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By selecting a kitten as your pet, you have chosen an extremely clean pet with legendary skills for hunting and one that usually needs little housetraining because its mother usually has already taught it to use the litter box. All these advantages come in one furry package that requires little care but provides excellent companionship. Cats, however, demand that their love and loyalty be earned.
Cats must have regular meals, clean litter, grooming, and attention in the form of play. A cat will be quite content to live its entire life indoors provided that its owner offers companionship.
Male or female, kittens and cats are affectionate, intelligent, and playful. However, unless you plan to breed your cat, neutering is recommended to keep males from spraying, and females from producing unwanted litters. Neutering and spaying should be performed at 3-4 months of age.
Needed supplies for a new kitten include a proper health record with dates of vaccinations and dewormings, high quality food, bowls for water and food, a litter pan with litter and scoop, kitten shampoo, grooming tools, a pet carrier, and of course, TOYS! J
Prepare your home for the new kitten before letting it loose. Be sure all doors and windows are closed to prevent escape. Place the kitten's bed (crate) in a secluded area and the litter box in another secluded area. Take the kitten out and let it explore endlessly until it feels totally comfortable in the surroundings.
When the kitten becomes comfortable, its tail will go straight up. Once it feels comfortable, it will start to groom itself.
Show the kitten the litter box, and place the kitten in it several times. It's rare for a kitten to reject the box. If this does happen, the litter box should be moved to another more secluded area. If the problem continues, it may be necessary to place several boxes around the home. The kitten will find one that suits its need for privacy within 24 hours. Remember, cats are extremely clean pets.
It is surprisingly easy for kittens and even dogs to adapt to each other - if they are gradual and gentle.
Unlike most pets, cats remain true to their "meat-eater" heritage, and have special food requirements. Cats cannot process vitamins directly from vegetables, so a cat must eat the meat of animals that can convert vegetable vitamins directly to a digestible form. That's why, in the wild, a cat must eat its prey's entire carcass to derive essential proteins, minerals, and vitamins. Taurine, for example, is an amino acid that is vital to eyesight. Non-meat eaters can make Taurine in their body, but cats cannot. Therefore, they must eat foods that contain taurine.
Diets for cats must be balanced and nutritional, specialized, and concentrated in small portions. Therefore feline foods are slightly more expensive than dog foods. Wet or dry food for a cat should contain 30%-40% protein.
We highly recommend high quality kitten food for all kittens. It can be fed free-choice. Only put out what the kitten will probably eat in the one day period. We prefer to put fresh food out every day. Some canned food should be fed for the first couple of weeks if the kitten is small or does not eat well.
Water is extremely important to the cat. Insufficient fluid intake can cause the urine to become too concentrated leading to urinary stone problems. It is interesting to note that cats do NOT have a "thirst" reflex. This makes it easy for the cat not to drink sufficient water each day, because they do not sense the need to drink since they are not thirsty. Grown cats should drink a cup of water daily.
If the kitten does not eat well within the first 36 hours in the new home, it may be that it misses familiar surroundings. It may be necessary to force the kitten to stimulate appetite. We also recommend feeding some strong smelling canned foods during the early growing months.
The major appetite stimulate for the cat is SMELL!! Since dry foods do not have as strong of a smell as canned foods, some cats are more reluctant to eat dry food.
Make diet changes slowly. Any abrupt change can cause digestive upsets resulting in vomiting and/or diarrhea.
Milk is NOT necessary in the diet. Never feed milk without first diluting it at least half with water.
Allow the kitten plenty of RESTING TIME. Cats sleep about 13-16 hours each day. Adequate rest is necessary for optimum growth and development. Shaking when sleeping is "mother nature's way" of exercising the muscles.
Guard against the kitten swallowing foreign objects. Quite often, we must perform surgery to remove foreign objects from the stomach and intestinal tract. These objects include string, fishing line, marbles, needles, or just about any other small object you can think of.
By reducing stress and allowing the kitten to feel comfortable on its own terms, you will enjoy many years of affection, love, and loyal companionship.
By nature, cats are inquisitive and playful, which frequently gets them into trouble. Cat-proofing your home is important to prevent accidents and illness.
TIPS FOR KEEPING YOUR CAT SAFE:
ü Physical punishment is the least effective method for training cats. Do not discipline your cat by hitting or striking it. This will only frighten or anger it, frequently leading to biting and clawing. Keep a squirt gun or bottle available. A squirt of water in the face doesn't hurt them but deters most kittens from doing things they shouldn't, such as jumping up on counters.
ü Spend lots of time playing with your kitten. Drag a string around the house or tie an object to a string on a pole and wave it around while watching TV. Do not play with your kitten by wiggling your fingers or toes as this only encourages biting.
ü Never force a kitten to stay in your lap if it wants to get down. Do not grab at your cat or scare it. This develops biting reactions. Rough play also encourages aggression. Play gently using a toy, not your fingers.
ü Confine your kitten to one room that has no plants or dangerous objects when you aren't home. Swallowing or choking on small objects is very common in kittens and cats. Beware of things such as rubber bands, pencil erasers, ear plugs, needles and tread, small toys, metal objects such as paper clips, fabric scraps, earrings, etc. Anything smaller than 1" diameter can potentially be swallowed and needs to be kept out of the kitten's reach. Don't give your kitten string or yarn to play with! These are among the most common and deadly of intestinal obstructions.
ü Provide at least one scratching post for your cat to use. Even declawed cats like to stretch and knead their paws. Rubbing catnip on the scratching post will encourage its use. Keep the post in a place where the kitten spends a lot of time. Cats usually prefer a larger post that they can climb up and down. Use your squirt bottle if you see him/her scratching in inappropriate places.
ü To prevent chewing on cords and shoes, use UNSCENTED roll-on antiperspirant on these items once or twice a week. Cats don't like the drying, bitter taste and will soon learn to avoid these things.
ü Aluminum foil can be placed around your plant pots and counter tops or tables, especially when you can't be home to use the squirt bottle! Cats don't like shiny, noisy foil and will generally avoid it. Many types of plants are poisonous to your pet, so it's best to keep them all out of reach. Double-sided sticky tape works well on couches and chairs.
ü Be aware the laundry room and kitchen contain many things that can be toxic to a cat when licked off the paws after walking through it. Laundry soap and bleach are prime examples. Many cats die each year after exploring the washing machine, taking a nap in the dryer, or jumping on or in a hot stove or oven. Cats are also very good at learning how to open cabinet doors.
ü A collar and ID tag ensures your cat can be identified if it escapes outside. Use breakaway collars to prevent choking. Microchips are now available to permanently identify your cat. Be sure that the litter pan is accessible, in a quiet place, and changed frequently. If your house is large, it is best to have more than one box placed in a convenient area. It is recommended that there be one more litter pan than cats in a multiple cat household. Avoid heavily scented litter - cats don't like perfume. Avoid changing brands of litter. Changing the litter every day is much healthier than using the "scoopable" litters. Be sure to remove "clumps" daily if "scoopable" litter is used. Any time the cat eliminates outside the litter box, be sure to have the cat checked for a medical problem.
Cat claws can be very destructive to draperies, carpeting, and furniture in your house. Perhaps your kitty is scratching you every time he/she is picked up. It makes us all upset when our pets do things around the house we do not like. However, it is also difficult to be mad when the cat is only doing "what comes naturally."
HERE ARE THE FACTS ABOUT DECLAWING CATS:
Ø When cats are made to live with us in our homes, this is somewhat of an unnatural environment for them. However, consider that it is a known fact that cats living totally indoors will live at least 2-3 times longer than an outside cat because of dogs, cat fights, cars, disease, and abusive people. Therefore it makes good sense to help your cat live the best life possible by keeping it inside your house and making it an acceptable member of your family. This may include declawing it to prevent damage to the home and those living in it.
Ø Declawing is not cruel in our opinion. It is much crueler to get mad at the cat for following its natural instincts.
Ø Declawed cats are not defenseless. Cats do not fight with their front claws. They bite and scratch with the rear feet. They can still climb trees (to escape) without front claws.
Ø No cat is too old to be declawed. However, the younger the cat is when the surgery is performed, the faster the recovery. 8-16 week old kittens are often running all over the house the very next day after surgery.
Ø The rear feet can also be declawed but is only recommended if your cat damages you or the furniture with the back feet.
What is involved???
The surgery is done under general anesthesia. The last joint of the toe that contains the claw is surgically removed. The surgical incisions are closed with a surgical adhesive.
The feet are sore for 1-2 weeks but excessive post-operative pain is rare except in older, overweight cats. Additional long-lasting pain injections or oral medications are recommended when appropriate. Special litter recommendations are made to ensure that nothing sticks to the feet to cause an infection. Otherwise, the only special home care required is to not let your kitty jump off of high objects or run around the house for a few days after surgery. The impact of the jump or running around can cause the surgery site to bleed.
Declawing is probably the single most important surgical procedure for your kitten; other than spay/neutering that will help ensure a satisfactory relationship between the cat and its owner! WE STRONGLY RECOMMEND DECLAWING ALL HOUSE CATS AT 12-16 WEEKS OR AS SOON THEREAFTER AS POSSIBLE.
Usually in cases of housetraining problems with cats or kittens, there was something neglected in the social and dietary management aspects of pet care.
FOLLOW THESE SUGGESTIONS:
Do not leave food out all the time.
Feed twice daily to allow supervision afterward for at least one hour. This gives the opportunity to guide the cat to the litter box.
Litter boxes should be cleaned daily and refreshed with new litter at least once each week.
Use generic cat litter (auto supply stores can supply material used in auto repair shops to soak up oil - this is the same thing as generic cat litter) and totally empty it daily. The litter box must be large enough to allow several eliminations without the pet having to step on a previously used spot. Be sure to supply more than one box if you own several cats.
Plan a 5-minute play session with the cat in the morning and at night.
Prolonged stoking can lead to problems.
Stroking should be limited to no longer than a couple of minutes, after which the pet should be encouraged to play with a toy.
In the event that spraying has followed an invasion of the cat's territory by a new baby, guest, new pet, etc., more upbeat, playful attention should be given to the cat at times when the invader first enters the cat's area. This helps associate the target of jealousy with pleasure, rather than social neglect.
If the cat sprays in your presence, try triggering a starting reflex of other than human origin. This might be dropping a pot or slapping a table with your hand or ruler. This sudden noise should stop the urination allowing you to take the cat to the litter box. It is often necessary to remain there with the cat until the proper duties are performed and then be sure to praise the cat lavishly.
Cleaning up soiled spots should be done while the cat is placed in another room. We have an odor neutralizer that will remove the odor, not just cover it up. Remember also that many cleaners contain ammonia - which is a normal constituent of urine. That only makes matters worse. One teaspoon of apple cider vinegar put into one feeding each day will help alter the urine odor possibly preventing the desire to mark an area again.
Start feeding the cat at the location of the soiling. Leave the food dish, even though empty, down at the spot until the next meal. If several areas are soiled, split the feeding into however many dishes are required to cover the areas. One owner required 15 dishes before the problem was resolved. Bowls may start to be removed slowly after a minimum of four days without soiling. If regression occurs, you must reinstate feeding in each spot until another dry spell is accomplished. This program is usually successful in six weeks or less.
PLEASE BE SURE TO SPAY OR NEUTER.
Adult Cat Hairballs
Ü Hairballs, which are spit up, are a common problem seen in cats. Accumulation of hair in the stomach of the cat is a direct result of the significant portion of the cat's life that is spent grooming itself. It has been estimated that cats groom themselves for up to 1-3 of their waking hours.
Ü The problem begins as the cat swallows the hair it has licked off during the cleaning process. The barb-like projections on the cat's tongue pull the hair loose from the skin and hair coat. These barbs point inward on the tongue, which causes the hair to remain lodged on the cat's tongue until is it swallowed.
Ü Hair is mostly not digestible and therefore begins to knot up in the stomach. As the hairball enlarges, it is unable to pass out of the stomach down into the small intestine. It then becomes an irritant to the stomach lining eventually being vomited up in most cases. Should the hairball get so large that is cannot pass back up through the opening into the esophagus, it becomes a surgical procedure to get it out.
Ü Signs of hairballs include vomiting, constipation, listlessness, and coughing. It frequently causes a loss of appetite and even depression. The regurgitated hairball is often not actually round in shape, but rather "tubular."
Ü Finding regurgitated hairballs is a definite sign that your cat has a problem and needs help. Although rarely fatal, hairballs are an inconvenience to cleanup, very uncomfortable for the cat, and can lead to serious complications.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PREVENTING HAIRBALLS:
Daily brushing of the cat to remove loose hair is the best prevention. Longhaired breeds need special attention. During the spring when all cats shed, daily brushing is most important. After brushing, wipe the cat's hair coat with a damp towel to remove loose hair.
Medications are available to eliminate hairballs and help prevent reoccurrence. The best product available is a dietary fiber supplement, which can be added to the cat's food to aid in the elimination of accumulated hair. Laxatives in the form of pastes, or even petroleum jelly, have been recommended for many years. There are many different brands available that will be readily accepted by the cat. It is usually recommended that the gel be rubbed on the cat's mouth, nose, or even on its feet. It will then be swallowed during the cat's normal grooming process.
§ Feline Leukemia is a form of CANCER!
§ Feline Leukemia is HIGHLY CONTAGIOUS from cat to cat.
§ Licking, sneezing, fighting, sharing food bowls, or sharing litter pans may spread it.
§ It is estimated that 30% of all stray cats are infected today.
§ It is one of the MAJOR causes of death in cats today.
§ It primarily affects the cat by DECREASING THE RESISTANCE of the cat to other diseases. It acts very similar to the aids virus in humans. It is the CLOSEST RELATED VIRUS to the AIDS VIRUS of people known today! However, it is NOT CONTAGIOUS to humans.
§ Diagnosis is made by clinical signs and a blood test.
§ There is NO SUCCESSFUL TREATMENT!
§ The virus does NOT live outside the cat's body over 2-3 days.
§ Due to the seriousness of this disease, we HIGHLY RECOMMEND THAT ALL CATS be vaccinated! Once the disease is contracted there is NO cure!
§ Research evidence to date shows NO possibility that Feline Leukemia is transmissible to humans.