New pets can make life at home more exciting. Cats are popular pets because of their curiosity, playfulness and size, which makes them great pets in private homes and apartments big and small. Many people prefer cats because they tend to require less maintenance than dogs and felines are relatively self-sufficient. According to a 2014 survey from Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, 37 percent of Canadian households included one or more cats. In the United States, the American Pet Products Association says that 30 to 37 percent of households have a cat, and more than 35 percent of cats are acquired as strays. Kittens can be soft, fluffy and adorable to have around. However, to maintain a peaceful household and provide a safe environment for new felines, it’s important for pet owners to follow some key tips.
Kittens should not be separated from their mother or siblings until they’re at least 10 to 12 weeks of age, provided the litter has had significant human contact, offers Blue Buffalo Pet Food’s animal experts. If the kittens have not had much contact, it may be possible to bring them home earlier. The earlier cats are socialized, the easier the kitten-owner relationship and the less skittish the cat may be. Cats require some necessities from the start. These include feeding bowls, litter boxes or trays, toys, and scratching posts. Washable cat beds with warm blankets are also helpful. Position the litter tray in a corner away from food and water. The International Cat Care group says that a new home can be intimidating, so it’s best to introduce cats slowly to their new environments. Choose a room that’s quiet where the kitten can adjust. Outfit the room with toys and a place to snuggle or hide, and remove any hazards or breakable items. Gradually give the kitten time to venture out into the main living area to explore, watching how it behaves. If the cat dashes nervously, it may need more time to acclimate. Some kittens take up to two weeks to fully relax in a home. People should be introduced one at a time.
The animal guidance group VetStreet says handling and playing with kittens at least once per day will help owners form strong emotional bonds with their cats. Children should be monitored upon introduction to the new kitten to make sure it’s a positive experience for both the kitten and child. Veterinarians can offer a wealth of information for new cat owners. Ask many questions, including which foods to feed them and how often; illnesses to watch out for; suggestions on how to introduce the kitten to other pets; and guidelines for making litter box training easier. Remember to discuss having the kitten spayed or neutered right away to help combat cat overpopulation.
Kittens can be playful members of the family. Treat them right from the start and they can make loving and excellent pets.