Cat Care Essentials
The function of cat grooming is to reduce anxiety and conflict; this is also the reason why cats enjoy being petted. If you are petting kittens, they may not necessarily need grooming, but it is important to get them started on understanding the process and accustomed to the procedures, because in a few months, they will need it. An established routine will add to the health of the animal and will give you one more opportunity for interaction. To ensure a positive experience, keep grooming sessions short at first and provide a reward for positive behavior.
Cat nail trimming
It can be easy to keep nails trimmed and, thus reduce the desire for adopters to want to declaw the kitty. You can be part of this solution by getting the kitty used to having his/her paws handled and squeezed. Each time you play with or pet the kitty, touch or hold their paws; choosing which will depend on their level of tolerance. You can use the same nail clippers that humans use or you can use ones designed especially for animals; the preference is yours. It may be easier for you do to this with the help of another person. Always do this in a place with good light. Apply a small amount a pressure to the cat’s paw, until the claws are extended. You should be able to see the pink or “quick” which is a small blood vessel. Do not cut into the pink portion as it will bleed and be painful for the cat. This may need to be done every 10-14 days.
Kitten nail trimming
Kitten nails need to be trimmed as soon as 3 weeks; this keeps them from scratching mama as they nurse or each other (or you) when they play. It also adds one more element of socialization to the kitten’s world. The more used to being handled and being with humans, the more well-adjusted and emotionally calm they will be.
The more you know about a kitty and the better the kitty looks, the better his/her chances are of finding a good, quality new home. Regular brushing not only improves the kitty’s appearance, it helps stimulate healthy skin. It also has the added advantage of knowing one more valuable trait about this kitty as some like brushing and combing, others hate it Flea combs are a must in your repertoire of grooming supplies, and they’re not just for fleas! It helps to get the undergrowth from kitty, and because they are made of plastic, they seldom irritate the skin.
It’s possible you’ll need and/or want to bathe your pet animal. We recommend using a skin conditioning shampoo, but whichever you choose, be sure the shampoo you purchase is designed specifically for cats or kittens.
Pregnancy and newborns
Pregnancy in cats can be as short as 57 days or as long as 70 days with the developing kittens growing an average of 1/8 inch (3mm) per day. Cats do not typically have physical problems giving birth as dogs do. The most common cause of death in kittens is chilling. Be very certain to keep babies warm without direct use of a heating pad. Cleanliness is important with newborns. Always wash your hands before handling them or anything in their environment. Harsh chemicals should be avoided because they may irritate and compromise
Litter box training
Placement is important. Do not place is next to their bed or their food and water; place the box in a quiet location. Adult pet cats with no un-weaned kittens need to be confined for their first days with you. A condo with shelves provides a perfect environment for this. This also provides an opportunity to train or re-train for litter box issues. For kittens less than 6 months use unscented, clay litter. It is also good to have a kitten litter box; these are smaller and have shorter sides than cat litter boxes, allowing the kittens easy access in and out of the box. Since kittens tend to eat the litter, using the scoopable can lead to stomach ailments and expensive surgery when the litter clumps inside them. After each feeding, put the kittens in a litter box. Gently take their paw and scratch the litter with it to encourage them. Be sure to give lots of praise when they first start using their boxes. They may not “go” at first, but this practice gets them accustomed to the idea.
Not using the litter box
First and foremost, don’t chastise the cat or rub his/her nose in it. If you catch the cat in the act, thump on the wall to startle him or her. Then, quietly put the kitty in their litter box and clean up the mess. If you are using the same litter box for other pet cats, you must clean it with an enzyme cleaner. A cat has a much keener sense of smell than you or I. Scooping the box every day is essential. Do not use a cat pan liner and do not use scented litter.
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