By Claude West (the Cat Man)
Indeed, there is more to raising a cat than feeding it. This multi series blog will explore what you will likely need to know from kitten to senior kitty.
You now have that new kitten and I hope it is weaned from its mother and capable of eating solid food. Should that not be the case, I highly recommend you visit your veterinarian to get powdered cat milk along with advice on procedures for feeding and frequency. You may also have to go to the pharmacy to get baby bottles and pacifiers.
Kittens grow teeth just like humans and will lose their baby teeth and grow in adult teeth. A pacifier is a wonderful tool for a teething kitten rather than your toes but anything that moves when kitty is in hunting mode is fair game.
Besides toes, kittens will play with anything and that can be dangerous if they end up swallowing it. Here are some items that have caused problems in the past: feathers, string, rubber bands, golf tees, and twist ties. These can cause intestinal blockage requiring surgery to correct. Best to keep all small items secure unless you are available to supervise their play.
Kittens and cats are just like babies and young children. You really need to keep doors and drawers shut at all times because they have magical radar that tells them when items are open for investigation and curiosity can kill the cat.
We need to keep a proper perspective about kittens and cats concerning their size and aggressive nature to explore and investigate at all costs. Some things humans forget is that the home contains lots of toxic chemicals we use to clean with, and outside we use fertilizers on plants and grass plus insecticides.
Because cats are groomers, this means that everything they contact with their paws and fur will end up inside them. Cats groom constantly to remove dead and loose fur as well as to nurture wounds. Depending on the toxicity, some chemicals cause immediate harm while others will build up over time and destroy organs or cause cancer! Here is a past blog that lists several toxic items found around the home, click here.
A good rule is to have all of your emergency numbers available and easy to find. I like to have a nearby veterinarian and emergency clinic information readily available. There is also a pet hotline for animal poison control and disaster preparedness requirements in a past blog, click here.
Starting out with a kitten is a great opportunity to get them on a better diet than dry cat food and the right time to start behavior modification. Learn to teach your kittens the word no and what a sharp clap or sound means the same. Controlling your cat’s behavior at an early age will make life easier for your both later in life. I have an extensive blog library on dealing with cat behavior at my website. Just go to search blog topics and you will find the posts.
Diet for your kitten is the “holy grail” of future health benefits so pay attention to what I say when leaving food out 24/7’s with a primary diet of dry food is a sure way to reduce its health and lifespan. My best analogy to doing that is like sending your kids to McDonalds for all of their meals.
Having pets will require some work and due diligence on your part but in the long run will pay you benefits of fewer illnesses and veterinarian visits. Cat’s diet has not changed over the last 10,000 years and they are obligate carnivores. They need the same diet at home, as they do in the wild. Agreed it is not likely that you will provide them live prey daily but you can provide a supplemented meat diet.
You can buy several brands of high quality cat foods at the pet food store that stock raw cat diet as dehydrated or frozen. Best that you read my past blogs on cat diet but start with this one first. For the do it yourself person and probably the most cost effective method is to make your own cat food. I am not the expert at that but please bookmark this link for homemade cat food.
If you get your cat eating a wet meaty diet early in life, you will have an easy time in maintaining that for its entire life. Converting a cat from dry food to canned wet food and then eventually a raw diet will require time and lots of patience.
Vaccines for kittens are good and I do agree with the current veterinary protocol. They are good for early in life immune response but if given frequently through life can cause hypersensitivities, reduced immune response, and potentially cancer. Ask yourself why we do not vaccinate humans on a regular basis throughout their life. Just does not seem right and there is no long-term studies done on immune response for pets.
Here is a website that does a great job on raw feeding and the dangers of over vaccinating, click here.