"Meow, meow, meow!" ...CAT
Before you bring home a new kitten, it’s important to kitten proof your home. Never underestimate the destructive creativity of a kitten – kittens will try to nibble, scratch or climb pretty much anything that looks exciting. Be especially careful to remove toxic plants, electrical chords, low hanging curtains or anything else that looks enticing from a vantage point of about eight inches off the floor. Get on your hands and knees and take a look around your home – you’ll be surprised at what you’ll discover.
If you have other pets in the home, it’s important to get your new kitten to the vet before bringing it home. Even the youngest of kittens can carry diseases and parasites that will afflict the other pets in your home. Save yourself the headache by doing a little prevention at the veterinarian’s office. A new kitten’s health schedule should be the following:
- 3 weeks: fecal exam
- 6 weeks: fecal exam
- 9-10 weeks: FHV/FCV/FPV vaccine, ELISA test for FeLV, FeLV vaccine, fecal exam
- 12-14 weeks: FHV/FCV/FPV vaccine, FeLV vaccination, Rabies vaccine, fecal exam
If you decide to bring your new kitten home before these shots and exams are complete, keep your kitten in quarantine until it has received all the necessary exams and vaccines.
When your kitten is finally ready to be brought home, be sure to have planned enough in advance to have a bowl full of food and water ready, as well as a sleeping box and litter box in the cat’s new living space. The kitty will quickly learn to call this space their own and will need to learn that the litter box is the appropriate place to “go.”
To introduce a new kitten to existing cats in the home, place the new kitten in a room by itself for a few days with a slight crack in the doorway so that the other cats can introduced to the new kitten’s curious nose that will appear in the doorway. Rub down your cat with a towel and place the towel in the existing cat’s sleeping space so that the cat will become accustomed to the kittens scent – do the same for the kitten, so that the kitten sleeps with a towel that carries the scent of the existing cat. After three days, the new kitten can now be “introduced” to the existing cats in the home.
Spaying and Neutering
Males: The earlier the better. Male kittens can be neutered as soon as they are at least two pounds in weight and have two descended testis. Delaying neutering increases the likelihood of testicular and prostate cancer, and can result in a pet population explosion in your very own neighborhood.
Females: Spay before the cats’s first heat cycle – delaying spaying beyond the first heat cycle increases the likelihood of breast and uterine cancer.