Welcoming a New Kitten


Bundles of furry energy, kittens are hard to resist, particularly for children.

By FamilyTime

 

If you have decided the time is right to welcome a cat into your family, springtime is the ideal season to find a kitten.

Where to Find a Kitten
Start by asking your veterinarian about litters. Put the word out among friends, check the newspapers and shelters.

It's important to find a healthy kitten. One of the best ways to insure this is to know something about the mother cat and where the kitten lived during infancy. Responsible shelters and fellow pet owners are often the best bet. Pet stores may not know much about a kitten's background.

Choose the Right One
Look for a lively, healthy looking kitten. Avoid those that are overly shy or skittish - particularly if you have children. Gender makes little difference, especially if you neuter the cat, which is highly recommended unless you are a breeder.

Make sure the kitten pounces at moving objects and reacts when you clap your hands. He should jump with ease and grace.

Healthy kittens have fluffy, full coats; alert, bright eyes with no discharge; clean ears; and cool, damp noses. Their tummies should not bulge, and their legs should be straight. An eight- to 12-week-old kitten should weigh two to three pounds. Avoid overweight kittens.

Make sure the kitten is at least eight weeks old. Twelve weeks is the best age for a kitten to leave his mother and adjust to a new home.

Plan to take your new kitten to the veterinarian as soon as you can.

Prepare Your Home
Before you bring the little guy home, buy the necessary equipment. Cats need a litter box, food and water bowls, and a several toys.

Cardboard carriers are adequate for carrying your kitten home, but you will want to buy a sturdy plastic carrier for the upcoming years of trips to the vet.

Prepare a small area for the kitten's first days in her new home. This could be a spare room, laundry room, or bathroom. Put the litter box on one side of the room and the food and water on the other. Be sure to include a lined cardboard box or soft rug for sleeping.

Acclimate the Youngster
Even if you have no other pets in the house, leave the kitten in her little room for a few hours once you get her home. This will give her time to settle down, explore her new surroundings, and get used to unfamiliar odors.

Let the kitten explore the rest of the house, making sure to leave the door to her room ajar. If you have other pets, it may take a few days for them to accept the new addition, but they will soon learn to co-exist.

Set the Schedule
Cats are creatures of habit and so from day one, feed your kitty at the same time and in the same place each day.

Play with him at regular intervals. Play gently, and only let him pounce on toys - not on your or a child's hand. Encourage active play; discourage aggressive play.

Your kitten will be active, mischievous, and curious. Enjoy these adorable months of kittenhood. Soon your little bundle of fur will be a mature cat who is very much part of the family.