Spring is the season when you might have the best luck getting a kitten. With the days getting longer, female cats come into season and breed. That’s why there might be plenty of kittens waiting to be rescued or bought and welcomed into a new and loving home. To ensure that your adventures with your new furry friend are the most magical, it could be worth knowing some important points about caring for them. At The Insurance Emporium, we take an interest in cat welfare, so we spoke to our pet health expert for some essential points for looking after a young kitten.

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When you adopt or shop…

Often kittens are at least eight weeks old when they move to a new and, hopefully loving, home. There are a few things that the breeder or rescue centre should have done before you receive your kitten from them, so it could be worth asking about some subjects. The home or breeder should have treated your kitten for fleas, wormed them and hopefully also have given them their first vaccination. Litter training should also have begun, which will hopefully help with one of the not-so-pleasant parts of owning a kitten! Socialisation learning periods happen when kittens are between two and eight weeks old, so if your new pussycat is particularly young then it’ll be on you to expose them to positive new experiences. These could include such sights, sounds and smells as children, visitors and household appliances like washing machines and vacuum cleaners. Kittens over eight weeks old should be introduced to new experiences carefully without being overwhelmed.

Welcoming your kitten home!

When your feline friend moves into their new home, it’s worth making sure your place is ready for them. Sort out a hideaway for them where you’ll put their litter tray. If you have more than one cat, they should have at least one tray each. Once your kitten is home, you can start toilet training by putting them in their litter tray several times each day. If you can, it might be worth using a type of cat litter that your kitten is already used to. Make sure your home is free of potential hazards, such as toxic plants, and give your kitten spaces to rest, play and hide. Give them cat toys, a scratching post and maybe even get a cat pheromone product, like a spray or plug-in diffuser, in the areas where they’ll spend most of their time. Pheromones should help to reassure your kitten and make them feel secure in their new home. Another thing that could help is getting a blanket with a familiar scent on it from your young cat’s breeder.

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Settling in…

Once your kitten has moved in, there are a few things it’s worth doing to ensure that your feline feels fine and settled in their new home! You may have other pets that you hope your kitten will become friends with. If this is the case, be careful to supervise your animals when they meet each other and help them with the swapping of scents. Your kitten should stay indoors until they are fully settled, which may take several weeks. They shouldn’t go outside until they have had their first course of vaccines and been neutered, perhaps even microchipped. When it comes to food and drink for your kitten, make sure they can always get a drink from a bowl of fresh water and that they get a commercial kitten diet. This diet is intended to ensure they get the right amount of protein and a good balance of calcium and phosphate. Be sure to follow the retailer’s instructions on portion size so that your cat gets the correct serving of grub.

Keeping your kitten healthy

There are a few things it’s worth doing to ensure your kitten’s good health. From two weeks until eight weeks of age, they should be wormed fortnightly. After that, worm them monthly until they’re six months old. When your kitten has grown up, it will then need to be wormed every three months. Your vet should be able to tell you which product and dosage is best for your kitten based on their age and weight. It’s possible to get combination drugs that could treat your kitten for fleas and worms at the same time. Hopefully you won’t need flea treatment but, if you do, fiprinil-based sprays could be used on kittens from two days old. Depending on which product you use, it might be worth treating your kitten for fleas each month. To find out if your pet is affected by these creepy crawlies, run a fine-toothed comb through their fur and look out for specks of flea dirt.

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Get to the Vet!

It’s worth getting your kitten registered with a local veterinary practice so that you can discuss and deal with things like vaccines, neutering and microchipping. From the age of eight or nine weeks, your kitten should be vaccinated against Herpes Virus, Calicivirus, Feline Panleucopaenia and Feline Leukaemia. They’ll then need another vaccination three or four weeks later and then annually after that. If you’ve got other cats, be aware that your kitten could potentially have been exposed to such diseases as cat flu or coronavirus. Should you choose to get your kitten neutered, previously they would have been over six months old. Yet, recent studies suggest that you could get your cat neutered from a younger age, with many charities doing this at four months or under. Your vet should be able to advise you on the best age for this; depending on your circumstances, your kitten’s health and your vet’s practice protocol. When they get neutered, it could be worth getting them microchipped at the same time. While microchipping is not a legal requirement for cats, it would give your kitten a permanent means of identification.

More often than not, your vet is the best person to contact when it comes to your kitten’s health. You will want your furry new member of the family to have the most magical adventures with you and keeping them healthy and well-cared for should help a lot. A healthy kitten is hopefully a happy kitten, after all!

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