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How to Raise a Healthy Kitten

Selecting a Kitten

It is best to choose your kitten from the whole litter, choose the frisky playful, friendly kitten that is confident and happy to approach you rather than the one that hangs back and is shy. The best time to take your kitten home is between 7 and 8 weeks old. Some pedigree breeders like to keep the kittens until 12 weeks old so they can have their initial vaccinations. Some things you have to look for when choosing a new kitten or cat are:

  • The ears should be clean and no unpleasant smells.
  • White blue eyed cats are prone to deafness (all cats eyes are blue at this age) Test this by making sounds outside its field of vision.
  • Eyes should be clear and bright with no sings of weeping.
  • Gums should be pink (not red) and teeth should be white.
  • The coat should be clean and unmated with no fleas or flaky skin.
  • Check under the tail - this area should be spotless in a healthy cat.
  • Setting in your new Kitten or cat

    It is probably best to have a proper pet carrier to take your new pet home in - to avoid extra stress. At let your new kitten or cat come out of the carrier at its own time. It will need time to settle down, so make sure it has fresh drinking water and a little food also make sure it can find its way to its bed and litter tray - then leave it alone for a little while. Make sure that children behave gently and quietly around the kitten, kittens need peace and quiet to sleep as well as needing laytime. It is best to keep your kitten confined indoors for a week or so and accompany your kitten on its first trip outside - continue to go out side with your kitten for the next few trips. This will give the kitten a sense of security and encourage it to come when you call. Your new kitten should integrate quite well with other pets, make sure that you can introduce them slowly. Some pets will integrate at all - make sure you keep small mammals and birds away from your kitten as their natural instincts will take over. Once your kitten has overcome its initial fears it will amuse it self for hours with very cheap simple toys like ping pong balls, cardboard rolls and small stuffed animals.

    What Equipment your cat or kitten need

    A bed: a cardboard box with a blanket or cushion in it - makes an ideal bed for a kitten as the kitten grows you may like to find a more permanent replacement, such as wooden box or a covered bed. You may like to keep in mind that it should ideally be washable when choosing a bed. Place the bed in a quiet, draught free, warm spot.Grooming tools: - A brush - preferably with natural bristles is very useful for grooming any cat - for long haired cats you will also need a wire toothed metal comb and a pair of rounded scissors to cut out any tangles. A pair of feline claw clippers will complete your pussy cats grooming set.
    A collar or harness: Your cat should wear a collar complete with an identification disk. The collar must be elasticized in case it gets caught - for example on a branch whilst climbing a tree. Some owners train their cats to go for walks on a harness or lead.
    Toys: There are a huge range of toys available for cats making play of exercising fun and providing stimulation. Many stuffed toys contain catnip - this herb also called catmint appeals to many cats, creating an apparent sense of wellbeing - this lasts for approximately 15 minutes.

    A scratching post

    - Cats love to scratch. Scratching serves a couple of purposes - firstly it keeps the claws neat and trim - it also marks the cats' territory as other cats will see the marks and smell the scent. The cat has glands between the toes that release this scent as the cat scratches.
    A scratching post is the best solution - but the cat will need to be taught to use it from the very beginning. This will save your furniture, avoid using a carpet covered scratching post as the pet cat may see the house carpet as an extension of the scratching post. If the cat ha selected a piece of furniture where it like to scratch - by covering it with plastic for a while the cat will stop scratching there. Cats do not like the feel of plastic.

    A litter tray

    - A litter tray will be needed when your kitten first comes home and if you intend to leave the cat in at night. Choose a tray that is deep enough and roomy enough for your cat to turn around in easily. There are numerous varieties of kitty litter available - choose one that suits you. Also a covered litter tray is a great idea as it keeps the smell and the mess inside also creating a more private spot for your cat.

    A Cat flap

    - Cat flaps are a great idea to allow the cat to go in and out as it pleases. You must be careful however as other cats may also come in. check what flaps are available and choose the one that suits your needs. A cat is quite easily trained to use a cat flap - prop the flap open at first and call the cat through form one side than the other. When it has mastered this, lower the flap a little and use the same procedure - continue to do this until you can close the flap altogether.

    Feeding your kitten

    Ask the breeder or pet shop for a diet sheet so that you can continue feeding them the same diet and quantities. This will avoid you giving it too much food or an over rich diet which can cause tummy upsets. You should also find out meal times.

    Food and feeding your cat

    There are three types of cat food available commercially -moist food, semi - moist food and dry food. Cats need meat or fish everyday to be healthy.
  • Moist food as in the canned varieties is preferred by most cats because it closely resembles fresh meat. It also has thevitamins and minerals that the cat needs. How ever canned foods will not last long once served and it is best to take the food away after an hour to encourage your cat to eat its food in a single sitting rather that picking at it all day long.
  • Semi - moist food usually comes in a sachet. It keeps well in a bowl without drying out or loosing its texture and tastes good to cats.
  • Dry food contains very little moisture so it is very important to have fresh drinking water available.
  • Establish a feeding routine where you feed your cat once or twice a day - at the same place and the same time. Leave the food out for an hour then take it away. This will help to make your cat a healthy eater and not pick at the food all day.


  • The most common worms that affect cats are round worms and tape worms. Cats must be de-wormed regularly. Your vet will give you specific advice on worming products.
  • Following these simple steps will ensure you, your family and the newest edition to the family will have a happy, healthy and rewarding time together.

    (c) Katharine Logan 2005

    Katharine Logan is author and content manager for Pet-library.comShe conducts research on specified subjects to help people with day to day issues. For more click on:

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