FIRST THINGS FIRST
Before anything else, get a collar and ID tag with current contact information on your pet immediately! Even indoor cats can escape through a faulty window, during times of earthquake, brush fires, etc. Prevent a tragedy by always having current identification on your pet. Break-away collars are great for cats, if you worry their collar may become caught on objects. However, since the collar comes off, a back-up form of identification, such as a microchip, is a strongly recommended as a secondary ID.
It is best to take your new kitten to your veterinarian for a complete check-up. Make sure your veterinarian does the following:
- Listens to the kitten’s heart
- Opens the kitten’s mouth and checks her ears
- Weighs the kitten and takes her temperature
- Checks out any skin problems that may be present
- Performs a fecal exam of the stool (taking a stool sample into the vet is easiest) If parasites are present, then a de-worming medication will be prescribed. Some veterinarians just routinely de-worm kittens since they often have parasites.
ALWAYS GET YOUR KITTEN SPAYED OR NEUTERED!
You may safely have your kitten altered as early as eight weeks. Remember that kittens go into heat at seven months so many vets recommend having them altered by four to six months.
VACCINATE YOUR KITTEN
It is highly recommended to have your kitten tested for FELV/FIV. These are common viruses that can be fatal so it is good to know ahead of time if your kitten has these contagious viruses. Most vaccines (including FVRCP, FELV, and Rabies) are given at 8, 12, and 16 weeks of age. Keeping your kitten indoors throughout her entire life will drastically reduce the likelihood of her contracting these diseases. Keeping your kitten indoors will also drastically reduce her chances of being hit by a car, attacked by another animal, or being poisoned.
ALWAYS FEED YOUR KITTEN FOOD APPROPRIATE FOR ITS LIFE STAGE
Feed your kitten food formulated especially for kittens, either dry or canned/wet. Do not feed table scraps, tuna or milk, which most cats cannot digest.
INTRODUCING YOUR KITTEN TO HER NEW ENVIRONMENT
The period in which cats learn the most socialization is between 2 and 12 weeks of age. Therefore, try to expose your kitten to men, women, children, cat-friendly dogs, other cats, etc. If your kitten has good experiences with each of these species, she is more likely to accept and like them throughout life.
Initially, limit the area that you first place your kitten in. Cats naturally investigate their surroundings so starting them out in a controlled area will reduce stressful situations. After confining the kitten to a room for a couple of days, you should slowly allow her access to the rest of the house.
LAST, LIKE MOST CREATURES, CATS ENJOY COMPANIONSHIP FROM THEIR OWN KIND. CONSIDER HAVING MORE THAN JUST ONE CAT. AND ALWAYS REMEMBER TO ADOPT, NOT BUY, YOUR NEXT PET!