Key points

  • Provide plenty of human companionship

  • Provide regular, suitable meals with a constant supply of fresh water

  • Provide the cat with litter tray and clean it on a daily basis

  • Groom regularly. Longhaired cats require daily grooming

  • Vaccinate against the major feline diseases yearly

  • Worm regularly and provide treatment for fleas (Advocate + Milbemax every 3 months)

  • Take the cat to vet when it shows any sign of illness - pet insurance can help offset the cost of veterinary treatment.

Bringing the kitten home

Moving to a new home is very stressful for a kitten. Give it time to adjust to the new surroundings before making introductions to other animals in the household. Make sure all the doors and windows are closed and that there is a guard in front of the fireplace. We suggest a small room to start with eg Laundry/second bedroom. It has to be quiet and preferably dark. Put the kitten with the crate it travelled in and leave the door of crate open when you get home. The kittens' crate/carrier can be used as its first bed at new home. It is a refuge to retreat to if things become too stressful. It needs to be warm, dry, comfortable and draught free. Make sure that the kitten knows where the litter tray and food bowls are. If it feels safe, it will come around to explore.

Introducing other pets and children

Introduction to other household residents should be gradual, gentle and very quiet. Excited children can easily injure a kitten unintentionally so always supervise play and do not allow the kitten to be picked up unnecessarily. Children should be encouraged to sit on the floor and wait for the kitten to explore them. Make sure that the kitten is allowed to stop playing when it wants to and is not treated like a toy. Kittens, like many young animals, will need a lot of sleep and should be allowed time to rest.

Introducing a kitten to a dog or cat needs to be undertaken carefully to avoid conflict. A bad experience can be difficult to overcome. If you have a large mesh pen in which the kitten can sit safely while the resident cat or dog can gradually get used to it, this is an ideal way to make introductions. Some dogs, especially those not used to cats or of an exciteable or aggressive disposition, need extra special care for introductions. They should be kept as calm as possible on the lead and made to sit quietly. The new kitten should be given a safe position in the room and allowed to get used to the dog and approach if it wants. This may take quite some time and requires patience and rewards for the dog if it behaves well. For quieter dogs or those used to cats, introductions can be made using a strong cat carrier. Keep the dog on a lead initially, place the carrier on a high surface and allow controlled introductions which are short and frequent. Most dogs will soon calm down when they realise the newcomer is not actually very interesting. Progress to meetings with the dog on a lead initially, for safety. Do not leave the kitten alone with resident dogs or cats until it is well established.

Feeding

When you first take a kitten home feed it on the same food it has been used to. A sudden change of diet combined with the stress of adapting to a new home can cause stomach upsets and diarrhoea.

Once settled you may want to change their diet gradually over 1-2 weeks. We strongly recommend to continue a raw 'prey-based' diet. 

Kittens aged 8-12 weeks need four meals a day, 3-6 months three meals, and kittens over 6 months old, two meals. Diarrhoea that persists for more than 24 hours requires veterinary attention. Fresh drinking water should be available at all times.

Toilet training

Cats are very fussy about their toilet habits and kittens will usually have learnt to use a litter tray by copying their mother. You may just need to show your new kitten where the litter tray is and place it on the tray on waking up from a sleep and after meals, or when the kitten is sniffing, scratching or beginning to crouch and looks as if it is about to go!

Place the tray in a quiet accessible corner where your kitten will not be disturbed. Make sure that the litter tray is not next to food and water bowls. The kitten may be reluctant to use the litter tray if it is too close to its food.

The litter tray must be kept clean and emptied regularly. Some disinfectants (like Dettol) which go cloudy in water are toxic to cats, so use only hot water and detergent when cleaning out the tray or ensure you use a cat-friendly disinfectant such as bleach which has been diluted as the manufacturer recommends and the tray rinsed thoroughly before use. F10 is a vet-grade disinfectant we use in the cattery and it is available in pet shops too.

If your kitten is inclined to mess elsewhere in the house, confine it to one room with a litter tray until the kitten learns to use it regularly. Place the kitten on the litter tray a short time after it has eaten or when it is sniffing, scratching, beginning to crouch and generally showing signs of looking for a suitable corner to use as a toilet.

If the kitten is reluctant to use the tray it could be because:

  • It is not clean enough - empty it more often

  • It is not big enough - it should be big enough for an adult cat to turn around in and to use more than once without getting dirty

  • You have cleaned it out with a chemical that is too strong smelling

  • It is too near the bed or food bowls

  • The kitten does not like the texture of the litter you have chosen - revert to the type it has used before.

Hazards in the home

Kittens are very inquisitive creatures and will investigate small, dark places which they can crawl into. For this reason, should your kitten go missing for any length of time, you should look in cupboards, wardrobes, outside sheds etc in case it has accidentally been shut in or got stuck.
Keep the washing machine and tumble dryer door shut when not in use and check them before putting the clothes in.

If your kitten is a plant nibbler then remove any plants which may be poisonous, for example Dieffenbachia (dumb cane), Poinsettia, Lily of the Valley, Christmas Cherry, Castor Oil plant, Avocado plant, rubber plant and ivy. Most cats will not touch such plants but kittens may be more inquisitive.
If you live in a flat above ground level or have a house with several storeys keep the windows shut or install fly screens to ensure that kittens do not fall out.

 

Entertainment

Kittens are very playful. Give them an assortment of toys to keep them occupied and exercised - these need not be expensive - every kitten loves a cardboard box to play in. Play is also a good way for you to get to know and trust each other. Provide your kitten with a scratching post to prevent it from scratching furniture.

 

Grooming

It is a good idea to accustom your kitten to being groomed from an early age, particularly if it has a long coat. Grooming removes excess loose hairs which can cause fur balls to build up in the stomach. Combing and brushing will help remove these hairs and it is usually appreciated by the cat, provided it has been accustomed to grooming early in life. Grooming also gives you a chance to keep a close eye on your cat, assess its health and help to develop the bond between you. Always be gentle and make grooming a rewarding and pleasant experience.

Brush the teeth to prevent periodontal disease. Daily dental hygiene is best, but weekly brushing is better than nothing.

 

Trim the nails weekly or fortnightly. It’s important to get your kitten used to having their claws clipped at a young age. If claws get too long, they can get stuck, snagged or even pulled out, which could result in an injury. Clipping doesn't hurt if it’s done properly and can be done at home, at your local vet clinic or through professional grooming service. Be sure if you plan to trim your cats’ nails that you do one claw at a time and use a dedicated nail clipper.​

Check the ears weekly. If they look dirty, wipe them out with a damp cotton ball/pad. Use cleaning drops when needed. Avoid using cotton swabs, which can damage the interior of the ear.

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Vaccinations

To provide protection against potentially fatal infections, all of our kittens need to be vaccinated on a yearly basis. In the first year, we gave Fel-O-Vax 4 vaccinations to protect them from:

1. Feline panleucopaenia;

2. Feline viral rhinotracheitis;

3. Feline calicivirus; and

4. Feline chlamydiosis.

According to the manufacturer, the first injection in the course is given at 8 weeks old and a second at 12 weeks. The second vaccination is most essential; however, many vets will suggest a third injection and it is up to you. After your kitten settles at new home, you can take him/her for the third at 16 weeks old and a yearly boost afterwards.

 

Worming

Worms can make kittens weak. Though Advocate is a all in one parasites, it doesn't cover tapeworm. We recommend you to continue with this product. But if you are feeding your cat with raw meat, Milbemax tablets are necessary for every 3 months.

 

Fleas

Even clean cats pick up fleas so check for these while grooming. Flea dirt can usually be seen as small brown specks particularly around the neck and base of the tail. When placed on damp cotton wool 'flea dirt' slowly dissolves producing bloody streaks.

For effective control, adult fleas on the kitten must be killed and re-infestation from the environment prevented. Traditional flea preparations - sprays, shampoos and collars - can contain substances that are potentially toxic to kittens and may not be very effective. Advocate will help you to prevent fleas from beginning.
Other animals in the house will also have to be treated. The cat's bedding should be washed or replaced.

 

Neutering

All of our kittens as pet will be desexed before leaving us. Neutering will reduce the likelihood that a male cat will spray indoors to mark his territory. He will less likely to escape or get into fights with other male cats. 


A female cat needs to be spayed to avoid pyometra, unwanted kittens and backyard breeding. Desexing has no harmful effects in most cases and removes the stress on both you and your cat.

Tips:

  • Start by choosing a comfortable spot and place the kitten on your knees. Press lightly on the footpad to extend the claw.

  • Clip the white tip of the claw without going close to the edge of the pink triangle. If you're unsure or uncomfortable you vet can do this for you.

© Furrytail Cattery 2020