Who can resist an adorable kitten? But before you fall head over heels, here are a few things for you to consider before you bring your new companion home.Breed And Background Info
You now have many choices to make, from mixed to pure breeds and where to go to choose the right kitten for you. There are so many ways to get a new kitten, it can be a bit overwhelming. The classifieds are full of people selling or giving away new kittens; shelters abound with more cats than they can handle; and you have the boutiques and breeders ready to offer exotic breeds at a premium price.
Whatever means you choose, be sure that the kitten has been well-cared for and ok'd by a veterinarian. If possible, try to get a kitten that has been properly weaned from his mother and seems ready for a new life. You may, however, decide to adopt an abandoned or neglected kitten. In this case, the shelter will do the necessary preliminary tests and give the care needed before you bring your kitten home.Preparing Your Home
Make sure that you have a carrier, which you will need for future veterinarian trips, and place a blanket or towel inside to make him feel more secure.
It is important that the kitten get acclimatized to his new home gradually. Keeping the kitten in one room of the house, initially, will keep him safe in this new environment. Have family members come into the room quietly and gently engage him with your voice. Make sure that the litter box is easily found and at quite a distance from the food.
Go easy on playtime with family and friends so as not to overwhelm your new kitten. Of course, make sure that the room is kitten safe, because even the smallest kitten has a knack for finding new places to hide and dangling things that can be chewed.
It may be worth considering two kittens if you plan to be out of the home for most of the day. This way they will always have constant companionship and can exercise each other far more effectively than you can. Litter mates would be ideal.Exploring The Home
Once you sense your new kitten is ready to explore the house, do so gradually, so he can always find his way back to his litter box and food.
Kittens are naturally curious and will start exploring their new territory. Learn to tread softly around your kitten because he spooks very easily. That way you'll build trust much faster and ensure your kitten develops a much calmer demeanor. If your kitten learns to be too nervous around you, he may develop more aggressive habits like nipping at your toes, or uses his claws to defend himself.
Once he bonds with you, he'll follow you everywhere, frolicking, teasing and very playful. His tiny claws will be sharp, so getting a scratch pad or cat tree will keep your kitty busy filing his claws, rather than doing so on furniture and carpets.
Kittens love toys and will play for hours. Your local pet store can show you what is available but a rolled up piece of paper will work as well. Always keep an eye on any toy for strings or anything that can be swallowed. Remember they are still babies.
You can also train your kitten and teach him new tricks. There are many books on training, and its best to start with a young animal as they are already curious and active. And it's a good way to channel some of that natural energy.Encourage A Desirable Behavior And Routine
One of the most proactive things you can do for your kitten is to have him or her spayed or neutered before 6 months. This will reduce any territorial spraying, and aggressiveness in males, and, of course, help to control the cat population.
Your choice of litter is also important. Don't buy the clumping kind when your cat is less than 6 months old, as they may inadvertently lick the clumps off their paws and create a digestive blockage.
Clean your litter box daily, as cats have a highly developed sense of hygiene. And be sure the type of litter is agreeable to them. Cats also like privacy, so a covered box may be preferable, as well as contain any fresh odors. Watch for his preference, it will become evident soon enough.
Don't forget to brush your kitten regularly, as this is critical for his physical and emotional well-being. It'll also give you a chance to check out for any cuts or fur clumps. In nature, cats groom each other regularly. It's something they naturally enjoy.Proper Nutrition
Having good quality food is also paramount to a cat's health and demeanor. Cats can be very finicky, so you may need to try a few varieties to find their favorites. Sticking with the highest quality food will prevent many health problems later on, and ensure a beautiful, shiny coat. Give your kitten wet food regularly, twice a day at first. This will keep down the frequency of hairballs.
After the first initial series of shots, remember to keep a yearly vet appointment in order to keep the necessary shots up to date and to head off any problem areas. You will also need to verify your animals medical records if you ever need to have your kitten groomed or kenneled bored for any length of time.
Getting a new kitten can be a joy for the whole family. With plenty of love and care you can plan on enjoying a beautiful friendship for a good 14 years and with luck, even longer.