Congratulations on your new kitten! Owning a cat can be an extremely rewarding experience, but it is also a large responsibility. We hope this information helps you to make some good decisions regarding your kitten.
A cat is naturally inclined to investigate its new surroundings. It is suggested that the cat’s area of exploration be initially limited so that these natural tendencies do not create an unmanageable task. After confining the cat to one room for the first few days, you should slowly allow access to other areas of the home.
Most kittens receive a hostile reception from other household pets, especially from another cat. The other cat usually does not see the need for a kitten in the household and these feelings are reinforced if it perceives that special favoritism is being shown to the kitten. The existing cat must not feel that it is necessary to compete for food or attention. The new kitten should have its own food and food bowl and it should not be permitted to eat from the other cat’s bowl. Although it is natural to spend time holding and cuddling the kitten, the existing cat will quickly sense that he or she is being neglected. The new kitten needs lots of love and attention, but the existing cat should not be slighted. In fact, the transition will be smoother if the existing cat is given more attention than normal.
The introduction period will usually last one to two weeks and will have one of three possible outcomes.
The existing cat will remain hostile to the kitten. Fighting may occasionally occur, especially if both try to eat out of the same bowl at the same time. This is an unlikely occurrence if competition for food and affection are minimized during the first few weeks.
Bonding will occur between the existing cat and the kitten. They will play together, share a room with each other, and sleep near each other. This is more likely to occur if competition is minimized and if the existing cat has been lonely for companionship.
The existing cat will only tolerate the kitten. Hostility will cease, but the existing cat will act as if the kitten is not present. This is more likely if the existing cat is very independent, has been an only cat for several years, or if marked competition occurred during the first few weeks. This relationship is likely to be permanent.
The socialization period for cats is between 2 and 12 weeks of age. During that time, the kitten is very impressionable to social influences. If the kitten has good experiences with men, women, children, dogs. other cats, etc. it is likely to accept them throughout his or her life. If the experiences are absent or unpleasant, they may become apprehensive or adverse to any of them. Therefore, during the period of socialization. we encourage you to expose your cat to as many types of social events and influences as possible.
Fleas do not stay on your kitten all of the time. They typically jump on, take a blood meal, and return to the environment (cracks in the floorboards, carpet, etc.) where they complete their lifecycle. Therefore, it is important to kill fleas on your new kitten before they can become established in your house. Many of the flea control products that are safe on adult cats and dogs are not safe for kittens less than four months of age. Be sure· that any flea product you use is labeled safe for kittens/cats.
There are products that are given only once per month; both can be used in kittens as young as eight weeks. Revolution is a topical medication that provides heartworm, flea. intestinal parasite and ear mite control. It is very cost-effective. Frontline Plus is another monthly product that kills adult fleas, however, it will not protect against heartworm disease. They are both liquids that you place on the skin on the back of the neck of the cat.
Ear mites are tiny parasites that live in the ear canal of cats. The most common sign of ear mites is excessive scratching of the ears. The inside of the ears may appear dirty with thick, black material that can be dislodged onto the floor when the cat shakes its head. We can find the mites by taking a small amount of the black material from the ear canal and examining it with a microscope. Though ear mites may leave the ear canals for short periods of time, they spend the vast majority of their lives within the protective confines of the ear canal. Transmission generally requires direct ear-to-ear contact. Ear mites are common in litters of kittens if their mother has ear mites. Treatment with topical medication will clear up the infection.
Spaying offers several advantages. The female’s heat periods result in about 2-3 weeks of obnoxious behavior. This can be quite annoying if your cat is kept indoors. Male cats are attracted from blocks away and, in fact, seem to come out of the woodwork. They seem to go over, around, and through many doors. Your cat will have a heal period about every two to three weeks until she is bred.
Spaying is the removal of the uterus and the ovaries. Therefore, heat periods no longer occur. In many cases, despite your best efforts. the female will become pregnant; spaying prevents unplanned litters of kittens.
It has been proven that as the female cat grows older, there is a significant incidence of mammary cancer and uterine infections if she has not been spayed. Spaying before she has any heat cycles will virtually eliminate the chances of developing mammary cancer. lf you do not plan to breed your cat, we strongly recommend that she be spayed before her first heat period. This can be done any time after she is two pounds in weight.
Why should I have my male car neutered?
Neutering offers several advantages. Male cats go through a significant personality change when they mature. They become very possessive of their territory and mark it with their urine to ward off other cats. The tomcat’s urine develops a very strong odor that will be almost impossible to remove from your house. They also try to constantly enlarge their territory, which means one fight after another. Fighting results in severe infections and abscesses and often engenders rage with your neighbors. We strongly urge you to have your cat neutered when he reaches two pounds in weight. If he is allowed to get larger than that size and he begins to spray his urine at any time, he should be neutered immediately. The longer he sprays or fights, the less likely neutering is to stop it.
Do all kittens have worms?
Intestinal parasites are common in kittens. Kittens can become infected with parasites almost as soon as they are born. For example. the most important source of roundworm infection in kittens is the mother’s milk. The microscopic examination of a stool sample will usually help us to determine the presence of intestinal parasites. We recommend this exam for all kittens. Please bring a stool sample at your earliest convenience. If we do not get a stool sample, we recommend the use of a broad-spectrum deworming product that is safe and effective against almost all of the common worms of the cat. Dewormer is given every two weeks for a total of three treatments because the deworming medication only kills the adult worms. Within two to four weeks the larval stages will have become adults and will need to be treated. Cats remain susceptible to reinfection with hookworms and roundworms. Periodic deworming throughout the cat’s life may be recommended for cats that go outdoors.
Tapeworms are another common intestinal parasite of cats. Kittens become infected with them when they swallow fleas; the eggs of the tapeworm live inside the flea. When the cat chews or licks its skin as a flea bite, the flea may be swallowed. The flea is digested within the cat’s intestine; the tapeworm hatches and then anchors· itself to the intestinal lining. Therefore, exposure to fleas may result in a new infection; this can occur in as little as two weeks.
Cats infected with tapeworms will pass small segments of the worms with their stool. The segments are white in color and look like grains of rice. They are about 1/8 inch (3 mm) long and may be seen crawling on the surface of the stool. They may also stick to the hair under the tail. If that occurs, they will dry out, shrink to about half their size, and become golden in color.
Tapeworm segments do not pass every day or in every stool sample; therefore, an inspection of several consecutive bowel movements may be needed to find them. We may examine a stool sample in our office and not find them, and then you may find them the next day. If you find them at any time, please notify us so we may provide the appropriate drug for treatment.
There are lots of choices of cat foods. What should I feed my kitten?
Diet is extremely important in the growing months of a cat’s life, and there are two important criteria that should be met when selecting food for your kitten. We recommend and sell Eukanuba for kittens here at the clinic. Other fine choices would be any high-quality food sold through a veterinarian or pet store. This should be fed until your kitten is about 9-12 months of age.
Feeding a dry, canned, or semi-moist form of cat food is acceptable. Each has advantages and disadvantages. Dry food is definitely the most inexpensive. It has the added benefit of scraping tartar off of teeth. As a rule, most veterinarians will recommend dry food for your kitten.
Semi-moist and canned foods are also acceptable. However, both are considerably more expensive than dry food. They often are more appealing to the cat’s taste; however, they are not more nutritious. If you feed a very tasty food, you are running the risk of creating a cat with a finicky appetite. In addition, semi-moist foods are high in sugar and do not scrape tartar off of teeth as dry foods do.
Table foods are not recommended. Because they are generally very tasty, cats will often begin to hold out for these and not eat their well-balanced cat food. We enjoy a variety of things to eat in our diet. However, most cats actually prefer not to change from one food to another unless they are trained to do so by the way you feed them. Do not feel guilty if your cat is happy to eat just one food day after day, week after week.
Commercials for cat food can be very misleading. If you watch carefully you will notice that commercials promote cat food on one basis: TASTE. Nutrition is rarely mentioned. Most of the “gourmet” foods are marketed to appeal to owners who want the best for their cats; however, they do not offer the cat any nutritional advantage over good quality dry food, and they are far more expensive. If your cat eats gourmet food very long, It will probably not be happy with other foods If it needs a special diet due to a health problem later in life, it is very unlikely to accept it. Therefore, we do not encourage feeding gourmet cat foods.