Denson Kitten Husbandry

Kitten Care

When you get your kitten(s) home for the first time they will be more than likely nervous and unsure of their surroundings. It would be best to place them in a warm quiet room on their own for an hour or so with a litter tray, so that they get used to the smells and noises that are strange to them. Offer a little food and water later. Gradually introduce them to the other members of the family and then any other cats or dogs. They must have a place to retreat to. They need to feel safe. They will come around in their own time and get curious. Do not force anything on them. This can cause them to be timid and frightened. Please do not leave kittens alone with other animals in the house until you are sure they will come to no harm.

Feeding

Your kitten is on three meals a day at present. Cut back to two meals a day when fully grown. A good varied diet is best to avoid boredom on the part of the kitten and to suit your own available time and finance. The amounts required for healthy growth will vary from kitten to kitten, so allow your kitten to eat as much as it wants. Only the exceptional kitten is so greedy that it overeats. Fresh water must be available at all times and must be changed every day.

Food Additives

If your kitten is receiving a balanced diet of good quality cat foods, these are not strictly necessary, however, if you are feeding home cooked foods to your kitten, they MUST be supplemented with a general vitamin / mineral supplement.

Present Diet

My kittens are given Aldi Kitten food 3 times a day with Royal Canin Dried Food at all times - plenty of fresh water must be supplied at all times.Other good quality of kitten foods are acceptable. Different brands of food should be introduced gradually to avoid upset tummies. Your cat should be healthier and should shine with health if given a good diet.

Freshly cooked chicken, turkey, rabbit or fish makes a nice change. (Please be careful with fish. All bones must be removed). A little tinned tuna is OK as a treat but not good to give it too often as it will upset the vitamin balance in the kitten’s diet. Tinned pilchards or sardines are also nice for a treat. In the case of wet fish, it needs only light cooking but never serve up raw fish. Occasionally I give scrambled egg and a little bit of cheese. Do not forget the vitamin and mineral supplements with fresh food. When giving dried food only, make sure that your kitten drinks enough water. Dried food can be left down at all times so they can nibble and is especially good if you are going out for a few hours.

When kittens are about 9 months they can go on to adult food.

A word of warning - please do not try out things like curry or smoked food or chocolate with you cats. All can do damage to their stomachs or intestines. Chocolate is a poison to cats and kittens. If you are unsure about what to give them it would be best to stick to food designed for the job.

Foods given at present

  • Aldi kitten food
  • Royal Canin kitten dried
  • Cooked chicken, turkey and white fish

Worming

Kittens need worming for roundworms about twice a year. Tapeworm should not be a problem in kittens unless there have been fleas on the kitten. Treat accordingly where necessary. Your kitten will have been adequately wormed for roundworms when you collect him. You will need to worm again when your kitten is six months old with a preparation from your vet.

Fleas

A product called ‘Frontline’ is available and having used it on all my cats, I have found it to be excellent. You can obtain ‘Frontline’ from your vet - or off the internet. It will treat worms, tick and fleas with a monthly simple spot on application. There is also ‘Advantage’. If you experience an invasion of fleas, you must also treat your carpets and cats bedding with a spray. Ask your vet’s advice on what to use.

Litter Tray

Your kitten has been used to open and plastic hooded litter trays and all types of cat litter. If you experience a breakdown in litter tray habits, try changing to a finer clumping type litter. It is a matter of trial and error sometimes. If your kitten should toilet in a corner of the room, clean the area thoroughly with biological washing powder dissolved in warm water (don’t use bleach) and place a dish of food on the area. They will seldom mess where food is placed. Lime or lemon peel are other useful deterrents.

Scratching Post

All cats need somewhere to scratch. To save your furniture from being the focus of attention, it is a good idea to provide a suitable scratching post for your kitten. There are many suitable ones readily available from pet shops. Whenever your kitten decides to sharpen his claws on your favourite chair, gently pick him up and place him on the scratching post. It won’t be long before he understands what to do. Never hit your kitten or cat. This will only confuse him and if done on a regular basis he will become frightened of you.

Bedtime

Whether you will be able to leave your kitten alone on his first night is doubtful! Most cats will ultimately find their own favourite places, (mine sleep on the bed usually). Nevertheless, provide somewhere for him to sleep where he can feel secure and warm and can be easily accessed by a small kitten. This can be in its simplest form of a cut down cardboard box, open at the front or a more elaborate basket or pet bed. Line it with something that can easily be washed. Vetbed is a good choice or there are some very distinctive designs of duvet beds available on the market which are also very good. Another option is the lined igloo type which offer the cat security and are also cosy, being open at the front only. Also good are the radiator or wall-mounted cradles. re the radiator or wall-mounted cradles.

Safety

(1) Collars: Your may be inclined to put a collar on your kitten especially if you intend to let him outdoors - I put them on mine to stop them taking birds birds. I have all my cats micro-chipped. It will cost about £25 but you only do it once. If your cat wanders off or gets lost he can be traced if handed in to a rescue centre or the vet. If you move house, you must also advise the microchip agency of your new address. It won’t, of course, safeguard him if he is stolen. If you must put a collar on your kitten/cat , please do not put it on too tight. When placing a collar on his neck make sure you can get three fingers between the collar and his neck.

(2) General: The safety of your kitten in the house is also paramount. Being aware is very important. Always check washing machines, tumble dryers, cookers and the like before operating them. Be careful going through a door which could close quickly behind you. The kitten could get caught in the door. Toilet seat lids should be in the down position at all times. Kittens have been known to drown in the toilet bowl. When running a bath, do not let the kitten have access to the bathroom. Make sure he is safely in another room. Kitchens are a hazard to kittens. I keep my cats out of there when I can as it is very difficult to protect them from all the hazards. Flowers in a vase are at temptation for kittens to chew and some of these are poisionous. Lilies, I believe are particularly dangerous so please keep your vase of flowers out or reach from your kitten. Better not to have flowers in the house at all. I rarely have flowers in the house but when I do, I put them on top of tall cupboard or in a room where the cats are not allowed.

Sewing needles and cotton thread are very dangerous, so keep these locked away when not in use. Dettol and Savlon should never be used near a cat or to clean trays out with. Both are poisonous to cats. Dettol contains phenol and Savlon contains benzalkonium chloride. I use bleach and/or the supermarkets own pine disinfectant but I make sure all dishes and equipment are well rinsed and dried before use. It is also important to guard electrical cables from sharp young teeth. In the garden there are hazards.......................

If you intend letting your kitten outside, please be wary of the road even if it is quiet. Kittens and cats do not have any road sense. There may be mice in a field across the road and the temptation really is too great for them not to go there. It really is only a matter of time before they get run over and killed or badly injured. If you have room in your garden I would recommend building a run for them as it is much safer than roaming around near the road.

There is a system now available called ‘Freedom Fence’ if you wish to allow your kitten/cat outdoors. It could save their life. Please have a look on the company’s web site for information. www.freedom-fence.co.uk or call them on 0800 716351.

If you observe the rules that you would follow with young children then you can’t go far wrong. REMEMBER A LITTLE CARE CAN PREVENT ACCIDENTS AND COSTLY VET’S BILLS!!

Please remember that if your kitten appears unwell at any time or has sickness or diarrhoea it can deteriorate VERY quickly, so please consult your vet immediately if you are at all concerned.

If you have any queries about their health or diet, please contact me on:01394 286848.