Caring for Kittens and Cats

You may have heard that cats have nine lives. Well, maybe that's true, but one thing is for sure --- your cat can have a long and healthy life with the proper care. There are many things to consider when caring for a cat, and we'll cover them all.

Cats depend on people for everything they need...food, fresh water, a clean litter box, veterinary care, and, most important, affection and love.

Here are some essentials to keep your feline friend happy and safe...


Feeding

  • Kittens from 6 to 12 weeks must eat four times a day.
  • Kittens from three to six months need to be fed three times a day.
  • Adult cats should be fed one large or two or three smaller meals each day. You can either feed specific meals, throwing away any leftover canned food after 30 minutes, (an alternative is to put unused canned food in a glass container with a lid, and keep in the refrigerator for a day or two)....or keep dry food available at all times. 

We recommend a high-quality, brand-name kitten or cat food - avoid generic brands.

You will need to provide fresh, clean water at all times, and wash and refill water bowls daily.

Generally, orphaned or hand-fed kittens can be offered moistened kitten food at about three weeks of age.

Use a commercial milk replacer to moisten the food, and gradually reduce the amount of milk replacer you use until the kittens are eating dry kitten food at about five or six weeks of age.

Although cat owners of old were told to give their pets a saucer of milk, cats do not easily digest cow’s milk, which can cause diarrhea in kittens and cats.

Treats are yummy for cats, but don't go overboard. Most packaged treats contain lots of sugar and fat, which can pack on the pounds.

Some cats like fresh fruits and vegetables, like broccoli, or cantaloupe. You can offer these once in awhile.

If your kitten is refusing food or isn’t eating enough, try soaking her kitten food in warm water.

If that doesn’t work, kittens can be fed human baby food for a short time. Use turkey or chicken baby food without vegetables, made for children six months and older. Gradually mix with her regular food.

Kittens

After being born, kittens are totally dependent on their mother for survival and do not normally open their eyes until after seven to ten days.

After about two weeks, kittens quickly develop and begin to explore the world outside the nest. After a further three to four weeks, they begin to eat solid food and grow adult teeth. Kittens are highly social animals and enjoy human companionship.

About Hairballs


The best natural way to cure hairballs is to prevent them in the first place. Brush your furry friend daily, removing any excess loose hair from her coat. 

Without loose hair on her coat, when she grooms, there won't be any matter to ingest. Plus, your kitty will appreciate the quality time spent with you and the help with her grooming. 

When your cat grooms herself, she ingests the loose hair from her coat. This hair builds up in her tummy to form balls of hair that she'll then vomit up, usually on your favorite rug.

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Housing

Your cat should have her own clean, dry place in your home to sleep and rest. Line your cat's bed with a soft, warm blanket or towel. Be sure to wash the bedding often.


Please keep your cat indoors. Having a ledge or table near a window allows her to look outside. Make sure the window is securely closed with screens out of her reach.

Un-screened windows pose a real danger to cats, who fall out of them so often that the veterinary profession has a name for the complaint...High-Rise Syndrome.

Cats who are allowed outdoors can contract diseases, get ticks or parasites, become lost or get hit by a car, or get into fights with other free-roaming cats and dogs.

Litter Box

All indoor cats need a litter box, which should be placed in a quiet, accessible location.

A bathroom or utility room is a good place for your cat's box. In a multi-level home, one box per floor is recommended.

Keep in mind that cats won't use a messy, smelly litter box, so scoop solid wastes out of the box at least once a day.

Dump everything, wash with a mild detergent and refill at least once a week. You can do this less frequently if using clumping litter. Don't use ammonia, Clorox, deodorants or scents, especially lemon, when cleaning the litter box.


Identification

If allowed outdoors (again, we caution against it!), your cat must wear a safety collar and an ID tag.

A safety collar with an elastic panel will allow your cat to break loose if the collar gets caught on something.

If your pet is indoors-only, an ID tag or an implanted microchip can help insure that your cat is returned if he or she becomes lost.

Spaying and Neutering


Some states have laws that state the age is four months, which is a good idea, because female cats can go into heat at four months of age. Most vets recommend fixing a pet around six months of age, so they'll have a strong immune system as it's major surgery, especially for females.

The most important thing to know about spaying and neutering is that it saves lives. In every community in the U.S. there are animals sitting in animal shelters waiting for homes.

There are numerous BENEFITS of spaying and neutering our pets, not only for them, but for their guardians, as well. Click here to find out these benefits before it's too late.

Note: The longer kittens are with their mother, the better it is for the kitten and mom. Kittens should remain with their mother until the age of at least 8 weeks, preferably 12 weeks. Spay your kitty early enough so she doesn't become a "teenage" mom.

YOU can help in the overpopulation of cats by Spaying and Neutering your cat(s).

Cats are the #1 pet to be euthanized in shelters because of over crowding.

If you adopted your cat from an animal Shelter, they are spayed and neutered before they are allowed to leave the facility.

Grooming

Most cats stay relatively clean and rarely need a bath, but you should brush or comb your cat regularly.

Frequent brushing helps keep your cat's coat clean, reduces the amount of shedding and cuts down on the incidence of hairballs.

Handling


To pick up your cat, place one hand behind the front legs and another under the hindquarters. Lift gently. Never pick up a cat by the scruff of the neck or by the front legs.

Play

Make time to play and provide entertainment. Cats often entertain themselves, but regular play sessions with your pet will provide her with the physical and mental stimulation she needs and strengthen the bond you share.

Cats delight in stalking imaginary prey.

The best toys are those that can be made to jump and dance around and look alive.Your cat can safely act out her role as a predator by pouncing on toys instead of people's ankles.

Please don't use your hands or fingers as play objects with kittens. This type of rough play may cause biting and scratching behaviors to develop as your kitten matures.

Cat "condo's" strengthen cats legs as they climb up and down the condo, which is great exercise for them and is a lot of fun for them - and you!

Throwing small cat balls or a toy is a great way for them to get exercise by running after them.

Many cat owners allow their kitty to play with yarn, which is not recommended. They can bite off small pieces of the yarn, which can get caught in their throat.

Play with your cat. Since physical activity can reduce stress, playing with your cat for 10 to 15 minutes twice a day may help both of you feel more relaxed.

 Wind down the play in the last couple of minutes so your cat can calm down, and always end by giving your cat a treat or a meal.

To keep toys interesting, rotate them every few days.

Keep a cheerful happy attitude around the house and your cat will follow in your footsteps-hence the expression "Copy Cat".

Scratching

Cats need to scratch!
When a cat scratches, the old outer nail sheath is pulled off and the sharp, smooth claws underneath are exposed.

Cutting your cat’s nails every two to three weeks will keep them relatively blunt and less likely to harm the arms of both humans and furniture.

Provide your cat with a sturdy scratching post, at least three feet high, which will allow her to stretch completely when scratching.
The post should also be stable enough that it won't wobble during use, and should be covered with rough material such as sisal, burlap or tree bark.

Many cats also like scratching pads. A sprinkle of catnip once or twice a month will keep your cat interested in her post or pad.

Health

It is recommend that your cat should see the veterinarian at least once a year for an examination and vaccinations, and immediately if she is sick or injured.

It is strongly advised NOT TO OVER VACCINATE your cat, which could cause irreversible damage, and sometimes death.

Rabies vaccination is required by law in most areas of the country. Ask your veterinarian if you are unsure of the laws in your area.

Fleas and Ticks

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Flea infestation should be taken seriously. These tiny parasites feed off of your pet, tapeworms and irritate the skin. Carefully check your cat once a week for fleas and ticks.

If you live in a dry climate, likely, your cat will not come in contact with flees.

If your cat has fleas you can use this Homeopathic medicine for itching and skin irritation caused by flea bites.

Cats die every year from improper treatment with flea and tick control products. Please contact your veterinarian for the most effective flea control program for your pet. 

  • Medicines and Poisons

Never give your cat medication that has not been prescribed by a veterinarian. For example, did you know that the following OTC medications can be FATAL to a cat?!
  • Tylenol: Acetaminophen, the active ingredient in this pain reliever, is very toxic in cats. The drug interferes with oxygen uptake in the blood of cats and can result in death if not treated promptly. 
  • Ibuprofen: This is the active ingredient in over-the-counter medications such as Advil, Motrin, and "cold and flu" medications, and is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID). This drug is never recommended for cats or dogs, as it can result in severe gastric ulcers or acute kidney failure.
  • Naproxen: This is the active ingredient in Aleve or Anaprox, and is a very potent NSAID. Minute doses can result in severe symptoms of gastric ulcers, stomach perforations, or acute kidney failure in animals, and should never be used in animals.

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Punishment

Don't do it! Cats don't understand physical punishment. In addition to it being wrong to hit your cat, punishment simply doesn't work and is likely to make your situation worse.

You can't make a cat do anything she doesn't want to do.
Get clear on that. And getting her to stop something she enjoys is just about as difficult.

Clever though Kitty is about many things, she won't understand that you're punishing her for scratching the couch.

She will only compute that sometimes when you catch her she is treated badly. This may make her insecure and stimulate her to scratch more or develop other undesirable behavior problems.

Eventually you will break the trust and security that is the basis for your cat's relationship with you, and you will find it very difficult to catch her for any reason at all.

Cats have excellent memories and hold serious grudges.

Instead of punishing your cat, an effective and safe way to get your kitty to stop "the bad deed", try using odors that they hate, which include:
  • Lemon essential oil or the zest of one lemon 
  • Orange essential oil 
  • Peppermint essential oil
  • Wintergreen essential oil 
  • Eucalyptus essential oil is used as a repellent for any number of animals, among them fleas, mosquitoes, and — you guessed it — cats.
  • Clove Oil - put a few drops on a cotton ball, & place it under the pillow of a chair she may be spraying/urinating on or under a rug she likes to scratch.
Mix 10 drops of essential oil into 1 quart of water and put mixture into a spray bottle. Spray the area that you don't want your cat to go. Always shake well before using. 

Do not spray on cats or enable ingestion. Cats are not able to process essential oils and this spray will prove toxic if sprayed onto the cat or ingested by it.

You can however, spray plain water near cats and they'll run away, as they're afraid of the sound and the water.

Homemade cat spray (lemon is recommended) is a safe and environmentally friendly mixture which is also an excellent cleaner, killing bacteria.

LOVE

Last, but certainly not least, is the love you share with your new friend. Pets love unconditionally, and will give you their heart forever.

If they develop behavioral issues, it's most likely something that you've done or not done...example: not cleaning their litter box as much as needed, or de-clawing her, which can make her paws sensitive or hurts to step on certain kinds of litter, so they resort to going elsewhere.

They are finicky when it comes to cleanliness...seems like they are constantly grooming themselves. Treat them with love and respect, and you will have the perfect companion.

Even though cats are independent little souls they thrive on affection and love, who live to cuddle on your lap with an occasional lick (kiss) on your face. And...don't forget to talk to them, they're great listeners who don't talk back and won't gossip.

These magnificent, magical souls we call the "cat" 
leave pawprints on our heart. 


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