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How To Care For Your Kitten
Be prepared for your kitten to become a little stressed while it settles in to its new environment. It may be away from its friends and litter mates for the first time, and will need very gentle uninterrupted sleep periods, for up to 80% of the day. If kittens do not get enough sleep, they can become ill. It is important to not let your kitten outside alone until it has been settled in for at least a few weeks.
Cats love to play! It is important that you spend time playing with your cat so they keep their muscles exercised and conditioned, as well as keeping their brain alert. This is also the perfect way to strengthen the bond with your cat in the family.
It is worth getting a selection of different textures and styles to see what your cat enjoys playing with best. A variety of toys is important as once a toy is "killed" during play you cat will become bored of it. When this happens, put the toy away in the cupboard for a couple of days and bring out some new toys, then switch them again in a couple of days to keep things interesting for your cat.
• Assorted variety toys are what will make up the majority of the toys on rotation. These include toy balls, mice, fake birds etc.
• Wand cat toys are an excellent interactive toy to keep you and your kitty entertained for hours.
• Food dispensing toys will challenge you cat to 'work' for their food as they would have in the wild. Good choices: Kong Wobbler, Treat Ball and the Catit Feeding Maze.
• Cat Play Tunnels are irresistible to cats to run through and stalk their prey (toys).
• Suspended cat toys are good entertainers that can be clipped on to a door frame or clamped onto a table.
• Plush toys are fun for cats to attack and wrestle with. The Kong kickeroo is designed with material to encourage hind-paw kicking.
• Ball tracks are a fun toy for cats to play with a ball without losing it. They are available in different shapes and sizes and can even be added together to make a mega circuit.
• Chewing is important for cats too! It helps to exercise their jaws and keep their teeth and gums healthy. Good chew things for kittens are chicken necks and stir fry strips.
Cat “igloos” beds are a good choice for cats because they will feel more secure in a dark cosy environment. Place the bed somewhere up high in the house so your cat can get a “birds eye view” of the room. Cats will naturally seek a warm area of the house.
Use a microwavable snuggle safe to attract your kitty to sleep in its bed and to simulate the warmth from their mother and siblings.
A popular cat bed is the Kazoo Cat Lookout which can be mounted onto the window with suction cups. This allows them to get plenty of sun and watch what is going on outside.
Scratching posts are essential for cats to stretch their muscles, relax, mark their territory and sharpen their nails. Encourage your cat to use their scratching post by spraying with cat nip and dangling toys near it. To best prevent your cat from developing bad and scratching furniture, provide at least 2 scratching posts.
Multi level cat posts are excellent for indoor cats to have a place of their own they can climb on, it can be handy for your cat to have a place to get escape if they need to (if you have small kids or dogs).
Training and Toileting
Treats are an important part of training. If you see your kitten do any behaviour you want to encourage, make sure you give them a tasty treat as positive reinforcement. Recommended treats are: Pit'r Pats, dried fish, Greenies, Purrfection treats, and dried liver.
If your kitten does anything it shouldn’t (such as scratching furniture or climbing on the kitchen bench), squirt them with water in a spray bottle. The cat will see this as a scary “act of god” that won’t be associated with you. It creates more problems down the track if you punish the cat and that negativity is associated with you.
A litter tray should be provided for both indoor and outdoor cats. Out door cats should be kept in at night and will need a place to go if they need to. At least 1 litter tray per cat should be used. Litter trays come in different shapes and sizes to suit any house. Enclosed litter trays are the best to keep in smells and contain mess.
Litter tray liners make cleaning much faster, easier and more hygienic to clean.
Litter come in many different types and textures. To start with it is best to use what the kitten has been used to which is usually the Recycled paper litter made by All Pet. This is our choice because it is chemical and ink free, as well as being 100% biodegradable. Other choices include crystal litter and clumping litter. Crystal litter is generally considered to be one of the best types of litter to control smell. Clumping litter “clumps” when it comes into contact with moisture which can be scooped away and disposed of.
Litter scoop are used to scoop waste from the litter tray at least twice a day.
Litter deodorant will keep litter smelling fresh. Kleen Kat brand litter deoderant has an advanced double action formula which does not just “mask” smells, but binds with the smell to neutralise it. It also contains a broad-spectrum hospital grade bactericide. Catnip oil has also been added as an attractant for cats.
Enzyme cleaner is necessary to completely remove urine if your kitty ever has any accidents. Normal household cleaners will not completely remove the stubborn urine crystals and the smell will forever linger.
An elastic collar (so they cannot get hooked up), with an extra bell should be left on your kitty at all times if they are outside.
Identification disk is essential to keep on your cat at all times. If you cat wanders off it is much easier to get in contact with you. All our cats come micro chipped but the person 3 doors down can't read it!
Use a cat harness for safe walking of indoor cats. Flexi retractable leads are excellent for giving your kitty freedom to wander around.
Carry crates are handy to transport your kitten home, to the vet or on vacation safely. Get your cat used to the carrier by having it around even when you are not going anywhere. This will avoid the “carry crate phobia”.
Feliway plug in diffusers or sprays can be used to help your kitten settle to their new home faster. It is a synthetic version of scent cats leave when they rub against your leg or the furniture. Cats will only mark this scent on things when they feel happy and safe. This signals to your kitten that they are in a safe environment.
Cat doors are helpful so you do not have to let your kitten in and out all day.
Outdoor cat enclosures can be ordered and delivered locally. Please consider keeping you kitten as an indoor pet for life. Not only is your cat a danger to native wildlife but the world is a dangerous place for your cat. Outdoor cats could be hit by a car, attacked by a dog, fight with other cats, and be more likely to pick up diseases and parasites (such as the deadly paralysis tick). It would be a very wise idea to take up pet insurance if they are allowed outside! If they are allowed to roam outside, make sure they are in by night time by establishing a regular feeding routine.
Kitten shampoo and conditioner, are gentle to sensitive skin and eyes (human shampoos have a different pH level). If you want your cat being tolerant of being washed, it is important to start young with short, frequent baths. When your kitty is older, only bath as needed. Dry shampoo powder, sprays and foams will keep your kitty smelling fresh and clean in between baths (or to use instead of a bath if it is too much of an ordeal).
Brushing your cat regularly will encourage a healthy, shiny coat as well as removing loose hair and prevents hairballs. As with all things, grooming should be started early, to get them used to it. Fine toothed combs are good for brushing around the face and other sensitive areas. It is also a good tool for looking for parasites such as fleas and ticks.
Slicker brushes are used for long haired cats to separate the hairs out to prevent painful knots from developing.
Rubber “massage” brushes are used for both short and long haired coats to remove excess hair, stimulate healthy oil production. And to increase blood circulation to muscles. Good massage brushes are the Kong Zoom Groom or the Trixie massage glove.
The Furminator brush removes up to 90% of shedding hair! A very worth while investment if you don't like cat hair all over you and your furniture. It also reduces hairballs.
Nail clippers are used as often as required for indoor cats.
Dental hygiene is the most important part of the grooming routine. Dental disease will affect all cats if no preventative routine is not put in place. Like all things it is best to start prevention early before any signs start to occur. Despite what many people will say, dry food is not enough to clean their teeth. Would you eat a bowl of crunchy cereal and expect to have clean teeth after? Brushing teeth is the best way to prevent dental disease and for most cats, they will only tolerate it if it is started young.
Cat safe toothpaste and Toothbrush should always be used when brushing teeth because it is flavoured and safe for them to swallow. Never use human toothpaste. First, get your kitten used to the taste by letting it lick it off the toothbrush. Then start wiping the toothpaste inside the mouth. Once your kitten it comfortable with this start short sessions of brushing.
Dental water additives such as Dental Fresh of Tropiclean should be added to your cats drinking water daily to reduce the build up of plaque and tarter. If you don't brush your cats teeth then this is the next best thing.
Veterinary Care All our Veterinary care is performed by either Willoughby, Acacia Garden or North Rocks.
These Vets are modern veterinary hospitals that were established to provide the highest standard of professional care in a friendly and compassionate environment. The team endeavour to make your pet feel at ease when visiting the clinics with a caring and gentle approach to consultations and treatments. The staff and leading veterinarians are all passionate about pets and avid animal lovers. At these Veterinary Hospitals, you’ll be fully supported with sound advice first and foremost. With good advice and professional recommendations, you’ll be well equipped to make the best ongoing health care decisions for your pet.
Vaccinations are given at 8 weeks, 12 weeks, 16 weeks and then a yearly booster. Vaccination is the best defence against common deadly diseases. Kittens should not be allowed near unknown cats until after the 16 weeks.
Desexing is essential for all cats and is usually done around 6 months of age. Desexing not only prevents unwanted litters but it will make your cat a much easier and happy pet.
While visiting our vets, ask about the 4 week free pet insurance trial from Pet Plan. It will give peace of mind that you will be able to give your pet the best care if he/she was to become ill. A recent survey suggests that you are more likely to claim on pet insurance than on car or house insurance!
Our Vets offer exclusively to Pet Town customers, 10% off your kittens next vaccination and their de-sexing!
Health and Medicine
Worming is done at around every 2 weeks until 12 weeks, then every month until 6 months and then every 3 months for life. Expect loose droppings for 24 hours, and if you see worms in droppings do not panic, but worm again in 2 days.
Flea treatment should be applied once a month. The hair is parted and the liquid is applied to the back of the neck where your cat will not be able to reach. It is much easier to prevent fleas at the kitten stage, than to try and remove infestations on your kitten and in your house, later on. Do not use these products 48 hours either side of washing.
Combination Parasite Control
Combination parasite control products include fleas, some worms and ear mites (among other things). These products provide a bit of extra protection, however, we still recommend the same intestinal worming routine to be used in conjunction.
Tick prevention is important if your cat is allowed to roam outdoors. The paralysis tick can be very deadly. Outdoor cats should be checked at least once a day, paying particular attention around the head and neck area. If you find a tick, always check for more and contact the vet ASAP if your cat is even a little bit off. The only thing registered to control ticks in cats is Frontline spray which must be applied every 3 weeks.
Feeding & Accessories
Earthborn is what we use and recommend for diet. This diet is completely balanced, all natural and uses whole ingredient. Feeding a premium pet food will pay dividends throughout your cats life as they will be less prone to illness. Earthborn have selected the finest proteins, fats, fruits and vegetables, along with a complex blend of vitamins and minerals to support energy, immunity, health and wellness. Every ingredient has a unique purpose and is carefully balanced to provide maximum benefit and nutrition. Quality animal and fish proteins such as chicken meal, herring meal, salmon meal and white fish meal help build and maintain muscle. Balanced levels of calcium and phosphorus help build strong bones and teeth. Guaranteed levels of antioxidant nutrients like Vitamin E and Vitamin C blended with nutrient-rich vegetables and fruits such as peas, apples, blueberries, carrots, spinach and cranberries help support the immune system, good digestion and intestinal health.
Stainless steel or unbreakable plastic bowls are great as they are dishwasher safe and hygienic.
Ceramic bowls should be used for water, as they are hard to knock over, and keep water cool. Auto-feeders for food and water are also very useful.
Water fountains are very beneficial to cats because it encourages them to drink more water. Cats originated from the desert and usually obtained their water from eating their prey (which is 60 to 70% water). This means that cats don't have a very high thirst drive and will only drink once they are already dehydrated. Cats also prefer to drink moving water and are very fussy about smells like chlorine. Cats who drink more water are less likely to develop kidney disease and urinary tract problems (especially males).
It is essential you feed your kitten exactly what it has been eating in our shop.
Because kittens do not have any fat reserves, their sugar levels can drop very quickly and very dangerously, if they do not eat properly. It is very important that your kitten eats consistently. The first few days in a new home can be very stressful for them, and the first thing a stressed kitten does is stop eating.
Contact the shop if your kitten is not eating well. Please do not hesitate to ring us as often as required. There is nothing more important to us than ensuring our little ones are doing great and are eating properly.
The following feeding guide is only for those kittens that go off (or who never adequately got on) the dry food. If they do go off the dry food, follow the attached "Kitten Feeding Schedule" exactly, as these premium quality foods are so high in calories, over-feeding can cause diarrhea.
It is essential that any food not eaten after ten minutes be removed. If you leave food down for long periods, your kitten will become forever fussy (not something you want). Most kittens should be fed for ten minutes, 3 times daily until 12 months, and then for ten minutes once or twice daily.
ARE THEY NOT EATING?
If kittens are not eating the canned food, you can substitute (only if absolutely necessary): cooked or raw mince, skinned BBQ chicken, premium kitten canned foods,, tuna and mashed vegetables. If you do need to feed these, still follow the "Kitten Feeding Schedule", but substitute them for the canned food. Give no milk or any meat with fat on it, at all (it may cause diarrhoea).