We adopted a pair of kittens about a year ago. Here's what we learned.
1. Pick a vet early and take those babies in to be checked out the week you bring them home. This establishes the relationship, gets them any routine care they've been missing, and allows you to ask any questions you may have. Many shelter kitties come home with respiratory infections and some will have intestinal parasites.
2. Kittens are crazy and will get EVERYwhere! They climb like monkeys and jump like fleas. And fit in places so tiny it never occurred to you. Whatever cat proofing you've done will probably not be sufficient. Re-evaluate this as needed.
3. Cats are TOTALLY trainable!!! Like with dogs, and relationships with other humans, you get back what you are willing to put in.
Start early. Reinforce often. Find a treat they like, decide on consistent commands/responses, and you can have a relatively well behaved companion that is a good citizen in your house. Start small by calling their names when you bring them food. Good things are to have them come when called, sit for treats or food (a grabby cat is really annoying), and have them get in their carrier on command.
Consider motion sensor compressed air devices to keep cats off counters or out of areas that aren't safe for them.
4. Number 3 only works if you meet their needs. Food, water, clean litter, a place to scratch, toys/play, security. If these are not met, your cat may be a butt head. As are we all when we don't have what we need.
5. Cats have needs that they don't always act happy to have filled. Start as early as possible with nail trims and other chores that can make your cat unhappy. Ask your vet to show you how, bribe cats with treats, and then do these things regularly. This includes baths, teeth brushing, anything else you think you will have to do anytime in the future. If you have indoor cats, they NEED their nails trimmed. Ignoring these chores will only make you all miserable in the long run. Like getting the cat into the carrier, nail trims absolutely do not need to be a tragedy every time.
6. Enjoy your furry new friends!
10 Kitten Supplies to Add to Your Checklist | petMD
What about the adopted kitten? Government-run shelters and humane societies will perform physical examinations and check for parasitic diseases (intestinal worms, mites on the skin, etc.) prior to adoption. Many kittens have already been vaccinated and spayed or neutered prior to being adopted. So, you should receive some records with your new kitten to that effect. I will say that it’s always a good idea to also make an appointment with your family veterinarian within a week of bringing your kitten home. Your veterinarian will want to become familiar with your new adoptee. Plus, your vet will be able to discuss with you important aspects of care, such as socializing your kitten, what the vaccines given at the shelter protect against and what tests the shelter may have conducted. It’s very likely that you won’t meet the veterinarian at the shelter during the adoption process — so, you need to establish a relationship with a vet right away.
New Kitten Checklist - Cat Behavior Associates
Since kittens under four weeks of age do not have the ability to thermoregulate, we must help them maintain body warmth. One method is to place a warmed Snuggle Safe disk at the opening of the cage or crate. This disk then provides the needed warmth for 8 hours. Instructions for how long to heat the Snuggle Safe disk depending on the wattage of the microwave are printed on each disk. If you are unsure what wattage the microwave is, heat the disk for 5 minutes, then check the temperature with your hands. Make sure it does not feel too hot before placing it in the cage or crate. Cover the heating disk with a soft folded towel or blanket so the kitten cannot directly contact the disk. If no heating disk is available, place a heating pad on the low setting under the crate or on the bottom of the cage, then place a soft folded towel or blanket between the kitten and the heating pad. Check the heat source frequently to ensure it is not too hot or too cold. Make sure some area of the cage does not contain a disk or have a heating pad under it so kittens can move away from the heat source if too hot. Kittens also like a nice nest in their cage or crate so bundle them in a nice fleece that they can crawl into and out of.
What Your New Kitten Needs - Vetstreet