Steps to the Practically Perfect Kitten
- The more human contact the better—the sooner the better.
Interact with kittens as soon as possible. Studies show that a litter of kittens born in a location inaccessible to humans will, as early as two to three weeks, hiss at humans. A litter of kittens from the same mother, if handled daily, will not react fearfully. Some research suggests that handling kittens each day during the first month of their lives may improve their learning ability.
Kittens tend to react more readily to humans when the mother cat is present. The belief is that she does not send alarming signals to her kittens and her presence reassures them.
2. Playtime isn’t just fun for you—it’s important for your pet’s development.
Recognize the importance of play as it helps introduce young kittens to their environment. During this critical play period when kittens are four to eight weeks of age, socialization to humans is extremely important. Frequent handling and petting of the young kitten can make it more responsive to his owner when he becomes an adult cat.
Introducing a young kitten to many people is important in socializing kittens to humans. This seems to lessen their fear of strangers as adult cats. Kittens should also be introduced to children and children should be shown how to pet them. A kitten not socialized with children may reject them after it has matured.
3. It’s never too soon for your first visit to the veterinarian.
Provide a healthy start with regular visits to a veterinarian. All kittens, even strictly indoor cats, should be vaccinated to protect them from deadly diseases. Some viruses travel through the air or may be brought into the house on people’s clothing or shoes. There is also a risk that an indoor at may get outside or that a disease-carrying cat may wander into the yard or even get in the house.
4. Feed only a food formulated for a kitten’s special nutritional needs.
Be aware that a kitten’s rapid growth and high energy requirements present a special nutritional need. Research show that a kitten grows from infancy to young adulthood in approximately one year. This is why foods formulated to meet this growth pattern like kitten food are recommended for a kitten’s first year. They provide the extra protein, calcium, phosphorus and other nutrients kittens need for normal, healthy growth.
5. Establish a grooming routine now for easier grooming later.
Establish a grooming routine for you and your kitten. When a kitten becomes accustomed to grooming, it will be easier to groom as it matures. Longhaired cats should be groomed daily. Shorthaired cats should be groomed at least one or twice a week. Appropriate grooming equipment for longhairs and shorthairs is available at pet shops.
6. Keep an eye out for external signs of poor health.
The grooming routine should include a careful inspection for external parasites such as fleas or ticks and skin disorders such as ringworm. Grooming also provides an opportunity to accustom a kitten to be examined for lumps or skin lesions. If any are observed, prompt veterinary treatment is recommended.
During the examination check for:
– eyes that are clear and bright. Any discharge from the eyes is usually a sign of illness
– ears that are clean and pink. Redness or sores or an offensive odor may be an indication of ear mites or bacterial infection.
– teeth should be clean and gums free of any soreness.
7. Set ground rules for your kitten’s behavior, and be consistent in enforcing them.
Set ground rules for your kitten’s behavior and be consistent in working with your kitten to enforce these rules. Once you have decided on a name for your kitten, enlist the cooperation of family members by calling the kitten only by that name.
Some misbehavior results from a kitten’s desire to play. Provide diversions such as toys made for kittens (look for this information on the product label), a scratching post, box, a crumpled piece of paper or a golf ball. Avoid rough play with your kitten which encourages scratching and/or biting. Pinpricks from tiny teeth and claws can become bites and scratches as a kitten matures.
Kittens are sensitive to the tone of voice. When you see your kitten being naughty, a firm “no” usually stops the misdeed. If your kitten develops a bad habit and you catch your kitten in the act, a squirt from a toy pistol or spray bottle is usually an effective deterrent.
8. Begin litter box training immediately!
Begin training your kitten to use a litter box immediately. A plastic or enamel pan is easy to clean and will not rust. Fill it with a commercial cat litter such as Tidy Cats brand Cat Box Filler.
Keep the pan in a secluded area in your house. Place your kitten in the litter after meals, after periods of energetic play, long naps, first thing in the morning and last thing at night. Be consistent in taking your kitten to the litter pan during this training.
Do not allow your kitten freedom of the house until you are certain he is using his litter pan regularly. Make certain you keep the litter pan clean. Many cats will not use soiled litter. A sieve or scoop designed for cleaning cat litter is available at pet supply stores and departments. When you change the litter, wash the pan with soap and warm water. Do not use strong disinfectants not specifically designed for use around cats. For sanitary purposes, wash your hands thoroughly after cleaning the litter pan.
Featured Dog- Bruno
He thinks that he is a lap dog. He is smart, knows basic commands, and walks well on the leash.. Bruno loves and enjoys relaxing just next to you. He has not shown any aggression to any of our other dogs nor our volunteers. He loves to go for walks and will need lots of exercise. He does bark for attention. He is one of the nicest dogs you will ever meet.
Other available dogs
Cocoa High energy border collie mix. He will need lots of exercise. Loves playing with toys. NOT an apartment dog
Featured cats- Alan and Betty
These two cats were abandoned in a carrier together. We would love for them to get adopted together if possible. Betty is quite shy and Alan is her rock. Betty likes to be petted and is learning to play with toys and be more trusting of humans. Alan is an outgoing purr machine who loves being with people and playing with toys. They are very calm and two easy to care for cats.
There are no other cats available at this time.
If you’d like to visit with our adoptable pets, PLEASE CALL TO SET UP AN APPOINTMENT (702) 346-5268. The shelter is open, but an appointment is required prior to arrival. Thank you!