So… you’re buying a kitten! by Liz Zabori & Brad Scott

So you want to bring a kitten home but not sure what it takes. Well I can promise you that by the time you’re done reading this, you will be fully prepared to bring home your very own Furbaby.

The first thing we want to think about when we have the itch to get ourselves a furry friend is home prep before we bring the kitten home. By nature kittens are curious animals so completely kitten proofing your house is nearly impossible. Some things you will want to keep in mind are screens on all the windows to help prevent falls, keeping precious items stored away out of fall danger and from your kitten rubbing up against it, and having all poisonous chemicals locked away and out of reach of wondering kitten noses. Your kitten will need its own special space with a bed, scratching post, feeding dishes and a litter box. The placement of all these essential items is important to your new kitten as you want your fur baby to feel safe and not to develop any bad habits.

Onto feeding:  proper kitten food is essential for the healthy growth stages of your furry friend. Kittens require kitten food for the first 8-12 months of their life. It is higher in energy for their growing needs. You should find a brand that your kitten likes and one with ingredients you trust, because it is helpful if you stick with the same brand to avoid complications in the future. The brands which our Calgary veterinarians recommend are the best because they have been tested and developed with your pet’s optimal health in mind.

Now onto training: I know picking a name for your kitten can be hard but it is a big part in helping your kitten to learn. Using his/her name often as soon as you bring the cat home can help with teaching and keeping your kitten out of trouble.  Cats are stubborn (this is why we love them so much). It is important to be consistent in setting boundaries in your house with areas and surfaces that are off limits. For discipline, you may try using the crinkle sound and rough texture of aluminum foil, double-sided sticky tape, or a strategic spray from a water bottle to keep them off potted plants, furniture or counter tops sometimes works. You should also not to let your kitten bite nor play too rough with you. If that is happening, you can direct their play behavior to a large stuffed toy instead or one which is on a string.

Next we will talk breed type.  Some people choose purebreds because of their appearances as well as their personality. You can research individual breed profiles and common medical conditions to see which breed is right for you. Keep in mind there is no such thing as an allergy-free cat. It is usually the dander that a person is allergic to, not the hair. Mixed-breed animals have one of a kind color and marking combinations with a whole kaleidoscope of personality traits to discover. Ultimately, the kitten you choose (or chooses you) will be special to you.

A big thing to keep in mind is soon after getting a kitten it is important to know that the upcoming months will be full of regularly scheduled vet visits. It is important to have your kitten vaccinated and spayed or neutered. After a busy first year of vet visits, a healthy cat should only need to visit the vet for their annual exams and vaccination update once a year and possibly a yearly teeth cleaning if necessary.

Knowledge is the most important factor in raising a young animal and your number one resource will always be your veterinarian, registered animal health technologist (RAHT) and your veterinary team.  Don’t ever feel like you can’t set up an appointment with one of our doctors or RAHT before you own your first special animal. The veterinary team here at Killarney Cat Hospital is more than happy to have you come in and pick their brains about everything needed before making the huge life step of choosing your pet.

Written by:
Liz Zabori,  Lead RAHT, B.Sc.
Brad Scott, Tech Assistant