WHAT TO DO TO CARE FOR YOUR NEW KITTEN

We would like to provide you some information about how to look after your new kitten.

Kitten Supplies

.  Litterbox - This is one of the most important things!  Indoors we prefer to use a covered tray, but that is a personal preference, and makes little difference for your kitten.  Because your kitten will grow quickly, it is not necessary to begin with a small litter tray.  It is ideal to have one litterbox per cat that you own.

  • Litter - We use World's Best, which is made of maize. This material is better because sometimes cats may swallow the litter when they are cleaning themselves, and this litter is harmless if they swallow it.  It is also economical, and becasue of its "clumping" quality, the litter tray can be cleaned easily, leaving behind only clean litter.  There are of course cheaper brands, and when choosing you will need to bare in mind not only economy, but the spreading factor.  It might be unwise to choose a brand that your kitten will tread all over the house. 
  • Food and Water Dishes - The kittens love the 24 hour access to food and growing kittens eat a lot of food.  They tend to eat lots of small meals throughout the day and night.  Constant access to a suppy of clean water is essential.
  • Kitten Food - We use ROYAL CANIN BABYCAT 34 and ROYAL CANIN QUEEN food for 24 hour access. They are very high quality food and excellent sources of nutrition for growing kittens. Your kitten will bring home a voucher for a sample bag, but make sure to have some of it on hand at home. We also feed kittens with plain cooked chicken breast, which can be obtained ready cooked in supermarkets. We sometimes mix it with kitten food sachets and they love it. You should avoid suddenly changing a kitten's food. It could cause stomach upset and diarrhoea. Sometimes their stomach is allergic to particular starch, for example, potatoes. So if they have diarrhoea, be sure to check the food labels. If you do want to change food, do it slowly over a period of at least a week. Mix a little of the new food in with the old, and slowly increase the amount until it is 100% of the new food.
  • Brush and Comb - These are absolutely essential when you own a Persian! You also need a good comb specifically designed for the undercoat to remove all loose hairs. This will really help cut down on shedding and help to prevent tangling or matting.  A daily routine is important, and if you find a convenient spot in the day when you and the kitten can feel relaxed, he will learn to enjoy this human contact, and the grooming will be a pleasure for both of you.  Should you neglect your routine, expect to find some knots in your kitten's coat, and then the whole experience will be spoiled until you have restablished your routine.
  • TOYS  - Every kitten needs a good supply of toys. It is so much fun to watch your new kitten running around, batting at a jingle ball, or doing acrobatics through the air trying to catch that little dangling thing on the end of their human's fishing pole! Any kind of cat toys will do, just make sure to have a few on hand for your kitten's entertainment.  Kittens love cardboard boxes, and these can have holes cut into them to add adventure and excitement.
  • Scratching Post - It's a cat's natural instinct to scratch, so you need to make sure you provide them with an appropriate surface to fulfill their needs. A sisal covered scratching post works well and will save your furniture from kitty's claws! Just make sure you show them the proper place to scratch when you first bring them into your home.
  • Shampoo - The kittens have all had baths throughout their young lives before going to their new homes. The shampoo that we use is "Johnson &  Johnson Baby Shampoo". After their baths, I blow dry and brush them out. They should be fairly used to this process by the time you receive them, but sometimes you'll come across a kitten that is a little scared no matter what you do. It just takes time and they will eventually be ok with the whole grooming process.  They shouldn't need bathing very often, and generally speaking keep themselves clean.  Their coats benefit from a wash to rid them of too much natural oil and I suggest a bath every three or four months.  Between baths a little baby powder sprinkled into their coat helps to reduce the oil and keep the coat looking clean and soft.
  • Carrier - If you are picking up your kitten, you will need to bring a carrier with you.  It will seem large at first, but your kitten will quickly grow into it.  It can be very dangerous to carry a cat or kitten in a car unless it is in a secure carrier.
  • Flea/Parasite Control - Frontline works absolutely wonderful.  This can be obtained from your Vat or off the internet.  Your Vet can also provide you wil a worming tablet.  They may provide "Milbemax" which has a broad spectrum but it is expensive.  We use Drontol which can be obtained off prescription and off the internet.
  • Veterinarian - Last but not least, you will need to find a good veterinarian. You will need someone to keep your kitten up to date on annual vaccinations, and also someone to call when kitty is not feeling so good. A vet with 24 hour emergency care is a great plus. You never know when you're going to need them!  Ask other cat owners about their Vet, and try to find a Vet that knows about CATS.  Most Vets have their specialty, and a horse or a cow is a very different animal to a cat !
  • The Big Day


    When you first bring your kitten home you should put him in a small area until he is comfortable with his new surroundings. This can be your bedroom, kitchen, bathroom or any other place that can be his very own for a few days. Immediately show him where the litterbox is so he won't have any accidents on the floor! During this transitioning period, be sure to spend lots of time with your new kitten giving him plenty of love and attention. This will show him that this is a good place to be and help to calm any fears he may have.  If you carry your kitten to another part of the house, you must remember to carry him back again.  When the time comes to explore your home, it is best to allow your kitten to walk around the house by himself; that way he will remember his route and be able to find his way back to his litter tray.

    Accidents happen, and if your kitten wets or soils your carpet, after cleaning with plain water, wash the area with bicarbonate of soda.  That will neutralise the odour, and leave your carpet clean and fresh.  If you use disinfectant, this is likely to cause your cat to fear the smell, and then need to compete by "boundary marking".  A good spray to use is FELIWAY; this is a well researched composition of natural cat ferimones that will help your kitten to feel comfortable in his surroundings.  Feliway is also obtainable from the internet.

    Introducing Your Kitten to your Other Pets


    When you first introduce your kitten to your other pets, there will most likely be a little hissing and name calling going on! But don't despair, it won't be long before they will get along like 2 peas in a pod - or 3 or 4 peas depending on how many furry friends you have! Kittens are such funny creatures, but as long as they are not mistreated, they will get along with just about any animal. Just be sure to never leave your kitten alone with another animal until you are sure they are getting along ok.

    Ideally, you should introduce your kitten to one animal at a time. Be sure during the time your kitten is adjusting to his new home that you give your other animals LOTS of extra love and attention. It's easy to get carried away in the excitement of a new pet, so you need to make sure to set aside some special one on one time with your other pets so they know they are still important to you too!

    Grooming Your Kitten

    Persians have long beautiful hair that requires extra care and attention. You should groom your kitten or cat at least every other day, preferably more, to prevent matts and tangles. If your kitten does develop a matt don't worry! Just make sure you take care of it immediately before it gets worse. Matts and tangles can cause your kitty to be in pain when they walk because their hair is getting pulled in all different directions! Ouch!

    To remove a matt, gently loosen it with your fingers and try to brush it out. If that doesn't work, you may need to cut down the middle of it with scissors. Be extra careful not to cut kitty's skin! After you've cut it, try to loosen it again and then carefully brush it out. Remember to pay extra attention to the hair along your kitty's underside. This likes to get tangled up quite frequently. Don't forget to use your comb to remove all the loose hairs from their undercoat!

    Litterbox Tips

    Kittens grow up with a natural instinct to keep themselves clean, and their mothers teach them from around the age of 3 or 4 weeks to use their litter tray, but when they first get to their new home, they may not know the appropriate place for them to relieve themselves. To cut down on any confusion, follow the tips below:

  • As soon as you get your kitten home, place them in the litterbox. This way, they will know where it is, and after a long trip they will need to use it!
  • For very small kittens, make sure the litterbox is close by at all times. If they start to have an accident, pick them up and put them in the litterbox.
  • If possible, use the same litter that they are accustomed to when you first bring them home. You can change it later if you need to.
  • Always make sure you keep the litter box VERY clean! Your kitty will not use an overly dirty litterbox. He will instead use your floor, bathtub, sofa etc.
  • Make sure the litterbox is not too close to the kitten's food or water. Cats do not like to eliminate next to where they eat!
  • Make sure you have at least one litterbox per cat, per level of your home. For small kittens you may want to have two or three litterboxes available until you are sure they have mastered their litterbox habits.
  • NEVER hit a kitten for having an accident. You will only teach them that relieving themselves is a bad thing which can cause many problems should your kitten become constipated.

  • Feeding your kitten

    Kittens should have access to their food and water 24 hours a day. They are growing so fast, they need as much nutrition as they can get! You should never feed your kitten adult cat food, it does not have all the nutrients that a growing kitten needs, always feed them kitten food.

    I recommend that you do not change your kitten's food until you have had them at least 2 weeks. It is stressful enough coming to a new place, there is no reason to give them an upset stomach and possibly diarrhea on top of everything else.

    If you do change their food, you should do it slowly over a period of at least one week. Mix a little of the new food in with the old, and slowly increase the amount until it is 100% of the new food.

    Never feed a kitten or cat a diet of wet food only. This will allow tarter build up on their teeth and will cause many problems in the future including loss of teeth. The chewing action and biting down on the dry food helps to clean their teeth.

    We welcome your comments and love to hear your tips!