1 It is difficult to find more affectionate and cute creature than a domestic kitten. With this pet you can play and hold it in your arms and stroke. The flow of positive emotions is very great. And, of course, it is no wonder that kitten is the same child — helpless, affectionate, naive and trustful. Only a «cold» and a heartless person can calmly and without a smile observe his naive amusing pranks and mischiefs. The presence of the kitten brings liveliness and joy to every family who has decided to have this pet. This animal gives a lot of positive and puts in a good mood, but only for those who come down to this point with a proper share of responsibility and understanding. Getting a kitten, a person assumes the obligation: he ought to have a good sense of the fact that he brought home not a fluffy toy, not fun, not a temporary entertainment for himself and his children, but a creature that has a character and needs daily care, tendance and most of all communication.
Everyone who has in mind the idea of having a kitten should think it over. Unfortunately, not everyone sensibly imagines this process and many people overestimate their capabilities, being guided only by emotional components. But, let’s say that you are a responsible person, and, having weighed all the pros and cons, you have decided to get a kitten. What should you know at first, where to start, what questions to have answers for?!
Care for a kitten begins with the preparation of a place for a small family member. Yes, it is the family member — this axiom should be accepted immediately. While the kitten is small, by virtue of its curiosity, it may climb into any chink or narrow place and get stuck there, causing itself harm. To prevent this, such dangerous places should be temporarily closed or restricted to them. It is important to take care of the room and eliminate drafts.
It is desirable to place a toilet in the same room, so the kitten will soon get used to it and will not do its natural needs in the wrong places. You may choose tray-toilet either with or without a grating. If the toilet is chosen without a grating, then this involves the use of a filler for neutralizing the smell of urine and its adsorption. Fillers for cat trays can be different both in quality and in price. The best choice is a natural wood granular filler «Supercat», «AnimAll Expert Choice» or «HAMSTER» type.
It is the sort of «happy medium» in the choice of fillers for cat trays. However, for animals apt to allergies, the wood base can sometimes cause coughing and sneezing (especially this refers to kittens of the Sphynx breed). In such situation, it is better to use fillers on the gel base «Kotix», «CRYSTALS N1», «Fresh Step Crystals» or «Trixie Fresh & Easy Pearls». They are very convenient, they are based on polysilicic acids, which absorb urine remarkably, neutralize the smell and do not cause allergic reactions. However, they are quite expensive. Another type of filler for cat trays is mineral filler («Leopard No. 3», «Kind Cat») — they are more expensive than wood but cheaper than gel ones, their granules contain natural clay and chalk.
Allergic reactions to them are quite rare, but cases of eating small pieces by young animals are possible. If this occurs there are quite serious problems in the work of the digestive tract. It requires urgent therapy, which is a certain minus of this product.
Returning to the conversation about choosing a tray for a kitten, we should mention trays with a grating. They are very simple and require no fillers. It would seem that this is a minus. However no, this is a definite plus. The thing is that if there are no probllems and a kitten gets used to go into a tray without filler, it will give its owner the opportunity to be aware of the condition and volume of its urine, and this is a very important aspect of the health of cats and especially males.
From such a toilet urine can always be used without problems for laboratory diagnosis in case of urolithiasis and other pathologies of the genitourinary system. The only disadvantage of a toilet with a grating is regular cleaning several times a day. In this case, you can use two toilets, as some cats do not have a particular desire to go for the second time to the toilet, which is not cleaned.
If the kitten does not want to use its tray and regularly pisses in the wrong place, you can try to solve such a problem by wetting a piece of paper in the urine and putting it in the right place. If it is possible, we recommend not to let the kitten out of the room, until he gets used to the toilet.
Kitten spends first days on adaptation, it is getting used to the new environment. Particularly during this period it can refuse food and try to hide. This is quite normal. Complete adaptation can take up to ten days, and then it begins to behave in the usual way and tries to play actively. It takes an interest in food, a young animal brushes up its hair, from time to time washing and purring.
Of course the most important aspect in maintenance and care of a kitten is its correct and rational nutrition. Full development, growth and health of the animal are directly related to it. The issue of nutrition is the most frequently asked question; It is most often misinterpreted. What to choose: natural products or specialized industrial pet food for kittens? Both options are quite acceptable; you just need to follow certain rules.
If you decide to choose a natural diet for a kitten, you should immediately be prepared for the fact that this process will take much longer than feeding with ready-to-eat food. And this is natural, because the process of cooking completely falls on the shoulders of the owner of the animal. Nevertheless, balanced natural diet of the kitten, correctly and individually selected, is more useful and healthy than ready-to-eat fodder containing a certain amount of conservatives and stabilizers.
It is desirable to take the kitten from the mother in 1,5-2 months, but if circumstances force you to do it earlier, then you need to prepare supplementary feeding with special milk mixes such as «Beaphar Kitty-Milk» or «Royal Canin Babycat Milk». For this you can use special syringe dispensers with teats or conventional medical syringes. Dosage of artificial milk is individual for each animal and first of all depends on its age. A brief instruction is given on the milk package. On reaching 30 days of age, the kitten can be gradually transferred to sour-milk products and a small amount of cottage cheese, which fat percentage should not exceed 5%.
Particular attention should be paid to the fact that it is not recommended to use cow’s milk and prepare various porridges on it. Closer to the age of two months, you should add boiled meat into the kitten’s food. First of all meat and sub-products should not be fat, they should not be fed in the form of minced meat, but only in small-sliced, sometimes even scraped, but not milled. For the first time, it is better to choose chicken or turkey; among sub-products: liver, heart and kidneys are also suitable. Liver should be included into the diet of the kitten, but in small amounts and no more than twice a week.
A little later you can give it a low-fat beef. Pork in any form is contraindicated for felids. Meat can be offered to young animals together with porridges: rice, buckwheat or oats, but their percentage in food should be small, as well as vegetables (all except potatoes, beets and cabbage), which are necessary only as a source of fiber, helping in digestion and food movement.
Vegetables can be used both cooked and raw. In addition from time to time you can feed not only bananas and citrus fruits but a variety of fruits. Eggs are an indispensable product containing a large amount of biotin. They can be used 2-3 times a week in a mixture with the rest of the food or separately from it to maintain the hair in good condition. But, we will repeat that meat in a food ration of a kitten should be the basic component. The need for it for an animal aged from 2 to 6 months is about 8% of its body weight per day, at the age of 6 to 12 months — 6% per day, and after a year — about 4%. Do not forget that with the natural feeding of cats it is necessary to add mineral-vitamin complexes in the form of tablets, powders, pastes or liquids. The most acceptable options are «Canina CANIVITA» in liquid or «Beaphar SALVIKAL» in powder.
If we consider the possibility of feeding kittens with ready-made food, then it is better to choose fully balanced premium and super premium pet food (Royal Canin, Hill’s, ProPlan, Eukanuba). At the age of 1-4 months of the kitten, it is better to feed it with «Mother & Babycat Royal Canin» or «Hill’s Science Plan Healthy Development» for kittens.
These feeds are available both in canned and dry form. From 4 months to 1 year you can use as a nutrition «Royal Canin Kitten», «Hill’s Science Plan Feline Young Adult Sterilised Cat» or «Hill’s Science Plan Kitten Healthy Development».
Industrial feeds for kittens contain the whole complex of vitamins and minerals necessary for the full growth and development of the animal, so there is no need to add vitamins into such a food ration. Dry food should be kept in the food container for a whole day — so the kitten will have free access to it and will be able to eat when it gets hungry. Remember that the temperature of the wet food for the kitten should be at room temperature.
It is very convenient to use ready-made food for the kitten, first of all because of significant time saving. The second positive factor is that not every owner of the kitten, even if he has enough time, will be able to cook all inclusive, balanced food for his pet, for this case the producer offers a ready-made product. The only disadvantage of this type of feeding is a fairly high price and possible fakes.
Frequency of the feeding of the kitten does not depend on the type of chosen food. At the age of 3 months of the kitten it is desirable to feed at least 6 times a day in small portions, from 3 to 6 months — 4-5 times a day, from 6 to 8 months 3-4 times, after 8 months — twice a day. As for the need for water, it must be freely available and only fresh.
A small kitten is a constant source of energy and activity, furniture and clothes can suffer from its sharp claws, so it is wise to equip it with a place for scratching claws in advance. To do this, you may use a special scratching post for cats. It can be bought in a pet shop. For those who decide to save money, the best option is to make a scratching post with their own hands — it is pretty simple. If the kitten at first does not show proper interest to it, the use of catmint will be able to solve this problem. Just rub it in a scratching post and you will attract the attention of the animal for a long time.
Do not forget about hygiene issues. Eyes and ears of the kitten require regular care. Eyes of the kitten can be wiped with special eye lotions («Trixie augenpflege» or «Canina AUGEN LEGELOTION»), camomile brew or liquid dioxidin. Ears are treated as they are contaminated with ear cleaning cosmetics, for example, «8 IN 1 EAR CLEAR», «HARTZ EAR CLEANER» or «Otifree». For regular cleaning, you can also use liquid Chlorhexidine, dioxidine or Miramistine, which are sold in any pharmacy. Remember that dirty ears can provoke various diseases, in particular, otitis.
Particular attention in the maintenance of the kitten should be paid to a well-timed deworming and vaccination. This is a very important and responsible part of the life of a pet. Today there is no need to convince anyone of the rationality of deworming and vaccination — their necessity should be accepted as an axiom.
Medicine from helminths should be used for the first time at the age of 2 months, it is recommended to repeat in 14 days, then, up to a year inclusive, it is preferably to repeat deworming once in 3 months with an interval of 14 days. After a year and throughout life it should be done twice a year with an interval of 14 days. For this purpose, such means as «Prasicid-suspension», «Kaniverm», «Pratel», «Dronal» or «Fenbendazol» will be suitable.
The kitten vaccination is possible 10-14 days after deworming (approximately at the age of 2.5-3 months). The most accessible variants of vaccines are: «Nobivac Tricat», «Felovax», «Quadricat» and «Multifel». It is advisable to make the injection not hypodermically, but intramuscularly, because small abscesses can sometimes occur with hypodermical injection. Revaccination for the development of qualitative and sustainable immunity is carried out in 14 days after the first vaccination, then it is repeated at 6 and 12 months, then annually. At the age of 9-12 months you can vaccinate rabies («Nobivac rabies»).
Another important aspect of kitten care is treatment from fleas and ticks. It is usually carried out not earlier than 4-6 months of the kitten with «FrontLine», «Advantage», «Fiprex», «Fypryst», «Fipronil» or «Advocate».
If you observe all these simple rules and pieces of advice on the correct maintenance and care of the kitten, you will not only grow a healthy, active and cheerful animal, you will get a grateful, faithful and affectionate friend, and this is the most important thing.