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Kitten "To Do's" and "Not To Do's"

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I just adopted a 14 wk old kitten and I am trying to learn everything about care and nutrition and behavior etc. Let's use this thread to post Do's and Dont's for all of us new owners!
I did a lot of research before getting my cat and I'm continuing my research but something that I've found is that the wealth of knowledge never stops.
Do you take your cat in every year just for checkups if nothing appears to be wrong?
Do you bathe your cat or is it OK just bathing/licking itself?

any tidbits that you wish you knew when you first got your cat would be helpful...
post #2 of 7
DO spay/neuter your cat asap, before maturity, before the first heat, and most importantly before 6 months!

DON'T EVER put a flea collar on your cat

DO consider a buddy for your cat, a second one of the same age, so they have a playmate. It is easier for young kitties to get bored and become destructive and they will bond with a friend easier when they are younger.

DON'T declaw your cat

DO feed a highly nutritious food, avoid by-products and heavy grains, check out pet stores for good food

DON'T only take your cat to the vet if there is a problem. Check ups annually or so are great.

DO search for low cost clinics if money is a problem.
post #3 of 7
What a great idea!
DO keep your cat indoors. There are all sorts of dangers outside; wild & stray animals, cars, fleas, pesticides, people who might hurt your pet.

DON'T use over the counter medications for fleas or worms. See your vet!

DO get your pet a water fountain. This will encourage more water drinking and prevent a multitude of health problems.

DON'T feed your cat people food, especially those with garlic or onions.

DO make sure all plants in your house are non-toxic to cats. If you have toxic plants, don't just put them up on a shelf, get rid of them.

DO spend lots of time playing with your cat.

DO get one or more scratching pads/posts and teach your cat to use them to prevent destructive scratching.

DON'T yell at your cat or rub their nose in a mess if they do something wrong. DON'T hit them with a newspaper or anything else. Common reasons for not using their litter boxes are often medical, not behavioral. Yelling and spanking do not work for cats, they are not dogs. Use reward and distraction to train your cat.

DO keep a collar on your cat with an owners tag & rabies tag in case they get lost. Get a microchip also.

DO post lots of pictures of your cats so we can admire them!!!

post #4 of 7
DON'T encourage your kitten to play with your hands or feet, or roughhouse with you. It is very difficult to discourage them from the behaviour when they are older, and while it may be fun to have a kitten pounce on your wiggling toes, when they weigh 10lbs and have adult teeth it hurts.

DO play with them with wand toys that keep your hands a safe distance from the action!

DO tell your kitten NO in a quiet but stern voice if he does something that he shouldn't be doing, but DON'T scold him after the event as he won't know what he's done wrong, and DON'T raise your voice as you may frighten him and it won't have the desired effect.

DO praise him and give him a treat when he does the right thing (uses scratching posts, good litterbox habits)

DON'T expect to get a full night's sleep with a young kitten around!

DO be patient

post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
[quote=Jen;1828124]DO feed a highly nutritious food, avoid by-products and heavy grains, check out pet stores for good foodQUOTE]

I currently feed my kitten Hills Science Diet for kittens--I've researched and they say that the whole 'pet food recall" thing has been taken care of. My vet also recommended it--but I realize that they get funding from the company to recommend that brand.

What is all this talk about avoiding heavy grains?
What's a good brand of food to trust? I've heard that I should look into innova. Does anyone else use it?
post #6 of 7
I used to work in pet stores and I learned a lot about what is put in pet food. It is ESSENTIAL that you read the contents. Even the brand name foods often advertise real lamb and rice, blah, blah, blah...but it's not. I cringe when I see people buy the crap grocery food. Never buy pet food at the grocery, unless you intend to naturally prepare food. The best advice I can give you is to go to a pet store and start reading the ingredients. That will teach you a lot and realize that Iams, Science Diet and other fancy wrapped pet foods are not a lot better than the grocery gravy train. You'll initially pay more, but it will last longer, your pets coat wil be so beautiful and probably shed less, litter smell not as bad, and less of it, etc...all will benefit. Avoid corn gluten meal. Just like our food ingredients, the first initial ingredients named are the most important and what the majority of the food contains. Also ask those who work there. They can help. I read all the ingredients, but the first 5 or so are the most important to pay attention to. Even if the 4th or 5th ingredient is, or similar to, corn gluten meal...stop and move on.
post #7 of 7
Will add to the bathing question

DO not be afraid of giving kittens/cats a bath occasionally. Train them for baths as early as you can in case they may need more baths in the future
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