So your kitten is now a juvenile or young adult, what is next?
By Claude West (Cat Man)
Young Cats: as mentioned in the previous blog for kittens, a young cat is very impressionable and now is the time to train them. If your cat is a bit high strung or stubborn then behavior modification techniques at this age work well. Some of the training needs usually revolve around the kitchen counter and dining table and one of the best techniques is positive reinforcement (snacks) given only when they get off or stay on the floor.
Here is a wonderful video providing the example of using positive reinforcement as a training technique.
This may require several steps for example from the table (no snack) to your lap or chair (yes snack) and work it until kitty transitions all the way down to the floor. Of course, they must also learn the negative reinforcement that is a loud noise and the word no. I prefer this when they are kittens but you may be adopting a juvenile or young adult.Other forms of reinforcement utilize “aversive techniques” which are things that the cat will associate to avoid. In my old days, I used to use a spray bottle or squirt gun and have since abandoned this, as there are better methods. Double sided sticky tape, aluminum foil, plastic film, and compressed air controlled by a motion detector are some examples of aversive devices.
Exercise: young cats need as much exercise as they can get but most urban and suburban dwellers are not comfortable with kitty outside. This means you must provide as much entertainment with simple toys and cat furniture. This is a must have list: cat tree or condo, scratching post or block, old socks stuffed with catnip (rolled up), a cardboard box or shoe box perhaps in every room! In addition, a kitty teaser (like a fishing pole with something attached to the string, laser light, and maybe one of those things that the ball goes in a track and lights up to get kitty’s attention. The most important ingredient will be you taking time to play with the kitty and help stimulate its activity.
Failure to provide and facilitate exercising your cat can result in boredom, bad behavior, and obesity. If you watch Jackson Galaxy on Animal Planet’s “The Cat from Hell” one of the first observations he makes is what do you provide for your cats entertainment and do you play with the kitty.
Litterbox: is a cat’s MEOW and it is frequently cleaned and I mean more than once a day please! There is a litterbox requirement: you must have one additional litterbox to the number of cats in your household. This is necessary and there is more information to the why on the internet. Just let that be your rule of thumb.
I mentioned in the first blog about the value of providing your cat with a proper diet. Most commercial cat food fail to provide a quality product that will allow your pet to thrive and survive to a ripe old age. I am providing you with a link to my blog covering the “sins of the commercial pet food makers” and beware it is very graphic and not for the weak at heart but it hits the nail on the head as to why you need to control what foods you give your cat.
When it comes to the health of your pet, nothing is more important than having a quality veterinarian. There are several types of veterinarians and I need to elaborate some on this subject. The brick and mortar veterinarian typically referred to as an allopathic veterinarian whose education focuses on disease prevention, surgery, and trauma care. In my mind, this is your go to person for emergency care because it really is their specialty.
There are allopathic veterinarians that studied holistic medicines commonly practiced in other parts of the world and some of those foreign veterinarians have moved into America so there is a good chance of finding a good holistic veterinarian. This is my first choice for routine care and wellness checks. These veterinarians are more practical when it comes to specie specific diet and vaccination schedules. They are not opposed to using antibiotics where needed but also have an arsenal of herbal remedies to benefit your pet’s health and rehabilitation.
Some folks may have difficulty in finding a quality holistic veterinarian although they are increasing in numbers and there is another great option to use along with your allopathic veterinarian. They are certified veterinary naturopaths who have gone through intense studies covering total health for your pets. Holistic medicines, disease prevention, and detoxification of your pet are some of the many specialties that they provide to you and your pet. What a wonderful combination, a holistic practitioner for wellness care and your allopathic veterinarian for emergency and critical care.
Certified veterinary naturopaths can truly help you and your pets. Click this link for more information: http://tipsaboutcats.com/2011/01/06/interview-with-kim-bloomer-a-veterinary-naturopath/
The next blog in this series will focus on the midlife adult cat and some of the health issues you need to be aware of as they approach the ages of 6-10 years.