You and Your Kitten
Cats are naturally clean animals and toilet training for kittens is usually a relatively simple procedure. Cats tend to be rather secretive about their toilet habits, and should be allowed to relieve themselves in private. A litter tray with easy access should be provided indoors. This should not be placed near the cat's feeding bowls since they do not like to soil their feeding area. Alternatively, cats should have ready access to the outside, preferably by means of a cat flap.
Never punish your kitten if there is an accident. Instead, it is better to avoid mishaps by giving the kitten ample opportunity to go to the toilet in a tray or outdoors. Positioning your kitten in a suitable place when it shows signs of wanting to go to the toilet and offering praise when it does the right thing will achieve faster training results.
Cats are good for your health!
If you already have a cat in your family it may be no surprise that having a cat is good for your health and well-being. You know how good it is to come home and be greeted by your excited cat. That second you walk in the door helps you to forget what has happened during the day. Research shows that pets can help us live longer, fuller lives. Below are some examples how cats make us feel better:
Cats help reduce stress. It's been shown that by patting a cat can make your blood pressure drop and make you feel more relaxed. Studies have shown that patients with high blood pressure can benefit from having a pet around.
A cat can help alleviate loneliness and depression. A pet provides unconditional love and affection and this has shown to help elderly people live longer and fuller lives. Cats - or all pets, for that matter - can help people deal with many changes and losses in life.
Cats can be teachers. You may think you teach your cat everything, but they can also teach you a thing or two. Cats can teach couple nurturing and discipline skills that can be used later on for parenting, while children learn to take responsibility for the health and well-being of cats and learn how to interact with them as well. Cats also teach the cycle of life-birth, death, loss and grief.
Handling your kitten
Being handled is an important part of developing a kitten's ability to socialise with people. In fact frequent, gentle handling can go a long way towards making your kitten feel comfortable in your home and developing a special bond between you.
However, young kittens are fragile and need careful handling, particularly when children are involved.
The safest way to pick up your kitten is to place one hand around its stomach with the other hand under its hind legs. If your kitten is very young, you may need to support its head and neck to prevent injury.
In time, your kitten will learn to love being picked up for some quality time.
Kittens love to play games. It's important to play games with them that encourage being gentle- avoid biting and any games that could be seen as being aggressive.
The simple cardboard box can provide hours of fun for kittens. They can hide things in there and even hide themselves in there. If you have more than one cat they can play hide-and-seek. A sturdy box is essential and it will provide them with hours of entertainment.
Simple to make, yet it will keep them entertained for hours. All you need to do is put something fuzzy on the end of a stick and then dangle it in front of your kitten. Your kitten will have fun indulging in the mystery of the chase.
Usually a game associated with dogs, fetch will also work with your kitten. Simply toss up one of their toys until you get their attention. Once you have captured their attention throw it near the kitten. Then distract them so they will take their gaze off the toy. Take the toy and repeat the process.
By doing this for twice a day and about 10 minutes a time your cat should begin to get the idea and start bringing it back to you.
Some kittens will play running games by themselves and they may even try to get you involved in the game as well. If you see them running around start playing with them and hide behind things as well. If they begin to hide and peak out at you, the game is on.
Travelling with your cat
Many families like to take their pets with them on outings or holidays. It is important that your new kitten enjoys travel and learns there are certain restrictions required for the safety of people and pets.
All animals must be restrained when travelling in cars. Cats should be placed in a sturdy travel cage, with plenty of newspaper in the bottom. The travel cage should also be securely restrained within the vehicle. Your cat may feel more comfortable if the travel cage is covered with a light cloth.
Cardboard boxes may be sufficient for small kittens, but should be avoided for adult cats and extended periods of travel. Never leave a cat in a closed, stationary car - even in cool weather the interior of a car can be extremely hot!
Once at your destination, it is preferable to keep your cat indoors, otherwise it may get involved in territorial fights with other cats, or try to wander home.
Unfortunately, some cats do get lost. However, your vet can implant a small microchip under the skin of your kitten as a means of permanent identification.
Microchips work in a similar way to a barcode, and allow your cat to be traced back to you through a central registry. In some regions, microchips are compulsory for all newly registered cats.
If you move it is important to update your details with the central registry to make sure your kitten is returned to your new home. Check with your vet to arrange this.
A collar with an identifying name, phone number and registration details will also help trace your kitten back to you. If your cat is lost, contact your local pound, council, RSPCA and vet clinics, as lost or injured cats are often brought to these centres.
Visiting the vet
Developing a good relationship with your vet is a great way to set your kitten on the right path towards a long and happy life.
During your first visit, your vet will give your kitten a thorough check up to ensure it is in good health and developing as well as it should. Your vet can also help you develop an effective vaccination and worming routine for your kitten to help it grow into a happy, healthy, adult cat.
Your vet will also be able to give you some good advice on how to check your kitten's eyes, ears and teeth at home. They will be able to show you how to conduct regular health checks that will help you locate any lumps or bumps and if anything concerns you they are always there to provide helpful advice.
You can be resourceful with your materials and source new ones if that's what you want to do. You would be surprised to know that a large majority will already be in your house. Here's a simple list of materials to get you started:
- Old washing basket
Whatever you use make sure it is safe and not likely to choke your kitten.