Stalking all over the world
Who doesn’t find the sight of a little kitten curiously discovering the world for the first time overwhelmingly appealing? Young cats usually move into their new home between the age of eight and twelve weeks. From now on the human parents are responsible for the health and development of their furry charge. The first year is very important for young cats – the experts from Maxi Zoo, explain what to be aware of.
It takes around six months from birth until the kittens let go of their mother to fend for themselves in the world. Until that time the feline mum protects and cares for her offspring, provided she’s mature enough to take on the role of mother. Before giving birth, she seeks out a quiet, safe place where she can spend the first days with her new-born kittens. After about two weeks, the tiny cats become more inquisitive, they can now see to explore their “nest” and the still small world around them. That’s a sign for their mother to start egging them on a bit. She might move to a new location with them where they can move around more freely. Over time, her offspring become more and more independent and after roughly two months, they’re no longer being given their mother’s milk. By this time mum’s beginning to teach them useful stuff as well as life’s essentials: she parents them in personal hygiene, cleanliness with their surroundings and playfully teaches them the art of hunting. That’s why cat kiddies shouldn’t be separated from their mum before the twelfth week.
Give your kitty some space
Although a kitten misses their mother and siblings just as much as a puppy does at first, unlike dogs, not all cats automatically seek closeness with their new parental figure. You might have to give your kitten a bit of space and simply leave them in peace for a while. If you are not home very often, consider taking in two kittens from the same litter.
Familiarise your feline
If your cat came from friends, relatives, the animal shelter or a breeder the first thing to do is familiarise the kitten with its new home. Take things slowly and do not overwhelm the little thing. The house can be discovered room by room, making the territory bigger each day. In the beginning it is enough to give the kitten a quiet place of his own and show him where his food dish is and where to find the litter tray. Avoid too much hustle and bustle, too many people and obtrusive pets, but remain near your new kitten so that he quickly gets over being separated from his mother and siblings. Children should respect that the cute fur ball needs a lot of sleep.
Caring for your kitten
The first year lays the foundation stones for the healthy development of your cat. This includes nutrition, which should suit the increased protein and energy requirements of the growth and “mischief” phases. Use special kitten food which has high quality ingredients specially suited for the needs of young cats. It is also easily digestible which is very important as the little things can’t eat much. In this instance dry food is ideal as it can be consumed as and when it is needed and it also provides a good work out for the chewing muscles and the jaw. Finally it is also important to keep the teeth clean. If your cat is used to this right from the beginning you won’t have to worry about dental problems.
Further health aspects included worming and immunisation. Kittens can even get worms via their mother’s milk and these are hard to get rid of. During the first six months you should worm your kitten monthly, and after this you can afford to leave longer periods between treatments. Your cat should be immunised against colds, feline leukaemia and distemper. As a rule the kitten should have already been immunised before coming to you. Follow up jabs should come 3 – 4 weeks after the first injections. There are also immunisations against rabies and other diseases. Find out from your vet, which injections are necessary for your cat.
Train your tabby
Do you want your cat to get on well with other people and animals? Do you want him to not scratch the furniture or climb the walls and curtains? Then make sure he gets a consistent education. Cats learn quickly – you can forbid your kitten from doing something with a loud “No!” or a hand clap. You can also ignore them if they do something wrong, but do not hit them or punish them severely. Cats will learn to like humans if they have a lot to do with them – playing together can really strengthen the relationship between human and animal.
One more tip for safety – intelligent cats can easily slip through a crack in the door at the last minute or hide in cupboards or drawers and generally get under your feet. Therefore be particularly aware and avoid dangers such as open windows, poisonous plants and electric cables.