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Congratulations on your new kitten!

Getting a new kitten is an exciting time for everybody in the family however it can be overwhelming for you and your new kitten as well. Here is some information to help you make the transition easier for everybody as well as help guide you in making educated decisions about your pet’s health care.

What to Expect the First Few Days

Your kitten may be tired or stressed from the changes occuring. They are likely away from their mother and litter mates for the first time. As exciting as it may be to bring kitten home for the first time, keep in mind that it can be overwhelming for such a tiny creature to go through these changes. Although everybody may want to ‘hello’ to the new kitten right away, it is important to wait a few days before letting any children in the household play with the kitten. Designate a quite space for your kitten to stay without a lot of traffic so that they can get used to their new environment. Introductions with other pets in the household should wait for another day.

Transitioning Food

If your kitten is going to be switching to a new brand of food, you will want to make the changes gradually as not to upset their delicate stomach. You can do this over the period of 10 days.
Day 1-3 – 25% new food mixed with 75% old food
Day 4-6 – 50% new food mixed with 50% old food
Day 7-9 – 75% new food mixed with 25% old food
 Day 10 – your kitten should be on 100% of the new food.
If you notice any signs of gastric upset such as vomiting or diarrhea then call your veterinarian for advice.
In some cases this can indicate that there is something else going on with your kitten.

We recommend Healthy Advantage for Kittens by Hills for your growing kitten.
It is a prescription diet and can only be purchased in clinic.
It is formulated especially for your growing kitten. Your kitten should be on this food until 8-12 months of age or until they reach their adult size. Always look at your cat’s body condition to tell if their diet is adequate, not their weight. Ask your veterinarian for help if are unsure.


Declawing

This is a controversial procedure that should be done at the same time as spaying or neutering.
Declawing is technically an amputation. In order to ensure the nail will not grow back the entire first phalange, or ‘knuckle’ is removed along with the nail bed.
We only recommend declawing when all other options have been exhausted.

Some alternatives include nail trimming, scratching posts, as well as nail caps.
Nail caps are little nail covers that are blunt and can be glued over your cat’s natural nail to prevent them from ruining furniture. They need to be changed monthly and checked regularly to ensure the nail or toe is not being injured or growing through.

If you are considering declawing your cat please speak with your veterinarian about what options are available to you and we can help you make an educated decision.


Environment Enrichment

We recommend keeping your cat indoors to ensure that they will not come into harms way. There are many infectious diseases that can be transmitted through interaction with other cats and the only way to eliminate the possibility of them contracting these diseases is to limit their exposure to other  cats. This does not mean that they will be bored indoors however, there are many ways to add excitement and mental stimulation to your cat’s environment. Consider these points:

- Putting beds or perches in windowsills so they can look outside
- Putting bird feeders outside of the windows so they can watch the birds
- Putting beds up high. Cats naturally like to climb and sit in high spots. If you don’t have a tall cat perch you can always install a series of shelves on the wall to act like ‘steps’ so they can sit up high.
- Scratching posts. Not only will this save your furniture but it will encourage them to wear down their own nails and satisfy their natural urge to scratch.
- Laser pointers can provide hours of entertainment for not only your cat but yourself as well.
- Having a covered fish tank so your cat can watch the fishies swimming.
- Variety of toys with different textures and sounds such as bells, ‘crinkly’ textures and fuzzy textures.
- Cat nip

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