THINGS a new owner needs to know to look after a new kitten from Hills Pet Nutrition:
- A couple of weeks after a kitten has had its second set of injections, if you have a safe garden or yard then it can go outdoors.
A kitten will instinctively roam, hunt, climb and explore so it is vital to keep an eye on them when they first start going out so they do not get lost or injured. Do not let a kitten out after dark.
- If a kitten is going to be an indoors cat then it is important to ensure they get enough exercise to stay fit and healthy.
This can be done through play and the best games and toys will encourage a cat to stalk, pounce, chase and bat objects with their paws in a safe way.
Kittens and many cats love toys that move, so anything on a string is likely to be a big hit. You can also buy mechanical toys for kittens to chase around.
A kitten will love to climb and hide and this can be encouraged by buying a cat activity centre. If the budget won’t stretch that far, cardboard boxes are a cheaper alternative. Don’t forget a scratching post either. This will tone the muscles in a kitten’s shoulders and back and could even save the furniture.
- Kittens can be quite fastidious about grooming and they learn how to keep themselves clean and tidy from their mothers. But occasionally, they may need a little help from their owner and grooming your kitten gives you a great opportunity to make a fuss of them. If your kitten has long hair, for example, it will need to be gently combed every day.
- Find an excellent veterinary practice – a recommendation from family or friends is one way to find a good vet.
- It is essential to have a kitten vaccinated to keep it healthy and protected from life-threatening diseases. Most vets recommend a combined vaccine, given at around eight to nine weeks and 11 to 12 weeks of age.
- A good age to let a kitten experience the outside world is 14 to 16 weeks, but please don’t let them out unaccompanied until they are really confident; a good guide is whether your kitten is big enough to use the cat flap.