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What first-time kitten owners should know

What first-time kitten owners should know

Although cats have a reputation for being aloof, they can be very affectionate when they’re won over. Kittens can be wonderful, loving companions as well! Having said that, pets are for life – so they require lots of love, dedication and commitment over their lifespan. A kitten is a living being that has needs and deserves respect. Like babies, kittens need a lot of patience, resources (e.g. time, money) and work from paw-rents.

You may have heard us mention the above before, but it’s worth repeating.
Nowadays, cats can live beyond 20 years. Therefore, kitten owners should not take kitty paw-renting lightly!

There’s a plethora of things for first-time kitten owners to learn, so this article is non-exhaustive. At this same time, this article aims to cover some of the important things that first-time kitten owners should know. So, what are some of the things that first-time kitten paw-rents need to know?

Basic Housing and Cat-Proofing
Like humans, kittens and cats need shelter from the environment. They also need comfort. It’s good to crate-train your kittens (i.e. provide a safe space for them to sleep, eat and relieve themselves). Do ensure that the soiling, eating/drinking and sleeping areas should be far apart enough from one another, as kittens do not like to dirty their eating/sleeping areas. For more information on crate-training, speak to your veterinarian.

It’s also crucial that you cat-proof your house (this involves meshing/grilling your doors and windows etc). Cats and kittens can jump really high - in fact, they can jump up to NINE times their height! This ability - combined with their curious nature - makes them likely to jump out of windows (aka “High Rise Syndrome”). High Rise Syndrome occurs when a pet suffers injuries or dies after falling from a height. Injuries can include broken spines, ruptured lungs and so on. The SPCA Singapore sees about 260 cases each year (with 130 deaths). Since these are just the cases seen by the SPCA, the annual number of cases in Singapore is likely much higher.

Do contact a professional to cat-proof your house before bringing your kitten or cat over!

Basic Diet
Kittens should eat food that’s formulated specially for kittens. Ideally, kittens should receive a combination of commercial wet and dry food. Wet food will increase their water intake, which helps with bladder health. This is especially important for male kittens and cats as they have narrow urinary tracts and are thus prone to urinary issues (including life-threatening urinary blockages). Adult cat food is not ideal for kittens.
Home-cooked food is tricky, as it is harder to ensure the proper balance of nutrients when you cook your pets’ food by yourself. Consult a veterinary nutritionist, for they’re the best people to help you formulate a complete, nutritionally-balanced home cooked diet for your kitten.
If you wish to feed raw food to your kittens, be mindful that there is generally a higher risk of tummy upsets and worm infestation with raw food. So please consult your veterinarian before you introduce raw food.

Pets will benefit from a veterinary probiotic. Examples include Furment CorVet Postbiotics Healthy Digestive Supplement for Dogs and Cats or Pet Ag Bene-Bac® Plus Pro Biotics Pet Gel for Dogs and Cats.

If a veterinarian has diagnosed your kitten with cat flu, you can ask your vet about Lysine Supplements or Medimune Immune Booster Supplement Tablets for Dogs & Cats.

Do note that more supplements for a pet are not always better and different supplements suit different pets better - so please consult your vet before you start your pet on supplements!

Basic Grooming
Kittens require daily toothbrushing and weekly ear cleaning. For teeth brushing, only pet toothpaste must be used. You can consider Oratene Toothpaste Gel for Dogs and Cats and the Virbac C.E.T Dual Ended Toothbrush for Dogs Cats
Human toothpaste must not be used as they can cause kidney failure in pets.

Basic Veterinary Care
As kittens are usually born with high worm burdens, they need a course of dewormers (e.g. Drontal deworming tablets, Troy Puppy and Kitten Dewormer Syrup). They will also benefit from flea and tick prevention (e.g. Revolution). There are specific schedules for these preventatives, and some of them cannot be used in kittens under a certain age. Do check with your veterinarian before introducing them to your kitten.
A course of kitten vaccinations is crucial, followed by vaccine boosters throughout a cat’s life. Speak to your veterinarian for more information on kitten vaccinations.

We hope that this article has helped first-time kitten owners. If you have any further questions, consult your veterinarian for further advice.

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