Welcoming a kitten into your life is a grand occasion that sets a breaking point that divides your life on “before” and “after.” Curious meowing, funny noises, and a little ball of fur napping at your lap may be easy to imagine, but choosing a particular kitten and deciding to bring him home, in reality, is very tough. There are many variables in this undertaking – beginning with your lifestyle and ending with a pure economic background, like the sufficiency of funds for keeping the kitten. You might be tempted to get a kitten after a brisk examination of kitty pictures on the Internet, but we recommend that you don’t push the pace and pick up a kitten until after a thorough examination of all possible opportunities, and closely look at breeds, temper, personality, habits, and care tips. Doing research is a realistic measure destined at picking the one and only kitten that will brighten up your day and will ultimately fit into your lifestyle. Don’t forget the fact that you are about to welcome into your life another living being with its own habits, desires, and necessities. Be responsible, be caring and give your best to help this little creature feel completely secure and unharmed at all times.
Choosing the Right Kitten for Your Lifestyle
Lifestyle has a great impact on your life and the life of anyone living beside you and depending on you. When selecting the right kitten breed, look at the cats in general – what kind of animals they are, what traits they have in common, and how they react to different situations. You will come to find that a cat is not just some gadget that only needs food. They are complex creatures with their own particularities and traits that make every cat living with its human owner a unique soul. Despite the fact that all cats within the same breed are virtually equal in their appearance and personality, it is always the owner that influences the cat’s mood and personality more than anyone else. It is very important to find out whether the breed that you like is energetic, laid back, or combines both traits. If you are the kind of owner who is busy at work from morning until evening, you won’t want to get a breed that is excessively energetic. There are many breeds that show moderate temper and who don’t need particular care. The best way to find out about any particular breed is to surf through cat fanciers’ forums and visit local catteries to learn more about a certain breed when your preference is set.
Keeping a kitten may be a challenging matter if you pick an exquisite breed like the Bengal, for instance. You should be realistic when thinking about possible expenditures, as the purchase of a kitten is only a starter. Frequent visits to the veterinarian, grooming and trimming sessions, apparel, vaccination, and feeding may require more than you have expected it to be. And don’t forget about time spent playing, socializing, feeding, and sticking to a regiment of your own and that of your cat’s – it’s a big responsibility. Don’t forget that a cat is a living being that has emotions, can feel gloomy and deserted, or be overwhelmed with joy, so you should evaluate the pros and cons and make a certain decision that you will be caring after your kitten properly. Otherwise, there is a possibility that your kitten will grow into a reckless wrecking machine that is almost impossible to sit by without getting a scratch.
With the abundance of modern-day possibilities to travel, work, earn a lot of money, and get involved in an array of activities, your lifestyle may have such a big impact on your daily schedule that you may want to reconsider getting a cat. If you are constantly away working and come home just to sleep, maybe keeping a kitten is not an option at all. Some breeds are more sensitive while others can be on their own for long time. A feeding regiment is the rock on which you and your kitten split – you cannot simply leave enough food for a kitten and be absent the whole day. The food eventually spoils or your kitten gets serious indigestion and becomes ill, and you spend more money in order to heal it. Won’t you feel pity for this tiny creature that depends solely on you? If your lifestyle is very active and comprises of so many activities that you have to find time for your kitten, you’d better give him to someone who will spend enough time to make the kitten happy.
Where to Get a Kitten
Finding and picking a kitten is an exciting adventure that has many pitfalls that you may pass by accidentally, causing you to not be satisfied with your choice as a result. Let’s go through four typical options:
it means that they really care about the kitten`s future and want to ensure its security and proper care
What’s in the sky, guys?
Many adult cat owners publish ads in order to sell a newborn kitten. Such owners sell the whole litter, as they already have adult cats and keeping another cat is pointless or even costly. This option can better be described as a “double-edged sword.” From one point of view, you don’t know whether the kitten is healthy and its parents are kept in decent conditions, and from another point of view, seeing a kitten being sold by simple folks who want their offspring just to be found by a new family may be tempting. You are likely to come across people selling a kitten for some token payment and not for lucrative reasons. Whatever point of view you may be sticking with, asking people and visiting their homes in order to look at the kitten and to find out more about him is a good way of getting a healthy and loving pet. If people selling you the kitten (even for a token payment!) ask you about your home, your habits, environment inside, whether you have small children and other pets or not, it is a good sign. It means that they really care about the kitten’s future and want to ensure its security and proper care.
Look at him, Paul.
Getting a kitten in a pet shop is not the best option. It’s the last place on Earth you’d want to get a pet from, actually. Let’s not beat about the bush and speak frankly.
- Pet shops do business mainly and are not as interested in keeping healthy and happy pets for sale as they are in making a profit.
- No one guarantees you the quality of the animal. The kitten you are about to pick may look lively and healthy, but should some time go by after the purchase, you may find the problems will start to show in abundance. Getting a health certificate stating that the kitten was properly examined, vaccinated, and is completely healthy may be impossible, or the certificate won’t be worth the paper that it was printed on. Disinformation or simple fraud are also likely to happen. Unless a dully-accredited veterinarian proves it, your kitten may be ill or completely healthy and you won’t know for sure.
- The pet shop may be dealing with a cat broker or directly with a cattery having a bad reputation. This dirty business is based on making profit only and both parties don’t bother ensuring the health of the kittens they sell. However, you may come across a decent shop that can provide you with any documentation concerning a particular kitten. Nevertheless, this is the same as winning a lottery.
Let’s grow up together!
Why not? There may be hundreds of poor cats in your area or city waiting to be adopted by loving and caring owners who will never leave them alone again. You should consider getting a kitten from a local shelter, as they are more trustworthy than pet shops. Shelters are non-profitable organizations that exist to prevent the cruelty against animals and help them find new families. Read below to find out why adoption is a worthy option to consider.
the more often you visit a shelter, the better you understand the particular kitten
- Shelters are run by people who love animals, so that they decided to devote much time to the affair that doesn’t promise a dime in return. They do it only because they still believe that we as humans can change for the better and for animals’ sake. This is why these people try to create the ultimate environment and conditions for the animals that they are capable of.
- Shelters provide far better conditions than the poor kittens and cats had before. Visit any local shelter and you will find dozens of fed animals kept in warmth and surrounded with constant care. They are fed on time, have plenty of water available, their cages are cleaned, their coats are groomed and trimmed, their illnesses are cured and what is more, these animals are presented with more space than before. Sometimes it takes only a single visit to the local shelter to find out that cats and kittens are kept in such great conditions, that you ask yourself, “What can I provide a kitten with to overpower all this magnificence?” The answer is simple – adopt a kitten and become an exemplary owner. The shelters are destined for this ultimate goal. However, before it happens, you may undergo a thorough examination about your lifestyle, habits, daily schedule, and solvency in order to make sure you are the perfect candidate for adopting a kitten.
- You may come whenever you want and get acquainted with any kitten, puppy, birdie – whoever is kept at the shelter. The more often you visit the shelter, the better you understand a particular kitten, begin bonding with him, and the more you value the selfless work that people do. Shelters favor people visiting for the purpose of education and adoption. Feel free to come whenever you want to help people with animals and you will undoubtedly find the one and only kitten you are dreaming about.
People think that catteries are the same as so-called “puppy mills” that are notorious for their awful conditions. For sure, you may have come across a feline fear factory where poor cats and kittens are kept with total neglect of care and conditions, but in general, catteries are not as widespread as puppy-mills are and thus, you have more chances of coming across a decent breeder. Breeders at reputable catteries run a very responsible business that is systematically checked by the authorities and also requires a license for operation. Breeders with positive feedback need no advertising – their names speak for themselves. They have big facilities with enough space for every kitten born and raised, they stick to a feeding regiment, and let the cats walk in closed premises that have nothing in common compared to the dog cages piled one atop the other as in puppy-mills.
When you visit a reputable cattery for the first time, you will be lightning-struck seeing a feline five-star resort. Catteries are not just factories producing kittens in abundance for sale only. They also aim at preserving the genotype of the particular breed, ensuring the health and genetic conformity of every kitten born to the standards set by The International Cat Association. What does it mean in reality? It means that if you are looking for a Bengal, a Russian Blue, or a Scottish Fold kitten, you may get an exemplary kitten with great pedigree, proof of health conditions, a veterinary certificate, and no genetic deviations. You may visit a cattery as often as you want in order to pick up a particular kitten that will go back home with you.
Here’s the list of websites you should consider when searching for a cattery:
- TICA.org/find-a-breeder – The International Cat Association with a huge list of breeders specializing in certain cats only
- TopCatBreeders.com – best cat breeders are found here
- BreedList.com/seekers.html – another helpful link that will show catteries according to your state and breed preferred
- CatChannel.com/classifieds/cat-breeder-directory.aspx – catteries are listed according to cat breeds
Before visiting a cattery, try to find out as much as possible about it on a cat fanciers’ forum. Read their suggestions and begin the search with catteries first.
Picking a Kitten
Picking a kitten, choosing the one that will spend many years with you side-by-side, is challenging. We have already spoken of such aspect as your determination to bring a kitten home and now we will go through a thorough process of picking a kitten, beginning with the search of the cattery and ending with the ride home.
- When searching for a kitten, ask yourself what breed you would like to have. Breeds differ in their appearance, behavior, traits, and predisposition to certain diseases. Hence, you should begin the search by surfing the cat fanciers’ forums.
- When you have made a decision, look through the lists of reputable catteries that you may find via the links we presented above.
- Visit the cattery that specializes in the breed you would like to have. Take a look around. The environment, conditions, aviaries, feeding regiment, and the size of the open space where the cats can meet each other and play can tell a lot.
- Talk to the breeder and ask him/her to show you the facility and ask questions about the breed, its habits, food that such cats like, what traits they show, how to care after them, and ask about the documentation that all responsible breeders should have in availability.
- When visiting the cattery, take a look at the kittens and choose the one that you like the most. Watch him for some time, observing the way he behaves and the sounds he pronounces. This can tell much about his character. Ask the breeder for permission to take the kitten and stay with him for some time.
- Visit the cattery 1-2 times a week to meet the kitten so that he gets used to your smell. If the kitten is still afraid of you and stays in his corner while others wander and play around you, it may tell you about his fear of a stranger and it will take just more time for you both to gain trust. Don’t think about this particular kitten as some defect. He is normal. He’s just a child who is still afraid of everything and everyone bigger than him.
- If you have made your decision to take the kitten, ask the breeder about the vaccination and health certificate from an accredited veterinarian. The certificate serves as a “warranty” that this kitten is not ill and has undergone all necessary vaccinations.
- Before the last visit to the cattery and the eventual happy ride home, get a cat carrier, put a dry towel inside, and when driving back home make sure you have installed the carrier securely. You wouldn’t want the carrier to flip over at a hairpin bend, would you? Put the carrier at the back seat and fasten it with a seat belt.
Also there is chance to get a free kitten.
Before Bringing a Kitten Home
Living on your own, not depending on your parents, and being the master of your own destiny means you can get a kitten whenever you want. Are you really so all-powerful? You should speak about having a pet with your proprietor, as you may be strictly forbidden to bring any. So before bringing a kitten home, ask your property owner whether he allows you to keep a pet. Beside the common permit from your landlord there may be other factors that are general for anyone – whether it be an owner of a house or the one who is still renting his/her accommodation.
if you are living in a family with children you are alwayc can let them take care after the kitten
- Living Space: Don’t sneak a kitten inside, hoping that your property owner won’t notice. If keeping a kitten in your home is forbidden by the agreement, consider searching for another lodging.
- Cost: The cost of a kitten comprises not only buying him but also keeping him for years to come. It means that your monthly budget is likely to have the following deductions: food, some apparel, vaccination, veterinary check-ups, and some budget in case of an emergency. This whole equation may sound way too beyond your strength, but actually spending another hundred dollars on average per month isn’t that bad. However, before bringing a kitten home it is always good to collect some money beforehand for whatever emergencies may happen.
- Time: Do you have enough time to devote to your kitten? What are you going to do if you will be absent for hours daily? A kitten is a timid creature afraid of any rustle and leaving him constantly alone will result in a disturbed psyche and almost total mistrust towards even you. If you are living in a family with children, you may always let them take care after the kitten and feel firm ground beneath knowing that the kitten is taken care of. Should we remind you that a kitten is the same as a very susceptible toddler that needs constant care and supervision?
- Allergies: Allergy can become the biggest problem of them all. Factor it in before even thinking about getting a kitten. You may have heard about “hypoallergenic” breeds, but there is no such thing. There are only breeds that don’t cause as many allergy problems. Balinese, Russian Blue, Bengals, Devon Rex, Oriental Shorthair, Cornish Rex, Siberian, LaPerm, Sphynx, and Javanese are the ten most non-allergenic cat breeds. To know more about the cat allergy and your predisposition to it, look through cat fanciers’ forums and perform the following experiment: visit your local cattery or shelter several times and trace your reaction to cats. The cat allergy is not as spread as you may think it is.
- Housetraining: Housetraining can better be described as creating a habit of living indoors. Kittens are curious and after arrival, they explore the space around them. They may get outdoors by accident, which is not safe at all. This is why you should limit your kitten’s movement and open more space gradually. For example, you may keep him in the kitchen the first day and the next day you let him in your bedroom (if it is adjacent) or in the dining room. However, opening the entire house for such a tiny explorer may result in accidents and you may simply lose him. Limit his whereabouts to a visible area within two rooms only and when your kitten grows bigger, you may reveal other rooms for him.
- Vaccinating: Vaccinating is the best countermeasure that you may endow your kitten with. The American Association of Feline Practitioners divides all vaccines into two categories – core and non-core. Core vaccines are necessary for all cats as they protect against the feline panleukopenia (feline distemper), calicivirus, feline herpes, and rabies. Non-core vaccines are optional and depend on the lifestyle of your cat. Such vaccines are effective against Bordetella, feline leukemia virus, Chylamydophila felis, and feline immunodeficiency virus. Only the veterinarian can determine the necessity of non-core vaccines, whereas core ones can increase dramatically the quality of life and the life expectancy of your kitten. Each state has its own laws regarding the vaccination against rabies. Your state may require the vaccination once per year or per three years.
Preparing for Getting a Kitten
Households all over the nation have a habit of preparing to welcome a baby into this world literally months before his/her birth. The same happens when someone is about to bring a kitten home. Getting prepared ahead is a good habit that prevents accidents and surprises from happening. Following this idea, we prepared a to-do list for you that includes the following:
- Small bowl for food and water. You may substitute a bowl with a saucer but make sure your kitten won’t flip it over easily.
- A sleeping bed or simply a crate. Such a crate can be placed somewhere in the kitchen and be surrounded by a kitten pen, thus you will create a safe zone for the kitten.
- A kitten pen is a helpful device that helps to create personal space for your kitten. Put a crate, pee pads, or a litter box one meter away, put a bowl with water and food near the sleeping crate, and surround the territory and you will get a safe area. Before leaving for a couple of hours, you may leave your kitten in such an area and he will be completely secure there.
- Toys for a kitten. Toys are a serious tool that helps to develop a kitten’s agility and reflexes. Make sure that the toy cannot be easily broken and that none of its part can be chewed off or swallowed. In addition, you should know that toys containing ribbons or strings are also strictly prohibited.
- Kitten-proofing your house. Kittens are too curious and like examining cords, dark spots, and holes. Shut all the crevices you may come across, such as the ventilation shaft, the dog/cat door, and seal all clearances between the furniture and the wall. As for cords, you may find your kitten chewing on them. In order to prevent an accident (also lethal), you should isolate all cords by attaching them directly to the wall or plinth with the help of duct tape or by raising them higher to a point where he won’t be able to reach it. Do not spray anything bitter on the cords! Just keep them out of the reach of kitten.
Newborn kittens are almost never sold to potential owners, as there is a rule of raising a newborn kitten until the age of 4-6 weeks before eventually handling him to the new owner. However, you may come across a situation when you have to take care of a newborn kitten with no mother cat near. Should you get into such situation, we recommend going through the following list:
- If you come across a litter of kittens left alone, wait from a distance for some time to see if the mother cat eventually returns.
- If kittens are in immediate danger of freezing or being harmed by dogs around, you must absolutely take the kitten without waiting for the mother to return.
- You may not have everything to ensure kittens’ survival. This is why there is nothing to be ashamed of when handing kittens to the local shelter.
- If the mother cat is still around, you can help her establish a bit more decent conditions, like bringing an old fruit crate, upholstering it with old cloth, adding some dry hay or an old blanket as cover, and putting it in a dry spot with cover above. The mother cat will bring her kittens there eventually. You may come and leave food to the mother cat, such as cat’s dry food or boiled chicken liver.
- If you shelter a newborn kitten at your home, you should bottle-feed him every 2 hours with a milk replacer formula but not with cow’s milk, which is very hard to digest. When kittens reach the age of 3-4 weeks, feed them with the same formula given in a dish, as well as some kitten food softened with water. Feed the kitten(s) 4 times a day. When the kittens reach 6-12 weeks of age, gradually decrease the volume of the milk formula and replace it with dry kitten food, offering 4 meals per day.
- Handle kittens extremely gently – they are too fragile and even a small child may easily hard them. When sitting and feeding the kitten, put some soft cloth on the lap and set the kitten down gently so that it remains stable on a relatively smooth surface.
- Toilet hygiene is usually up to the mother, but if she is not around you can take a damp cloth and clean the rear of each kitten with it. At the age of 4 weeks, you may begin encouraging litter box usage. When the kitten is done eating, put him in the litter box and see what he does. If he smells it and tries digging, it’s a good sign.
- If you have taken the kitten(s) home, you may feed them, warm them up, and after couple of hours return them to their mother if she shows up. Otherwise, you will have to keep them or hand them over to the shelter.
- Taking care of a newborn kitten is based on systematic feeding, cleaning, and keeping them in a warm place. Everything else is secondary.
- When kittens reach the age of 1 week, it is pointless trying to return them to the mother as she may reject them or you won’t find her at all.
First Night with the Kitten
Getting through the first night with a kitten near may be the biggest challenge, but practice shows the opposite. Before reaching three months of age, kittens can sleep more than half of the 24 hours consecutively, and despite being creatures of the night, can spend the whole night sleeping. Instead of keeping your kitten somewhere isolated, you should bring his crate and pen to your bedroom and let him spend the night close to you. However, it is not recommended letting the kitten sleep with you in the same bed! You may unintentionally harm him or he will suffocate under the blanket. Put the kitten’s crate on the floor and surround it with a pen. Before turning in, you can take your kitten on the lap, cuddle with him, and caress him, and when he falls asleep, put him in his crate.
Sleeping with your kitten near helps establish an invisible bond based on similar and repetitive smells. He smells you and learns that you are around, and thus you establish a mutual bond. When getting up the next morning, the first thing you should do is to take your kitten on the lap, caress him, scratch his coat, and proceed to feeding. Pay attention that in the morning you are likely to spend some time in the kitchen area, so you should take your kitten downstairs with his crate and pen and let him be around you while you are having your breakfast and getting ready for the day.
How Kittens Grow into Adult Cats
Your kitten’s development depends on the environment and experiences that the kitten lives through. A kitten raised in calm ambiance and with enough socialization will behave better than any kitten that grew on his own. We as owners determine what our pets will become, and if the owner whom the kitten sees as the boss acts recklessly, then the adult cat will understand that the boss is no longer such. Torn furniture, scratches, hissing, and putting on airs will become a norm. In order to prevent bad behavior, you should, first of all, replace the kitten’s parents from the early days and show who the boss here is. It doesn’t mean that you should be bossing him around in a bad sense of the word, but rather just limit unwanted behavior. You should begin gradually – showing the litter box, limiting the movements, feeding the kitten, and staying by him while he’s eating. The kitten will understand that you are not just some bipedal oppressor who constantly interferes with his space, but a breadwinner that the kitten depends on.
at the age of 3 months, the kitten used to the hierarchy dominant in your house
Petting, playing, and even talking with your kitten will show him that you are all good people who know how to take care of cats. Moreover, in order to correspond to your manners, your kitten will acquire habits that will distantly (or not) match yours and will elaborate specific sounds to notify you of his presence. You should know that cats don’t talk to each other the way they talk to us. All this meowing and purring are the sounds that reflect a cats attitude towards the owner. If you are persistent, talk to your kitten in the same calm manner and pronounce the same sounds, your kitten will learn to distinguish one sound from the other and his reaction to his own name said aloud will be precise and deliberate.
At the age of 3 months, the kitten is getting used to the hierarchy dominant in your house. This ranking period can be best described as a school in which the student is influenced not just by the classmates but the teachers as well. Practically, it means that your kitten looks at you and compares you with other humans in the house. Inside the kitten’s mind happens a whirlwind of thoughts such as, “Is my owner that good?” and “Can other humans help me more than him/her?”. If you have a big family but it was namely you who brought the kitten home, you should devote more time to the kitten so that you stay the one and only for him at all times. Of course, you may be absent the whole day, but when coming home you should feed the kitten, play with him, and spend some time together. The kitten’s daily schedule favors this bonding, as cats spend the majority of the day sleeping.
Some owners say that having a kitten and raising it into an adult cat is the almost the same as upbringing a human child, with the only difference being that kittens are less demanding.
Taking Care of Your Kitten
Taking care of your kitten is not as challenging as you may be imagining it. Care tips comprise several aspects like feeding, playing, housetraining, veterinary assistance (if needed), and socializing. Let’s go through each aspect and outline necessary tips.
Feeding a pet is the best and easiest way to ensure his good health and great well-being. If you follow the eating regiment, have developed your own eating habits, and you know how to feed the kitten properly, you are likely to evade the majority of problems connected with feeding, such as being overweight, having indigestion, and a lack of appetite. Speaking of the eating regiment, you should know the following scheme concerning the age of your kitten:
- At the age of 6-12 weeks, your kitten may eat up to 4 meals a day
- At the age of 3-6 months, offer him 3 meals a day
- For the age above 6 months, stick to 2 meals a day
What can we conclude from the scheme stated above? Young kittens have a tremendously fast metabolism and can eat relatively more calories (compared to their body weight) than their elder mates; they should eat often.
all you need is to be responsible and don`t forget that it is the kittens thet depends on you
Keep a bowl of fresh water available at all times. Change the water once to twice a day and clean the bowl once a week. Stainless steel bowls are the best.
- Kitten’s whereabouts.
Pose of tired tiger.
Follow your kitten’s movements closely. Don’t let him go out of the room unseen. He is still too tiny and can get stuck in any crack or gap and it will be hard to get him out. Set up a pen, put the kitten’s crate in this secured area alongside with food and water bowls and the litter box, but in the distant part of the enclosed area. When the kitten gets 1 month old, you may open the entire room for him (read more about healthy kitten food)
The easiest aspect of them all. You play with your kitten, caress him, and let him fall asleep on your lap – done! However, if you have other pets at home, you should, first of all, introduce your kitten to them. Your adult cat may react aggressively, which is normal, and you’ll have to separate both the cat and the kitten and limit their movements so that they never meet each other until the kitten becomes several months old.
As the conclusion, we would like to say that getting a kitten and caring after him is not as challenging as you may be portraying to yourself. All you need to do is tonbe responsible and don’t forget that it is the kitten that depends on you. You are the master of his destiny and well-being.