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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-18-2010, 01:52 PM Thread Starter
 
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Hi,new kitty owner

Hi,
My name is Danielle,i have recently become the owner of a gorgeous little kitten (yet to be named).
About 4 weeks ago i found 2 kittens behind my garden shed,they were found on the coldest day of the year in about 7 inches of snow and ice,anyway i took them straight to the vets and found they were only 3-4 weeks old,1 male & 1 female...i still have no idea where they came from or how they came to be at the top of my garden.

I've never owned cats before and wasnt sure what to do so i phoned my local cats protection league,they were fantastic but couldnt take them in as they had a waiting list,so i decided to keep them until they were old enough to be rehomed,i spent night after night up with them bottle feeding and comforting them but my husband was adamant that they had to go as soon as they were old enough,as he is far from being a cat lover!

Anyway my friend offered to take the little boy and give him a good home which she has done today...i've never been a cat person either but found myself falling for these gorgeous bundles straight away...so the good news is that my husband has decided today that i can keep the little girl as she has become so attatched to my 2 shih tzu's,they really are her surrogate parents,she sleeps,eats.plays and does everything with them and even rides on their backs,lol

I guess i just felt i had to find this forum for added support in taking care of my kitty the best i can,like i said i have no experience with cats and want to gain good insight into whats best for her in every way...sorry for the long post but im soo excited to be able to keep her
Any advice would be welcome...oh and names would be good also (cant keep calling her kitty!)
Thanks Danielle x
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-18-2010, 02:11 PM
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Re: Hi,new kitty owner

Aww. Bless you!! Yes, I think some don't realize how much they love cats until they are fully exposed to one. I hope your hubby will grow to love her too! Feel free to post with any specific questions. We'd all love to see a pic of the girl and many of us have ideas for names.

You may want to call the vet and start to arrange for a primary provider for kitty. Especially since she is so young, she may have needs albeit temporary during this fragile time. The vet will also help in identifying any active health issues earlier before it gets too costly or uncomfortable for kitty.

I remember getting our first cat in our new home with my bf. He never had one before and was so overwhelmed. This is what we did to accomodate Snowy:
-buy a litter box
-buy kitty litter (our fave is Tidy Cats Clay, it is less allergenic and quite cheap, best odor control I've had)
-buy some toys
-get a scratching post to train kitty to use that instead of furniture early on
-get some food bowls
-get multiple water bowls throughout the house for good hydration
-get a brush
-get a nail clipper especially designed for cats
-get a toothbrush and paste for cats (much easier to train them early and avoids lots of expensive dental care when you brush them regularly)
-treats
-buy a small warm bed
-buy cat food (your kitty will start off with soft and work up to dry if you like)

This is what I taught my bf (lol) as I had a cat as a child:
-provide kitty with a "safe zone" e.g. the bathroom by the litterbox, this reduces anxiety while at the same time helping kitty remember where the box is to avoid accidents
-clean the litter daily
-this encourages kitty to pee and poo more and helps avoid medical complications from doing too little of either
-with clay litter, we scoop out the poo daily and add litter as needed for the pee to be covered, then all the litter
is changed on Sunday, we use pan liners for easy disposal
-not sure if your kitty is litter box trained yet, but I'm sure forum members have good tips
-clean the food and water bowls regularly (I do daily)
-again, encourages eating and drinking
-consistent play and love to socialize the baby
-if there are behaviors you want to curb e.g. scratching furniture, jumping on dining tables etc. I'd be sure to
-very consistently give a stern "NO!"
-very consistently reward kitty for acceptable alternative behaviors e.g. using a scratching post and giving a treat

Hope this gives some start .

Edit: btw, I forgot to mention, you can try going to the local shelter, some of them have nice starter packages for very cheap and often good quality items. Plus, the proceeds go to the shelter!
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-18-2010, 02:48 PM
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Re: Hi,new kitty owner

Welcome to CF, Danielle!
sweetyanna has given you a very good start! Just remember, kittens are different than puppies, in that you teach a kiten, as opposed to training a puppy.
Most forms of negative reinforcement for undesirable behavior is confusing to a cat, Instead, it's better to ignore or redirect the unwanted action, and richly reward the kitten when she does what you want.

I'm sure our other members will chime in
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-18-2010, 04:37 PM
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Re: Hi,new kitty owner

Congrats on the new addition to your family! It's great you made sure these two little ones were going to have a good life. Many of us don't have a lot of experience with cats, so we're learning as we go!


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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-18-2010, 04:43 PM
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Re: Hi,new kitty owner

Danielle, congratulations! You're not the first to be won over by a beautiful little purr machine! Some toys would be nice, especially interactive toys. Just make sure they're safe. Oh, and keep your lap nice and warm, and remember the rule. When there's a kitten sleeping on your lap, you can't get up! Be prepared to have a visitor in the bathroom also. Otherwise, you'll have a very unhappy pet waiting outside the door. It's their job to monitor showers, etc. Enjoy!

Here's a good source for reference:

http://www.tallyville.com/owners.html (Tally's Cat Basics)




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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-18-2010, 06:27 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Hi,new kitty owner

Thank you for the warm welcome everyone
My 11 year old daughter has decided the kitten should be named Eden as she was found in our garden which my dad calls the "garden of eden" as its full of fruit trees etc...
I have already bought all the basics,bed,bowls,scratch post etc...im still not sure about her food though,im giving her wet food right now but have heard that dry food would be better,if so then at what age should i start weaning her on to it?
Thanks
Danielle x
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-18-2010, 06:31 PM
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Re: Hi,new kitty owner

No, no dry food. Don't even let her get started on that. Wet food is better for her

The last time people tried to elimate free roaming cats it resulted in The Black Plague.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-18-2010, 06:32 PM
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Re: Hi,new kitty owner

My childhood cat started to be weaned to dry when she was about 8 weeks. Not sure what the current recommendations are if you prefer the dry route. Calling the vet is also a great source of info, they usually don't charge for calls and in a growing girl who will have rapidly changing food requirements, it will be helpful to determine how much to feed.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-18-2010, 06:55 PM
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Re: Hi,new kitty owner

Please do not start your cat on dry! Contary to popular belief (and YES many vets falsely believe this, too!) dry food is very harmful to your cat in the long-run and can result in a myriad of health problems.

Here are a couple articles that you should read about feline nutrition:
http://www.maxshouse.com/feline_nutrition.htm
http://littlebigcat.com/index.php?ac...needcannedfood
http://littlebigcat.com/index.php?ac...=show&item=004

I don't mean you to drown you in information but I think this is a very important issue.

As for how much to feed, since she is so young there really is no limit. Growing kittens can eat 2-3x as much food as an adult cat (up to, and even more than, 2 5.5oz cans of food per day!), so unless she starts to show signs of obesity I wouldn't worry about it. Since she is so young, feeding her 3-4 meals of wet food a day is preferable; once she gets a bit older (6months?) you can reduce it to 2 times a day. I know it seems like a lot but once she starts barrelling down the halls you'll understand why she needs the energy.

The best kind of canned foods are ones that have no grains, or have them in very very small amounts (if you read the above links you'll discover why). Some good examples are Evo 95%, Wellness CORE, Merricks... I'm sure others will chime in with more suggestions.

As for general "cat ownership" advice... All I can say is love her for who she is. She might meow tons or never say a word, never want to be in your lap or jump in it whenever you sit down, never want to eat anything you offer or steal your dinner. Any way you slice it, she'll be a fantastic companion if you treat her like the princess she is!


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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-18-2010, 10:41 PM
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Re: Hi,new kitty owner

If you take her on car rides, to friend's house, and to the pet store a couple times a week when she is young, there is a good chance she will grow to be a laid back and sociable cat. My sister and I both travel a lot with our sibling cats- Chica and Kovie, and the two of them are extremely well adjusted and nice things.

Begin playing with the kitty's paw, 'every-toe every-day'. If you can get her accustomed to nail trims at a young age, you will both benefit! You won't have to declaw kitty, and her claws will be nice and dull and do far less damage if she does accidently use them. And as an adult she'll be much more calm about you trimming her claws. Do research on declawing if you are even considering it- many people see it as very cruel and for some good reasons. No need to start up a discussion on it, but just look into it before you make a decision on that! Just know that if you -don't- trim her claws, they can get huge and sharp and a lot harder to trim later on, as the quicks grow out.
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