The Right Kitten For You
if you've done your research and decided on a cat of an appropriate age for your household. Be sure to check out your shelter for a great selection (purebreds, too, if that's your thing) and have your new pet spayed or neutered, por favor.Bringing any animal into a new home can be tricky. But choosing the right cat and making the appropriate preparations can make the transition to your house simple. Try to pick a cat or kitten that will adapt well to your environment, taking into account whether you're a single person, have a family with children, a multi-cat household, or a house with both cats and other animals.
Also try to choose kittens with a basic temperament that suits your lifestyle. Never choose a sickly cat or a cat with visible health problems unless you are qualified and prepared to nurse the cat back to health. If possible, learn the history of the cat; a reputable breeder will tell you if there are any illnesses or inherited disorders common to that breed. Animal shelters will not be able to provide pre- and post-natal care information, but they will at least provide a record of vaccinations.
As independent and free-spirited as they are, kittens should not be separated from their mothers until they are 10-12 weeks old. By this time, they will be weaned and will have been taught some useful skills by their mother (not the least of which is how to use the litter box). As for the meds, make sure they have had at least two of their vaccinations before you take them home. Make an appointment with your veterinarian immediately for a check-up at which time they can be altered. And unless you plan on being a breeder or a crazy cat lady, we highly recommend you do so. If you keep your altered cat indoors you can expect to have your companion for 15-20 wonderful years.
| What are you looking for in your new kitty?|
NEVER rush out to get a kitty! First you should do your homework! Answer these:
1. What kind of cat to get?
2. Purebred or Mixed?
3. Male or Female?
4. Longhaired, Shorthaired, or No Hair?
5. Kitten or Adult or even a teenager?
6. Is a specific color important to you?
So be sure what your life style is and what will fit into your needs.
7. What is it that you expect out of your cat?
Think about it and then you can start the search for you new family member. There should be no rush to it.
Before you bring your new cat home, "cat proof" your house by moving breakable or dangerous objects to an inaccessible area. You might find you've moved everything you own into one room. But once you get to know your kitten you'll have a better grip on what percentage of your cat's personality is lap lion and how much is lamb and can redistribute your valuables accordingly.
As for new items, you'll need the following to welcome your new kitty:
- A hard-sided carrier (they're easier to lug around and last forever)
- A bed, preferably something cozy where the kitten will feel protected.
- A litter pan, with litter, and litter liners or a litter scoop.
- Food and water bowls.
- Food. Kittens need special kitten food until they are 8-months old.
- Comb, brush, and shampoo. It's true that cats groom themselves but a little outside help is always appreciated.
- Toys: Nothing unexpected here. Look for furry balls, shiny things and any object that might resemble a mouse at first glance. Just be careful not to get toys with pieces (like bells) that could loosen and choke the kitten.
- A book on training and caring for a kitten or cat.
If you already have your heart set on a specific breed or type of cat, that is what you want. Get it. If you have not decided, here are some considerations:
What to look for
Look for a mixed-breed kitten. Purebred cats are generally less healthy and vigorous and more apt to have behavior problems. With any generalization like this, remember, differences between individuals are much greater than differences between groups.
Long haired cats will need to be groomed. Many people find a long fluffy coat very attractive and don't mind grooming. If you are not one of these people, you should probably look for a kitten with short hair.
Unusual-looking cats will have unusual problems. For instance, Persian cats, with big eyes and tucked-in noses are more likely to have problems with their eyes and their noses.
Where to look
Cats catch diseases from each other. Some of these diseases are incurable and difficult to detect. Your best chance of getting a healthy kitten is to get one from a family that has the mother and kittens plus few if any other cats or from a shelter that has already tested for many cat deseases.
Also, we'd like to caution against getting a kitten unless you are home during the day. Adult cats are a better choice--not only are they litter-trained, most have graduated from the rowdy stages of adolescence.
if you've done your research and decided on a cat of an appropriate age for your household. Be sure to check out your shelter for a great selection (purebreds, too, if that's your thing) and have your new pet spayed or neutered, please.