Most people prefer to get a kitten when they decide to increase the family with a cat. Kittens are adorable, soft and playful. Here's everything you need to know when a kitten is on the stairs.
The kitten must be at least 12 weeks old
According to current legislation, a kitten must stay with its mother until it is 12 weeks old. This is because cats learn their social skills from relatives, including primarily mother and siblings. It is illegal to take kittens from their mother before they are 12 weeks old and the result can be cats that cannot behave socially; both among other animals and humans. A cat cannot be marked in the same way as a dog, and kittens under 12 weeks have not acquired the necessary skills and will therefore be at risk of being nervous, aggressive or unclean.
Always make sure you have visited your kitten before picking it up. Preferably several times. On the one hand, your kitten can get to know you a little in a safe environment, and on the other hand you can ensure that the kitten is healthy and comes from a proper home. Always look for ears, eyes and fur, and assess the mother cat's temperament and health. Your kitten must be vaccinated and dewormed before you pick it up.
It is important that your kitten gets a proper feed that contains the nutrition and vitamins that a small kitten needs in its growth. It is recommended to give dry food intended for kittens for at least 12-18 months. It could, for example, be Hill's cat food for kittens. It may be a good idea to bring some food from the kitten's previous home, so that you can mix it into the feed you choose yourself and thereby avoid stomach problems in the event of an abrupt change. Feel free to mix the feed for a week, where the mixture weighs more and more towards the side of the new feed.
If you choose a quality feed, you do not need to give minerals and vitamins alongside. It is also easier to get the cat cleaned. This is because the cheaper types of food contain fillers that the cat cannot absorb, which contributes to more frequent defecation.
Most cat owners focus on cleanliness from the start. If the cat is at least 12 weeks old when you pick it up, it should be reasonably clean. Minor accidents may occur; especially at the beginning, when the kitten has to get used to a new home, new people and generally being separated from its mother and siblings.
Make sure the litter box is accessible. If the kitten starts to urinate or defecate elsewhere, you move it to the litter box. Also feel free to move pee and faeces with you, if possible. Don't scold your kitten by accident. It doesn't understand how to make connections, and scolding will have a negative effect on your relationship. The cat will become insecure, and insecure cats are more likely to remain unclean.
Vaccination and worming
Your kitten must be vaccinated and dewormed when you take it over. Deworming is given for the first time at 5-6 weeks of age and again at 10-11 weeks of age. From there, your cat must only be wormed as a treatment for proven disease. The kitten must be vaccinated for the first time at 11-12 weeks of age and again 4 weeks later. From there, it must be vaccinated once a year. The vaccination protects your cat against cat flu, coryza and cat distemper.
It is not a legal requirement to have your cat earmarked, but it is a good idea. That way, you can be contacted if your cat has gone missing and is found by others. Any vet can check the ear tag, which is a code that is tattooed into the cat's ear under general anesthesia. The code must be registered with the Danish Cat Register. The ear tagging can take place at any time, but it is recommended to have it done in connection with neutralization, where the cat is still under anesthesia.
Unless you have a desire to have kittens, it is always recommended to neuter your cat. On the one hand, it typically helps with cleanliness, especially in male cats, and on the other hand, it relieves streaking. In Denmark, many unwanted kittens are handed in or left behind at animal welfare organizations every year, and therefore it is a very good idea to make an active effort to avoid getting kittens that were not planned. It is recommended to have your cat neutered when it is sexually mature, which typically happens at 6-7 months of age.
Unlike many dogs, most cats have no problems being alone at home. Cats are not decidedly herd animals; they can easily live alone, but they can also behave in a pack. On the other hand, they require stimuli. If it is an outdoor cat, the stimuli will come quite naturally in the form of hunting, but if the cat is typically indoors, it will be necessary to have toys that can simulate a hunt, e.g. toy with a feather at the end of a pole for the cat to chase. If the cat is to be alone a lot, it can be considered to get another cat. Possibly two cats from the same litter.
An understimulated cat can result in a lack of cleanliness or the cat destroying things in the home. Cats also have a great need for stimuli in the form of contact – either with humans or other cats.