Sunday, March 26, 2017

Parenting Tiny Puff Balls with Razors (aka Kittens)

Spring is the season when all the animal shelters are overrun with cats and kittens. Unsuspecting people gravitate towards kittens because they are adorable, but keep in mind they need more attention than adult cats do. Here's some tips on what to expect when you become the proud parent of a tiny puff ball with razor claws.
You don't want to remove a kitten from it's mom or litter mates too soon. At about six weeks you can separate them from their litter mates for a few minutes at a time by moving them to a different room and encourage them to explore and play. This helps them become more independent. Make sure the kitten is at least 8-12 weeks old and weaned from their mom before it's given to somebody or put in a new environment. Their mom will teach them how to use the litter box and basically be a cat. That's when they can start with cat food paste and water, eventually, when they have a full set of teeth, they can work up to solid cat food.

A new kitten.

Keep in mind kittens are VERY curious and will crawl into spaces of your house you never knew were there. They are still very small and delicate. Be sure to keep an eye on them so they don't get stuck or trapped. Start with letting them explore one room for a few days, then two rooms etc. It could take a couple of months before they are ready to be let loose in the whole house.

 Tiny kitten, big house.

Luckily kittens can be trained, and can learn which spaces they are allowed in, older cats may be set in their ways ~ which is good and bad. For example, our Vicktor hops on the kitchen counter. He always did and probably always will. Ginger has never EVER been on the counter.

Kittens have the sharpest claws ever and love to scratch and climb. You might think your kitten is destructive, but they are just learning how to use their little needle claws. Get some cardboard scratching pads sprinkled with catnip and place them next to whatever they are scratching as an alternative. If they are ripping into your furniture, there's several ways to discourage them. You can try sticking double sided tape to the spots they scratch, they don't like the tacky sensation, but don't let them get wrapped up in it! You can put foil on it too. You can try the "no-scratch" spray they sell at pet stores. Once kittens are cats you can keep their claws trimmed, so they are less likely to scratch up you and your house.

I'm cute and deadly!

Kittens nibble. Be aware of anything that looks like a mouse tail including cords, string, tinsel, thread...the kittens will either chew it up or eat it. I had a friend who had emergency surgery on her cat because it ate thread and the thread wrapped around it's tongue! Try to wrap cords together or hide them, and clean up after yourself. It will prevent cats from eating things that are left out. They force you to keep a tidy house!

 If possible, get a matching set. They can entertain each other and you!
 
If you've never had a cat before you might not know if you're allergic. Having a kitten you can't always tell, but once the cat is fully grown you might be allergic. They say having a long haired, lighter color female cat is better for allergies because the long hair keeps their sticky saliva from spreading into the air and that female cats and light colored cats make less of the protein that causes allergies. Another option is getting a hairless or hypoallergenic cat. Plus you can limit the spaces the cat roams in and try and keep a couple rooms pet free, so that you can escape the allergy zone. You can get a good air filter for your living space, and try to have fewer rugs and plush upholstry that will collect the cats protein and fur too. Finally, you can take allergy meds too. It depends how committed you are. I've read that really only between 2-10% of the population are actually allergic. So really there's lots of options and it's probably unlikely you'll be sniffling and sneezing.

My friend Jodee and one of her new kittens.

Final thoughts on kittens... whether kittens or cats are better for your lifestyle, it's great that you are considering adoption. They just want love.



4 comments:

  1. Great advice. I've been a cat mom for over 20 years but I'm always learning new things! <3

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    1. My friend just adopted the two twin kitties pictured. I'm learning new things too!

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  2. Amid this time essentially giving nourishment and a clean litter tray certainly won't be sufficient. adoptable pets

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