Kitten Care

Introduction 

The addition of a young kitten into your life is a time of great happiness and excitement for the whole family. With this comes a large responsibility to provide the best care for your new kitten, a responsibility which may last 15-20 years! Cats and kittens make excellent pets. They are generally very affectionate and easy to care for and provide hours of entertainment as they play around the house. The simplest of items such as an empty box or screwed up piece of paper can provide them with hours of enjoyment!

New pet owners are often overloaded with advice from many different sources, much of which is often conflicting and confusing. To help you and your new kitten to get off on the right foot, we have discussed the main areas of healthcare for your kitten in the following pages.

Grooming and Bathing

Toilet Training

Children and Kittens

Kitten Safety

 

Printable documents: 

Urine Marking in Cats

Checklist for a Cat Friendly Home

 

Grooming and Bathing 

In general, kittens and cats are good at looking after themselves, regularly grooming their own coats. Long haired cats require regular grooming to prevent knots and matts developing. They are also prone to developing hair balls from ingested hair. It is a good idea to get them used to grooming when they are kittens. Give them rewards and attention to make the grooming a positive experience. Be careful to buy a brush that is gentle on your cat’s skin.

 


Toilet Training 

Fortunately cats are very clean animals. In most cases, all you have to do is provide them with a litter tray and most kittens will naturally use it. Make sure the litter tray is cleaned at least once daily as cats may refuse to use it if it is soiled. In some cases, it may be a good idea to actually have two litter trays. Keep the tray in a private area so that your kitten is not distracted while using it. Most cats are happy to use the litter that is made out of recycled paper but there are several types available.


Children and Kittens 

Having a cat within the family has been shown to generally have a positive effect on children, improving their self-esteem and sense of responsibility whilst giving them both a playmate and a confidante. It is important however, that all children are taught to treat a new kitten with kindness and respect. A kitten is not a toy and children should never be allowed to treat them as such.

Children need to learn how to handle kittens properly.

  • Teach them how to stroke the kitten gently. Toddlers generally 'pat', which can hurt the kitten
  • Teach them to stroke the top of the head and along the back.
  • Although tummies are irresistible when a kitten is rolling and playing, most are quite sensitive about this area and may strike out or bite.
  • Don’t let children play in the litter tray… this can have serious consequences for your child’s health
  • Your kitten should always be left alone when sleeping, using the litter tray and eating
  • Never allow your child to pull a kittens tail
  • Hands should be washed after handling the kitten and the litter tray.
  • Consider trimming the kitten’s nails to help avoid potential scratches and eye injuries from overzealous kittens

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Kitten Safety 

It is important to be aware that many common products and objects found in and around your home may be harmless to humans but can cause serious problems for your new kitten.

Listed below are some of the obvious and not so obvious items to take care with. 

 

Poisons 

Some common poisons are listed below:

  • Battery Acids and Polishing Agents.
  • Alcoholic Drinks
  • Drugs and Medications -including over the counter preparations.
  • Pesticides and insecticides- if these toxins get on your kitten or cats coat and they clean themselves they will ingest the toxin.
  • Rat, Mouse and Snail poisons – It is important to note that PET SAFE poisons are deceptive. The safety is related to the product being less attractive to pets. These products, however, are still toxic if they are ingested.

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Toxic Plants 

Some toxic plants are listed below:

  • Lilies
  • Mistletoe
  • Azalea
  • Wisteria
  • Impatiens
  • Hyacinth

 

Keep out of reach of kittens

  • Polystyrene trays, balls
  • Rubber objects (for example balls, plugs and rubber bands)
  • Socks and stockings
  • Electrical Cords (the use of a bitter spray eg.woundgard can be helpful to discourage a persistent kitten)
  • Wool
  • Jewellery
  • Marbles / Lego (Any children’s toys that are small or have small components need to be put well out of reach.)

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Pet Safe Toys

It is good to play with your kitten; this allows them to bond with you and keep them out of trouble when you’re not home.

Some of the toys that we do recommend you allow your kitten to play with are set out below. These can be purchased from the clinic or ordered in at your request.

  • The ‘Kong’ range of cat toys
  • Cat dangling toys
  • Puzzle feeders
  • Jingle balls
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