Bringing a new pet into your home is always cause for excitement, but it also calls for plenty of preparation in order to create a pet-friendly home environment. It may be true that cats are generally low-maintenance pets, but there’s a lot to be done before your household is ready for a kitten. Following these steps will ensure a smooth start to Keeping Your Kitten Healthy.
Invest in Quality Food
Good health starts with sound nutrition, and although you might intend to give your furry friend the best food available, it can be difficult to work out what’s best for them, and to make sure they’re developing healthy eating habits for life. Kittens can live well on a diet of dry cat food as a main nutritional source, supplemented with canned food, but there are plenty of other food options to explore. Scrambled eggs, fish, meat, green vegetables, pumpkin, and cat grass all make great additions to their bowls. Just remember that when it comes to feeding time, quantity is more important than quality, since overfeeding can cause significant health issues down the track. It’s better to be safe than sorry, so opt for a small bowl to start with, and measure out the appropriate portion according to age and weight.
Check the Home Environment
The spaces in which your new kitten spends most of their time can pose a threat to their wellbeing.
Since many cats spend a large portion of their time frolicking in the great outdoors, it’s important that you do your research on potential hazards in the garden. Just as a new kitten poses a threat to many other native species, they are in turn threatened by other animals like cane toads, and even some plants, which can be toxic if ingested. The good news is that it’s easy to swap in some cat-friendly alternatives – green, leafy substitutes like the areca palm, the sword fern, and the spider plant will keep curious felines out of trouble, and add some vibrancy to your garden.
Crack Open the History Books
Just like humans, cats have long ancestral lineage, and breeding history can give you a great insight into any health problems your kitten is likely to encounter in the future. While navigating the process of adopting a kitten, you’ll have the opportunity to ask questions and find out as much about that lineage as possible. Adopting from a professional breeder increases the likelihood that plenty of information will be available, but many shelters have also developed effective testing and record-keeping practices. Gathering as much information as possible about your new pet’s family tree will help to give you some peace of mind, and prepare you for a long-term commitment.
Make Health Appointments a Priority
Felines, like canines, need regular professional health checks to stay well. It’s recommended that cat owners pay a visit to the vet on an annual basis, although more frequents might be needed depending on your pet’s general health. Kittens need a set of initial vaccinations and de-worming medications, and your vet is the best point of contact for any health-related questions, or general queries about raising a kitten.
While vets will check skin, teeth, and any other potential problem areas, you can help by staying attuned to any unusual behaviors or physical developments that might go unnoticed at a glance. It’s also important to consider whether you would like for your kitten to breed in the future. If not, neutering is usually the best course of action since not only are neutered cats unable to create unwanted litters, but they are also cleaner and less likely to spray their scent all over your home.
Stimulate the Brain
Cats are generally intelligent animals, and they need plenty of mental stimulation to keep their minds busy, lest your favorite couch fall victim to restless claws. To start with, a basic training regime will help you to develop a stronger relationship with your kitten, and teach it how to respond to your commands, but it will also need plenty of toys around in order to stave off boredom. The cat toys available in most supermarkets and pet stores should be enough to keep your new pet occupied for hours at a time, and you can’t go wrong with a good old-fashioned scratching post, especially if you value your furniture.
A new kitten is a serious commitment just like any other domesticated animal, and it’s important to understand what you’re signing up for before taking the plunge. If you’re looking for a fun, relatively low-maintenance new addition to the family, a feline is a great option, as long as you’re willing to invest in its health and happiness for the long-term.