Bringing a new kitten home is one of the most exciting experiences imaginable to a cat lover, but it is a daunting experience for a first time cat owner. Below are our guidelines to help your new kitten become a happy, healthy member of your family.
Choosing your kitten
You will need to decide whether you would like a pedigree or non-pedigree kitten. If you just want a family pet then choose a non-pedigree. They are often hardier than pedigrees and make just as good companions.
Your next decision is where to get your kitten from. Many animal welfare societies are a good source of unwanted kittens and older cats. The RSPCA, Cats Protection, Bury’s Stray Cat Fund and Feline Care are all local examples and we can give you their telephone numbers if you require. Wherever you get your kitten from, it is important to ensure that it is free from obvious medical problems and appears in good general health. It should be free from fleas and have been regularly wormed.
Preparing your Home for a Kitten
It is important to find a place that your kitten can make his or her own. This will be a safe, secure area where it can sleep and escape the world. A bed in a quiet corner of a room, away from noise of everyday family life is ideal.
Your kitten may be anxious upon entering your home and leaving its mother and siblings. You can make the transition easier by using Feliway spray or diffuser. Feliway reproduces the calming properties of feline facial pheromones and will help to make your kitten feel more secure. You can get Feliway from any of our surgeries.
Your Kitten comes Home
Although it is tempting to spend all of your time with your new kitten, this is not always the best thing for him/her. It is important to make sure your kitten feels secure, but it is equally important to help them on the road to independence. Leaving their mum is a big step and it is crucial that you help them. If your kitten is worried about being away from mum then giving them a hot water bottle or cuddly toy to sleep with may help (especially if it smells of mum).
Place the litter tray in a quiet corner. When the kitten looks as if it is ready to use it (it will crouch with its tail raised) place it in the litter tray. A natural instinct will tell the kitten to cover up its faeces with the litter. Never scold any ‘accidents’ indoors.
We recommend that your kitten has a full check-up within a week of you bringing it home. This is so that we can ensure that he/she is healthy and give you any necessary advice. First vaccinations(link to page) can be given from nine weeks of age. We recommend microchipping(link to page) as a permanent form of identification.
Responsible breeders will have wormed (link to page)your kitten early in life, but it is important to ensure that your kitten continues to be regularly wormed and has a flea control programme(link to page). Neutering will normally occur about six months of age.
Healthy Pet Club
We have set up the Healthy Pet Club(link to page) to enable people to provide the best preventative healthcare for their kittens. The scheme includes vaccinations, worming and flea treatments and gives discounts on many other services such as consultations and neutering.
We would always advise taking out insurance(link to page) on your pet. Accidents and illnesses can occur at any stage of life but kittens do tend to be quite accident-prone!