Although obtaining a kitten may be a particularly attractive proposition because of its playful and endearing personality, taking on a young cat also involves extra responsibilities.

Finding a kitten

Pedigree kittens

  • Be prepared to find a breeder and pay a substantial sum of money.
  • To find a suitable breeder you can contact the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF).

Non-pedigree kittens

  • Animal welfare charities may ask you to make a donation towards their running costs.
  • Advertisement boards in your veterinary practice or a local newspaper.
  • It is NOT a good idea to obtain a kitten from a pet shop as they often carry diseases and can be very stressed.
  • Try to see a kitten with its mother and brothers and sisters.

Choosing your kitten

If you get a kitten that is already carrying a disease, it may never recover full health and the treatment may be expensive.

A healthy, happy kitten will:

  • have clear bright eyes, clean nostrils and ears, a shiny coat and have a good body condition, but be NOT pot-bellied
  • be active and playful and comfortable with people

Information to find out

  • Whether the kitten has been vaccinated. If yes make sure you have a vaccination certificate signed by the vet.
  • Whether the kitten has been treated for fleas or worm. If yes, with what and when.
  • What sort of food the kitten has been eating. Avoid changing the diet suddenly.

Necessary equipment

  • carrying box
  • food and water bowls
  • food (a complete kitten diet)
  • comfortable bed
  • litter tray with litter
  • toys
  • a grooming brush or comb

Settling in

  • Your kitten will need plenty of love and attention until it settles into its new home.
  • Show it the litter tray and its feed/water bowls that should not be too close to the litter tray.
  • If there are young children in the house, they must not become overexcited or treat the kitten like a toy.
  • All doors, windows and cat flaps should be shut and the kitten should not be allowed outside for at least 2-3 weeks, until it has completed all its necessary vaccinations.
  • Until it is fully protected your kitten should only mix with cats that are already fully vaccinated and known to be healthy. If you have other pet cats or a dog these should be introduced gradually to the kitten.

Further care

  • Cats should be neutered at six months of age, but some females can be fertile at five months old.
  • Arrange to have your kitten neutered promptly to avoid health problems and unwanted kittens.
  • Kittens must be wormed on a frequent basis every four weeks until six months of age. Older cats may be wormed every 3-4months.
  • Once your kitten has had its first course of vaccinations it will need an annual booster vaccination.
  • Regular daily grooming for long-haired cats is highly recommended to keep their coat in good condition and is easier if your kitten is used to it from an early age.
  • Your vet may be able to supply you with a finger toothbrush that is often easier to use in cats.
  • The eyes and nose of long-haired breeds or persian types may also need to be wiped occasionally with damp cotton wool.
  • Register your new pet with your vet as soon as possible and visit the practice to get advice on routine health care and neutering before problems develop.

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