new kitten crash course...prepare for your new kitten

New Kitten Crash Course

A new kitten can be very exciting, but you must prepare by making your house kitten proof, getting supplies and preparing the arrival of your kitten.

New Kitten Preparation

Dear Simba, I have been browsing through your web page for the past hour or so...
it is been a wonderful introduction to the world of kitty cats. Thank you!!!

I have never had a pet cat before, and I know very little about the "basics" of cat care.

Nevertheless, I would really like to rescue a kitten from the local animal shelter.

Can you take me through a crash-course on the fundamental details? Jenni

Dear Jenni - How very wonderful of you to rescue a little kitten from the shelter! Your new friend will make a wonderful addition to your home for years to come.
Ok, so what to do? First thing is to prepare for your kitten's arrival. Below are some items you will need to ensure your kitten's health and safety. Make sure also, that you take your kitten to the vet as soon as you get him so that he/she can be checked out and be given his shots.

Simba’s Rules:
  • Kitten-proof your home in the same you child-proof it, keep bad stuff away and do not let the kitten get into places where there are things it should not play with.
  • Do not feed kitty anything other than his kitten food. As you know from reading the indigestion page, kittens tend to get loose stools if they ingest people food.
  • Do not give kitty full run of the house until you are comfortable that he/she is adjusting well and is using the litter box.
  • Make it a point to play with the kitten. Try a cat teaser or just roll up pieces of paper and throw them around the house (your kitten will love to chase them).
  • Have plenty of love and patience.
Must Have’s:

Should Have’s:
cat scratch postUltimate Scratcher

The little one will bring you much joy, cherish him. - Simba

Thanks for a wonderful website. I have been all over the internet looking for info and yours is the best!!Our cat just had kittens and We have never been through this experience. I have a few questions I could not seem to find in your previous letters from people.

Do we need to provide any type of litter care for the kittens. I read that the mother takes care of this for the first few weeks. Does this mean she disposes of their waste?

My other question is about coloring. The mother is pure black and the father is a longhair grey with white stripes. The kittens (3) were black with gray stripes and two pure white. Will the white ones stay white or will they change? --- Sandy

Dear Sandy,
Thank you for your kind words. Your first question about litter. You should supply litter for the mother to dispose of her own and of her kitten's waste. Remember that at their age, kittens will produce small, tootsie roll-sized poops. So do not worry too much about a mess.

As for the color of the white kittens. Certain breeds of cats, such as Honey Bears are known to change fur color as they age. These cats are born covered with many perfect stripes that later lighten. These cats change color as they age, and stripes will either break into spots, get blotchy or shade out to the cats' dominant color. The stripes may remain near the legs, tail and head. A dark stripe along the cats back and tail is normal, but will fade with age. Other cats that change color as they age are the Siamese and Burmese. With these breeds, the facial mask spreads over the face and darkens with age. So will your white kitten change in color, it depends, but probably not. Simba

Kitten Proof Your Home

Hi Simba, I have recently purchased an adorable kitty.
There are many tight areas in my house where my kitten can sneak into. I can never find her and I am always scared that she will get stuck. What can I do to prevent her from getting into all those tight areas? Sara

Dear Sara,
If you are concerned for her safety, you may want to consider keeping her in a safe room when you are away so as to prevent her from getting into trouble.

It also seems you have a cat-proofing issue. As you know, cats are inquisitive and curious. They can also jump onto shelves, counters and table tops. They also love to get into trouble. Below is a list of steps to take in Cat-Proofing your home:

  • Cords, Windows Cats enjoy batting around cords from hanging blinds. The danger is that they get tangled up and choke. Be sure to either anchor the cords or tie them up out of reach.
  • Decorations / Jewelry Do not leave fragile items (vases, glasses) or jewelry (earrings, chains) sitting on the coffee table or counters accessible to your feline friend. Best case you make a sacrifice to your new kitty's exploration. Worst Case, kitty swallows a sharp object and hurts himself badly.
  • Garage Unless it is a living area, the garage should be a 'Cat-Free Zone'. Garages usually contain too many poisonous/hazardous materials. Anti-freeze is particularly deadly and is doubly dangerous because of its sweet taste. Clean up any spilled anti-freeze and the keep garage floor thoroughly washed if your cat has access to it.
  • Home Electronics Electrical cords are a hazard to cats, as they love to chew and play with them. Consider buying cord management systems or instead tape cords together and then fasten them out of reach. The same goes for phone cords.
  • Home Office Rubber bands, paper clips, thumb tacks, broken balloons, Christmas tree tinsel and other small articles irresistible to cats. Simba's rule is that you put away anything you would not want a toddler to get his hands on.
  • Kitchen / Bathroom Kitchen cabinets are another danger zone. Be sure to place child-safety bands on cabinets where you keep bleach, detergent, cleaning supplies or personal hygiene products including dental floss. Cats love comfy environment and cabinets provide that. Be sure they relax in safe places only!
  • Laundry Room Clothes dryers are especially dangerous for Cats & Kittens. Cat love to snuggle up in warm places. Because of that, be sure to always close your clothes dryer doors so as to keep your furry friends out.
  • Living Room Kittens love to climb furniture and drapes. You might want to consider covering cloth furniture with a cover, blanket or bedspread.
  • Poisons Be sure to remove any ant/roach traps from places where kitty may find them. Cats love to chew and play with things and a roach motel can deliver a dangerous dose to your cat. Scour your yard and remove any ant stakes or snail bait. See Common Dangers for more information on dangerous plants.
  • Safe Haven Be sure to have a "safe haven"within your home when you first get your new cat. Stock this room with food, a litter box, toys, scratching post and a bed. This will give your friend a chance to acclimate to your home and you some time to cat-proof your house.
I hope this helps! Be sure to check out more safety tips at Cat Proof page. -Simba

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