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Bringing a Kitten Home

May 10, 2009 by  
Filed under Preparing For a New Kitten

Chances are your entire family is going to be excited about bringing a kitten home. Or maybe your are bringing a grown cat to your family. But you’ve got to remember your new feline addition doesn’t know to be excited. He or she just knows to be nervous. That’s why you want to make the transition as calm and smooth for your new pet as possible. For starters, try to remain calm when bringing a kitten home. If you have children, discourage them from chasing, holding, or trying to give the cat a lot of affection for the first few days. Let the cat get settled first.

You should also remember that cats are extremely curious. Because cats should be kept indoors for their health and safety, you want to make sure there are no escape routes to the outdoors your cat might find while snooping around its new environment. Keep in mind that cats can make themselves pretty small if necessary to sneak out so don’t take any chances. Posting notes on all of the doors to remind family members and guests to watch out for a potentially escaping kitten is also a smart idea.

Because your cat is going to need to feel comfortable riding in the car when you take him or her home, invest in a pet carrier and add some blankets, toys, or anything that smells like the cat’s previous living quarters. This is going to make her more comfortable. Always have your cat in the carrier while traveling by car. She will feel safer than if you let her roam freely around the car. Plus, a curious cat could cause you to have an accident.

For the first few days, you’ve got to resist that urge to cuddle and love your new kitten. She needs to feel safe and comfortable before you overwhelm her with your affection. And cats tend to be a lot more cautious than dogs.

Matilda

Matilda

When you first arrive home, take the carrier to a room in your home. It’s a good idea to use your own bedroom so the cat can become comfortable with the adults in the home first. Plus, children have a hard time resisting the impulse to hug the kitten. Inside the room, place the carrier on the floor and open the door. Have the cat’s food, water, and litter box inside the room as well. You want to confine the cat to this small space before opening up the entire house to her. Remember not to pressure or coax her to come out. When she feels comfortable, she will emerge from the carrier and begin a thorough investigation of the area.

Try to minimize the cat’s contact with your children or other pets for a few days. Then you can begin slowly introducing them. Make sure that your kids stay calm around the cat and talk in a quiet voice as to not startle her. As far as the introduction to the other animals, this should be done slowly and always in a very controlled way. You want to make sure they are going to get along well before you allow them to have complete access to one another.

When you are expanding your kitten’s access to the rest of the house, make sure to carefully kitten-proof it. That means eliminate anything that might look like a toy, including window blind cords and electrical wires. If there are any places you do not want your cat to go, spray them with a lemon-scented liquid. Give your kitten some safe toys to keep her occupied and out of trouble.

Now, you are ready to fully enjoy bringing a kitten home and having it as a new family member.

Mistakes New Cat Owners Shouldn’t Make

Getting a cat is a big step and there are some mistakes one should avoid. Cats have a reputation for taking care of themselves, but that doesn't mean they don't need any care. Before deciding to adopt that beautiful kitten, take the time to do some homework, thus avoiding  these common mistakes made by new cat owners. That way you will have a happier and healthier cat and a long-term companionship with another living being, the like of which you never dreamed.

Adopting in a Rush

If you feel the impulse to buy a new shirt, or a new pair of shoes, you can always return it if it doesn't fit right or if it's the wrong color. But adopting a living creature like a cat or kitten, that will become a family member, is a different matter.

Adopting a new cat should be for keeps, so consider carefully before you make that decision.

You need to know that it's going to cost money to support it. You have to get toys, food, litter boxes, veterinary visits, etc. You owe it to your new cat to take care of his basic needs, as well as being prepared for emergencies.

Not Spay or Neuter a New Cat

People who failed to spay or neuter their cats always complain of male cats spraying every available surface of the house or escaping outdoors to fight other male cats; female cats who keep the whole family awake with their loud yowling during estrus; and worse yet, "surprise" litters of unwanted kittens. Society faces an overwhelming cat population problem and that is reason enough to spay and neuter. Spaying or neutering your cat will also have many health advantages, so you have no reason not to do it.

Not Giving Needed Veterinary Treatment

Cats may quickly recover from minor illnesses, but they can also die if an emergency isn't recognized. Cats need vaccinations, annual examinations, and they definitely need and deserve immediate veterinary care when they become sick or injured.

First Thing to do is choosing a good veterinarian.

Wrong Cat Food Choices

Anastasia

Anastasia

You might save some money by buying cheap cat food, but then you'll have to spend much more on veterinary care. Cats are carnivores and need a good source of meat protein. They do not need large amounts of grain fillers, especially corn, which is a cheap source of protein used by many cat food manufacturers. Learn how to choose cat food and select the best brands you can afford. Your cat might eat less of the high quality food because they don't have to gorge to get the nutrients they need.

Declawing Without All the Facts

Many innocent new cat owners have been convinced to declaw when a veterinarian asks: "Do you want your kitten declawed when we spay her?" Some veterinarians consider declawing a "routine" surgery, but cat advocates consider it cruel, inhumane, and unnecessary in almost every case and I totally agree. Learn the facts so that you can make an informed decision.

Allowing a Cat to Roam Free Outdoors

Many people believe cats are happier being free, breathing fresh air, and basking in the sunshine of an outdoor life, while many others can assure you that cats can be very happy and healthy living totally indoors. The outdoors offers dangers not found inside and that cannot be denied. Fortunately, there are many compromises that will give you and your cat the best of both worlds, while keeping him or her safe and happy.

Poor Litter Box Maintenance

Cats will always use their litter box, as long as it's kept very clean, and the litter is not scented or unpleasant to the cats' feet. Carefully maintaining your cat's litter box will almost always guarantee you that you will not be faced with litter box avoidance problems.

However, if your cat suddenly starts urinating outside the box despite your careful maintenance, you should immediately have it checked for a urinary tract problem with your veterinarian.

A Cat is Not Property

When you join the ranks of cat lovers, you'll find that we refer to our cats as family members, rather than "pets." While cats may legally be considered "property" in some jurisdictions, the term ends there. If you haven't figured out the distinction by now, your new cat will let you know in no uncertain terms. In fact, many cat lovers describe themselves as being owned by their cats!

Ignoring them

We always hear that cats are independent and should just be left alone. You will soon find out that they are very loving creatures that long for their human's company. They will follow you around like a puppy, and will want to play with you. Play with them to keep them sharp and interested. The more toys they have the better, and you don't have to spend a fortune. You'll find how to make cheap toys in later articles.

Not Allowing a Cat to Be a Cat

Cats' unique ways make them the endearing creatures they are. Some of their traits, however, may cause frustration because we don't understand their needs. Cats instinctively seek out high places and sharpen their claws because they are cats, not because they are stubborn and disobedient. Our job is to accommodate those needs in acceptable ways.

Forcing your Love on them

They are sooo cute!!!!  You just want to eat them up, hug them and squeeze them. But this is the fastest way to annoy them and make it harder to bond with them in the long run. Although many cats are all for it, many others are not quite as eager to be hugged. Take your cues from them, they will let you know what they like, never doubt that.