Preparing For Your Kitten
Before you bring your new kitten into your home, you should have all the essentials ready. This will make the kitten transition much smoother and will be less stressful.
To make sure your house is a safe environment for your kitten, consider checking all windows and doors are closed, and also be cautious of balconies.
Many household cleaners and pesticides can be poisonous to cats. Consider keeping them somewhere they won’t be able to get to.
Kittens love to play with strings and ropes. This can be dangerous if they start chewing on electrical leads or if they play with blind strings as they may get tangled.
Be sure to check that if you have any plants in your household they are not toxic to cats. We have a list of toxic plants on page 9.
- Dry Food (Advanced Kitten) This is the dry food your kitten has grown up on, do not change their diet straight away
- Wet Food (Advanced or Fresh Meat)
- Food and Water Bowls
- Litter Tray
- Litter Scoop
- Litter (OzPet or Breeders Choice)
- Carry Cage (Bring with you when picking up your cat)
- Scratching post
- Bringing the kitten home
- Introducing other pets and children
- Litter Training
- Going outside
- Cat collars
- Hazards in the home
- Worming & Fleas
First 48 Hours
When first bringing your kitten home, we recommend keeping him/her in one room i.e Laundry, Bathroom or crate (this should be the room where you want your kitten to use the litter tray). Keeping your kitten in this small room will help him/her to feel safe. This is where the kitten should sleep at night.
This room should be set up with:
Introducing to the rest of the house
You should play with your kitten in this room. You can bring the kitten out to play in the lounge room, however we recommend waiting until they have used the litter tray. Once you have finished playing ,take the kitten back to their room. Once you and your kitten seem more confident, you can leave the door open, so the kitten can venture on his/her own (make sure the kitten leaves the room on its own so he/she remembers how to get back if needing to use the litter tray). Start with all bedroom doors closed and slowly open them one at a time over the first week. You don’t want your kitten getting lost and going to the toilet on the floor or on a bed.
Introducing to Children
When introducing your kitten to a child, make sure they are supervised. Ensure that the children down not to pull on the kittens tail, ears or legs. Also remind kids not to shout or raise their voice or run around the kitten. In these situation it may cause the kitten to scratch, hide or forever fear children.
We recommend encouraging the kids to sit on the floor with a feathered stick and waiting for the kitten to come to them as this will be the safest and most calming way to introduce the new kitten. Also educate the correct way for kids to handle the kitten. Show them to gently place one hand under the kittens chest, just behind their front legs and place the other hand under their hindquarters, then gently lift with both hands.
Introducing to Other Pets
Introducing a kitten to a dog or cat needs to be undertaken carefully to avoid conflict. A bad experience can be difficult to overcome. If you have a large mesh pen in which the kitten can sit safely while the resident cat or dog can gradually get used to each other, this is an ideal way to make introductions. Dogs should also be kept as calm as possible on the lead and made to sit quietly. For quieter dogs or those used to cats, introductions can be made using a strong cat carrier. Keep the dog on a lead initially, place the carrier on a high surface and allow controlled introductions which are short and frequent. Most dogs will soon calm down when they realise the newcomer is not actually very interesting. Progress to meetings with the dog on a lead initially, for safety. Do not leave the kitten alone with resident dogs or cats until it is well established..
Foods To Buy:
Advanced Kitten Dry Food (buy from Pet Circle Online)
Advanced wet food
Fresh human grade meat
Cooked Chicken (especially good if they have an upset stomach)
Lactose Free Milk (Freeze into ice cubes so you don’t waste)
Greek Yoghurt (also good for an up set stomach and gives calcium)
Having proper nutrition will help your kitten mature into a strong and healthy adult cat. All our kittens are raised up on Advanced Kitten Dry Food, which we recommend feeding.
How Much to Feed
We recommend having their dry food out 24/7 along with their water, and they can eat when they feel hungry. They should get wet food or meat twice a day (morning and night). When first starting off give them a small amount of wet food. If they eat it all, give them a bit more so you can get used to their meal size.
A teaspoon of greek yoghurt or a defrosted ice cube of lactose free milk can be given every second day as an extra boost of calcium for your fast growing kitten.
You will need to continue feeding your kitten the Advanced Kitten Dry Food when you first bring your kitten home as a change in their diet may upset their stomach and you don’t want to cause any extra stress for the kitten.
If or when you decide to change your kittens/cats diet you will need to do so gradually by adding a small amount of the new food, wether it is wet or dry food, to their old food.
You will also need to gradually change the food even if you are going from the Advanced Kitten to the Advanced Adult or Maine Coon, as they have different protein level and vitamins.
We use OzPet litter and tray system in our cattery, however breeders choice is also suitable as they are both a pellet form litter. Do not use crystal for kittens as they may eat them, which can be very dangerous.
Our kittens learn from their mothers to use the litter tray at 3-4 weeks old. This means your kitten will come 100% litter trained, however this does not guarantee that your kitten will not have an accident somewhere in your house. This may be caused by stress, getting lost or a smell they did not like.
If accidents occur use a paper towel to absorb the urine and spray a pet odour neutralising spray. Do not use an ammonia based solution to eliminate the smell as it may encourage them to re mark the area.
Accidents my also occur if:
It is not clean enough - empty it more often
It is not big enough - it should be big enough for an adult cat to turn around in and to use more than once without getting dirty
You have cleaned it out with a chemical that is too strong smelling
It is too close the bed or food bowls
The kitten does not like the texture of the litter you have chosen - revert to the type it has used before.
If you decide to change your kittens litter this should also be done gradually if the litter is changing form I.e. Pellets to sand. To ensure that they get used to the new texture of the litter, you should gradually change the litter like you would for their foods.
Your kitten does not need to go outdoors however, if you choose to let your kitten outside it should not be allowed outside until at least a week after it has finished its first course of vaccinations at 13 weeks old. Once it is fully vaccinated and has become used to life in your house, you can start to let your kitten go outside. Choose a dry day (if possible) and a quiet time and accompany your kitten outside, allowing it to explore the new environment. Continue to accompany the kitten until it is used to your garden and can find its way back to the house without difficulty. It is best not to leave your kitten outside alone until it is 6 months old.
Cats like to come and go as they please. A cat flap allows them to do this. If you fit a cat flap you won't need a litter tray indoors when the kitten grows up. You can teach your kitten to use a cat flap by propping it open initially and enticing it through with food. Gradually close it down so the kitten learns to push the flap.
If you already own a cat be aware that the kitten may watch and learn and let itself outside before you are ready - kittens learn quickly by watching other cats. To prevent neighbourhood cats from coming into your house, you can buy a cat flap which will only open for your cat. The flap is operated by magnetic or electronic keys on your cat's collar.
If you don’t want to let your kitten/cat outside unattended you may want to consider a harness. When using a harness you will need to let your kitten get use to it by wearing it around the house, first with out the leash. Then gradually progressing to the leash and outdoors. This is a slow process but has been very successful.
If your kitten is not going outside it does not need to wear a collar, the collar will just rub and cause the kitten to loose the hair under where the collar sits.
When your kitten becomes older (over 6 months old) you may like to fit a collar on so that he has some form of identification or to carry a magnet or 'key' to an electronic cat flap - never put on a collar just for the sake of wearing one. Collars must be fitted carefully - kittens are very active and inquisitive while growing up and can easily get the collar hooked on a tree branch or fence or the kitten can get its front leg caught up in the collar and injuries can occur. 'Snap open' collars will reduce the likelihood of the cat becoming entangled should a problem occur. For a young, rapidly growing cat you will need to remember to check the collar's fit (you should be able to get one or two fingers under the collar) and increase its size accordingly. Flea collars are not the best way to deal with flea problems and can be an added danger to curious kittens intent on climbing or squeezing into small spaces where they may get caught up. We recommend that you have your cat microchipped for identification purposes, not just in case it gets lost, but also in case it gets killed on the road. Losing a cat on the road is one thing, not knowing what has happened is even worse.
Some plants can be very toxic to cats and you should consider which plants you should have in your home and what you should leave outside.
We have a list of some plants however, if you feel unsure about one of your plants you should either take it out of the house or research more about the plant to see if it is toxic to cats.
Chemicals should be stored safely and take care if using slug bait or chemicals on the garden itself - some types can be very toxic to animals.
Playing and Exercise
Kittens are very playful. Give them an assortment of toys to keep them occupied and exercised - these need not be expensive.
Every kitten loves a cardboard box to play in. Play is also a good way for you to get to know and trust each other. Provide your kitten with a scratching post so they have something to scratch otherwise they my start scratching the furniture.
If you notice your kitten is sluggish or panting stop playing with him/her, they would be tired and just like a young child they need a lot of sleep.
During the day have a variety of toys available for the kitten to play with on their own whilst you’re out, however, your kitten will more than likely just be sleeping most of the time you are not home.
It is a good idea to accustom your kitten to being groomed from an early age, particularly if it has a long coat. A long-haired cat needs daily attention to keep fur free of tangles. Grooming removes excess loose hairs which can cause fur balls to build up in the stomach.
Combing and brushing will help remove these hairs and it is usually appreciated by the cat, provided it has been accustomed to grooming early in life. Grooming also gives you a chance to keep a close eye on your cat, asses its health and help to develop the bond between you.
Always be gentle and make grooming a rewarding and pleasant experience. You should start brushing your kitten at least twice a week even if they do not need it, as this will allow your kitten to get used to the brush and enjoy being groomed, rather than only getting brushed when their fur has tangled up.
You may need to try different types of brushes and combs to find the right ones that suits both you and your kitten/cat, as this will make the grooming much easier.
Your kitten/cat should not need to be bathed. The only time that bathing is necessary is they have had an accident in the litter tray.
During summer you may also want to consider getting your long haired cats stomach shaven so they can absorb the coolness of the floor (recommend if you don’t have air-conditioning).
To provide protection against potentially fatal infections such a feline infectious enteritis and feline influenza, kittens need to be vaccinated. The first injection in the course is given at 6-8 weeks old and a second at 10-12 weeks. The kitten should be kept away from other cats and stay indoors for 7 days after the second injection to ensure maximum protection. To keep up the level of protection provided by vaccination, adult cats require regular yearly boosters, especially needed for cats that go out doors or to boarding facilities.
Fleas and Worming
Worms can make kittens weak. Kittens should be treated against roundworms at 4-6 weeks and then regularly every 4 weeks until they are 6 months old. After this worming they should be treated for roundworms and tapeworms every 2 - 6 months depending on how much they hunt and if they have fleas. Even clean cats pick up fleas so check for these while grooming. Flea dirt can usually be seen as small brown specks particularly around the neck and base of the tail. When placed on damp cotton wool 'flea dirt' slowly dissolves producing bloody streaks. For effective control, adult fleas on the kitten must be killed and re-infestation from the environment prevented. Traditional flea preparations - sprays, shampoos and collars - can contain substances that are potentially toxic to kittens and may not be very effective. We recommend Advocate or Revolution. Other animals in the house will also have to be treated. The cat's bedding should be washed or replaced.
Male kittens are castrated to reduce the likelihood that he will spray indoors to mark his territory. He will also spend less time roaming in search of mates and thus has less of a chance of being run over by a car or getting into fights. Cats which are bitten and scratched in fights are more likely to be at risk of infectious diseases.
A female cat needs to be spayed to prevent unwanted kittens. Spaying has no harmful effects and removes the stress on both you and your cat brought on by calling, pregnancy, birth and the care and rehoming of kittens.
Your kitten will be desexed and vet checked before you have taken him/her home.