milk.

Finally, once your kitten is fully weaned off its mother’s milk you need to create a balanced diet for your kitten.  Your kitten’s new diet should be rich in protein, minerals, and vitamins; it is recommended that you purchase cat food specifically designed for kittens.  Also, be wary of inexpensive cat foods that are packed with fillers but may not offer the nutrition your kitten needs.  A balanced kitten diet includes:

  • Protein
  • Calcium
  • Phosphorus
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin D
  • Thiamine
  • Zinc

Throughout the first several weeks of your kitten’s life you have an important responsibility to provide your kitten with adequate nutrition.  With a complete and balanced diet, your kitten will be an active, healthy cat.

September 20, 2010

Bottle Feeding a Newborn Kitten

Filed under: Kitten Care — Dr. Amber Reed @ 10:17 am

bottle feeding kittensIf your cat has recently had kittens or you’ve decided to care for some abandoned kittens, nutrition is one of your most important responsibilities.  During the first several days of life, newborn kittens rely on proper nutrition for survival.  The following detailed instructions should help you understand the best way to bottle feed your new kitten as well as how you can help them with cleanup.

1.       Prepare yourself to be a surrogate mother for your newborn kitten.  Bottle feeding a newborn kitten will not always be easy and you’ll need to devote 10 or 20 minutes several times a day to ensure proper nutrition.

2.       When bottle feeding a newborn kitten, you’ll need a sterile kitten-sized bottle, which you can prepare by soaking the bottle in boiling water for 5 minutes.  After cooling the bottle, collect a bath towel, a washcloth, and a bowl of warm water.

3.       Fill the bottle with a premium brand of commercial kitten milk and warm the milk in a bowl of very hot water.  You want to warm the milk to water temperature before bottle feeding your newborn kitten.

4.       With the kitten face down in your lap, stroke her until she is warm to avoid digestive problems.  Do not raise the kittens head, but place the bottle in her mouth and she should start nursing immediately.

5.       If your kitten does not start nursing immediately, check that milk is flowing freely from the bottle.  You may need to gently stroke your newborn kitten’s head and back to stimulate nursing reflexes.

6.       When you’re finished feeding, burp your newborn kitten by holding one hand under her stomach while gently patting her on the back.

7.       Mother cats will help their newborn kittens to eliminate by licking their anus and genital area.  As a surrogate mother, you’ll need to use a warm, damp cloth to gently rub your newborn kitten’s anus and genitals to stimulate elimination.

8.       Finally, understand that newborn kittens will require somewhere between 9 and 12 feedings of about 1 ounce of formula every day.

September 17, 2010

Kitten Nutrition

Filed under: Kitten Care — Dr. Amber Reed @ 10:08 am

Like infant humans, kittens have specific dietary needs.  Infants develop very quickly and kittens need a diet that is rich in protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals to ensure that they become happy, healthy adult cats.  Muscles and supporting tissue require protein for proper development; fatty acids and fat-soluble vitamins need fat; and extra calories help your kitten to have the energy for their developmental needs.  As such, it is important that you take your kittens dietary needs seriously and choose foods that have been formulated for your kitten specifically.

There are a range of canned kitten foods that provide a range of benefits.  Not only are canned foods an excellent source of protein, but premium brands offer all the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that your kitten needs to develop strong bones and healthy muscles as well as good dental hygiene.  More importantly, a premium canned kitten food is an excellent source of protein and calories that gives your kitten the energy they need during the first weeks of life, marked by intense growth.

Dry kitten foods are also important for your kitten’s health.  While also providing proteins, vitamins, and minerals, dry kitten foods are also packed with essential fats that help deliver vitamins as well as developing fatty acids that are essential for kitten health.  In fact, dry kitten foods are also rich in proteins and have been shown to help kittens with weight gain.

When it comes to your kitten’s nutrition, you can never be too careful.  The first few weeks of your kitten’s life represent a period of very quick growth and your kitten’s diet is a key element of this growth.  Kittens generally gain wait on a daily basis, so if you notice that your kitten is not growing you should contact your veterinarian immediately.

September 15, 2010

Newborn Kitten Care

Filed under: Kitten Care — Dr. Amber Reed @ 9:02 am

The first four weeks of a newborn kitten’s life are full of growth and development.  Indeed, these initial weeks are fundamental with regards to your kitten’s personality and character as well as for other factors such as their health.  Very young kittens are especially susceptible to health threats and they are also growing at an unbelievable rate.  In most cases, two scenarios for kitten care may be played out.  Your kittens may have a loving and attentive mother who feeds them and helps them to grow, or they may have been abandoned by their mother or be alone for some other reason.  As a newborn kitten owner, it is your responsibility to ensure that the kitten gets all the care it needs to develop normally.

As newborns, kittens generally weigh about 3 ounces but will gain weight every day.  Charting their growth is important to make sure that the kittens are getting enough food.  Usually, kittens may mew but will not fuss or cry when eating.  Moreover, they should gain a little weight every day.  If you notice your kitten is a fussy eater or that it’s not gaining weight steadily, contact your veterinarian.

If you are left to feed the newborn kitten on your own, you have the choice to bottle feed to tube feed the kittens.  Tube feeding can be difficult as kittens need a precise amount of food depending on their weight, so speak to your vet for his recommendations.  In addition, there are other elements of newborn kitten care.  In the beginning, kittens sleep the majority of the day and eat the rest.  However, newborn kittens cannot defecate or urinate on their own and usually the mother will lick and clean her kittens.  In absence of a mother, it is your responsibility to gently clean your newborn kitten and its genital area with a soft, moist cloth.  This should be done every two hours as it helps to stimulate toileting.  Change your newborn kitten’s blankets twice a day and wipe the kittens clean regularly.

June 21, 2010

Cat Aggression During Playtime

Filed under: cat aggressive behaviour,Cat behavior,Kitten Care — Dr. Amber Reed @ 5:39 pm

Anybody who has had a kitten can tell you that their play can be aggressive.  In fact, you may be able to spot a new kitten owner by the scratch marks on their hands and arms.  While some owners can withstand the sort of aggressive attacks that leave marks on the skin, as kittens become cats the scratching becomes more serious (not to mention more painful).  At this point, you want to teach your cat to play without the aggression so as to avoid injury to friends, family, and children.

cat aggression while playingFirst of all, you need to understand that kittens playing aggressively are only acting out on natural instincts.  As hunters, kittens need to develop and hone their skills so that they can feed themselves, or at least this is how cats have evolved.  One of the best ways to prevent this behavior is to direct aggressive play to another target like a toy, or maybe another kitten.  String toys are great for interactive play and they allow kittens to practice pouncing and attacking without damaging your skin.  Also, use a variety of toys to keep your cat stimulated and make sure you can always keep your hands well clear of the toy.

Sometimes during play your kitten, and even cats, may bite you.  While they may not break the skin, they can become overly excited and may even hold on to your hand for an extended period.  Your hand is like their prey and they want to keep control.  Do not try to pull your hand away forcefully as kittens will instinctively try to hold on more tightly.  Instead, relax your hand and attempt to distract your cat with another toy.  Otherwise, you can also try to distract your cat with your free hand by scratching or tapping some furniture.  Your cat should release its grip.

Most importantly, when you’re trying to teach your kitten not to be aggressive, you must be consistent and patient.

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Disclaimer: CritterCures is an educational resource, and all information herein is strictly for educational purposes. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure diseases, nor is it meant to replace the (prescribed) treatment or recommendations of your veterinarian or healthcare provider. Always inform your veterinarian or healthcare provider of any products that your pet are taking, including herbal remedies and supplements.