A playful new kitten becoming part of your family is a heartwarming moment. To ensure that your new kitten gets the best start in life, we have outlined a few suggestions to ensure they remain a healthy and happy part of your family for years to come.
Preparing Your Home
Kittens have a sophisticated sense of smell and they learn a lot about their world through their nose. If it is possible, leave an item of clothing or towel from your home with your kitten for a few days before you collect them. When you do collect them, take this item with you, the familiar scents will help your kitten to settle into their new home quicker.
It is important not to overwhelm your new kitten on arrival. They will need time to adjust, give them somewhere to hide, such as a cardboard box with a soft toy, the ticking of an alarm clock may also help as it mimics the sound of their mother's heart.
It is important that your kitten has a safe quiet place where their water and feeding bowls can be left, and another for their litter tray. Cats can feel vulnerable when they are eating and toileting, performing these activities in a sheltered area will help to prevent problems. If you have more than one cat, they should each have their own bowls, litter trays and toys, at least one for each cat and an extra. Any competition over resources could cause stress and dominance issues between your pets.
First Vet Visit
It is always a good idea to make an appointment with your chosen vet as soon as possible. The vet will give your new kitten a full physical examination, including listening to their heart and lungs and checking their eyes, ears and mouth. They will be looking for signs of parasitic infection, illness and birth defects.
This first visit is a great time to ask specific questions about your kitten's health and well-being, such as which is the best type of food to feed and when should you book in for their vaccinations. Depending on the age and health of your kitten, your vet may recommend a vaccination course is started at this first visit.
It is not compulsory to have your cat or kitten microchipped in the United Kingdom, however it is strongly recommended. Having your cat microchipped means that if they wander off, get stolen or have an accident you have a much greater chance of being reunited. Indoor cats should be microchipped too, as if they were to ever to get out they could quickly find themselves lost. Collars are easy removed or lost, however a microchip is a permanent means of identification.
A small microchip is injected under the skin between your kitten's shoulder blades using a sterile needle. This microchip can be read with a hand-held scanner to give a number, this number is held by a national database alongside the owner's contact details. Veterinary practices, local cat charities and animal welfare organisations will all have hand-held scanners.
It is important to keep your contact details on the microchip database up-to-date. You can have your kitten microchipped by your veterinary surgeon during their first kitten check. Certainly you should have your cat microchipped before they go outside for the first time. If they have already been microchipped by the breeder it is important to register yourself as the new owner.
Take some time to research and consider whether you want to take out insurance for your kitten. Many veterinary practices work with insurance companies to give a few weeks free cover with your kitten check. There are many different types of insurance companies and covers, and costs will vary greatly depending on factors such as the type of policy and breed of cat you have chosen.
If you decide not to buy an insurance policy for your pet, it may still be worthwhile setting some money aside monthly in case of an unexpected vet bill.
Fleas and Worms
Kittens commonly are infected by parasites, and due to their small size and immature immunity these parasites can have a large impact on their health. Your veterinary surgeon will be able to give you advice on products suitable for your kitten's age and weight. Dog flea products should never be used on a cat as some can be extremely toxic to cats.
Once your kitten has reach three months of age, Protect My Pet can help you to ensure they have consistent, convenient, life-long protection from parasites.
The most crucial period of social development for a kitten is between 2 and 8 weeks of age. Ideally during this time, the kitten should still be with their mother, learning from her and having positive interactions with people, dogs and unrelated cats.
Your kitten will likely be 9 weeks or older when you take them home. It is important to continue their socialisation, but in a slow and controlled manner. Allow your kitten to have its own space to retreat to if it is becoming overwhelmed, try to ensure all interactions are positive, this will help shape a confident adult cat who is happy in your home environment.
All of us at Protect My Pet wish you and your new kitten a lifetime of happiness together. We love to get photographs of kittens, so please share your pictures with us!!