For the month of January, Lawndale Veterinary Hospital decided to make kittens our major ‘Paws to Protect’ focus. If you are a kitten owner, or if you are considering adopting a kitten, or if you just love kittens, then you should check out our brand new ‘Paws to Protect’ section on kittens!
It’s no surprise that having a kitten around can supply owners with an abundance of smiles and laughs. A kitten can turn pretty much anything into a toy: rubber bands, pencils, the tail of a dog or cat housemate, children’s toys, an owner’s long hair dangling in front of them, a leaf floating by outside the window, a crumpled piece of paper, bottle caps, the plastic around the lid of a milk jug, etc. Kittens also provide us with a lot of memorable moments! Some of our team members shared a few favorite kitten memories:
- Julie says her friend gave Julie’s cat the name Tucker – because the kitten fell asleep standing up one time when she was all ‘tuckered’ out! (And the name stuck!)
- Dr. Burnett shared a memorable picture from when a client brought a litter of kittens into the clinic in a clear plastic container and they were all snuggled up closely.
- As a kitten, Alice’s cat Dennis liked to help Alice’s husband Ed work by sitting on Ed’s shoulders.
- Jamina remembered a time when her kitten got into a bag of bells and strings. The bag somehow got attached to her tail, so the kitty made quite a scene as she ran off!
- Morgan adopted her cat Nadja two years ago as a kitten. At the time, she also had a big adult male kitty name Cornelius. Nadja would try and nurse off of Cornelius sometimes, and he never got mad at her.
Some would say that adopting and training a kitten could be easier than adopting and training a puppy. Sure, you don’t have to take them outside multiple times a day to use the bathroom, and they usually pick up on litter box training quickly. So in some ways it can be easier to raise a kitten. BUT, there is still a lot that pet owners can learn about kitten care to help those kitties grow up to be happy, healthy, and well-behaved adults! For example:
Carrier Acceptance: Teaching your kitten to accept and use the carrier will minimize anxiety when the carrier is needed to transport your kitten.
Play Biting and Scratching: Redirecting your kitten’s play biting and scratching into other acceptable behaviors can work to minimize this behavior becoming a problem in your adult cat.
Declawing Alternatives: Exploring alternatives to declawing can help you find other ways to keep your cat from scratching and ruining household items.
Safety: Learning to “kitten proof’ your house can prevent many accidents and emergencies.
Prevention: Early wellness and preventive care can keep your kitten healthy and protected.
Socialization: Early socialization can help your kitten accept and tolerate a variety of situations, people, and animals (which can mean less anxiety, less behavioral problems, and a better adjusted adult cat!)
Environmental Enrichment: Providing your kitten with environmental enrichment can minimize behavioral problems, keep your kitten happier, and keep you entertained!
Nutrition & Healthy Weight: Feeding premium kitten food in appropriate amounts can contribute to life-long optimal nutrition and a healthy weight. Overweight cats can have reduced life spans, and they can be at risk for health problems like diabetes, heart disease, and joint disease.
Litter Box Training: Utilizing the appropriate number of litter boxes, placing them correctly, and scooping them at least daily can help minimize future problems with inappropriate urination.
Spaying and Neutering: Spaying or neutering your kitten in a timely manner can help prevent several medical and behavioral problems, and you will be doing your part to help stop pet overpopulation in our area!
If you have questions about your kitten, don’t hesitate to contact us today. We want to help you be successful in raising a happy and healthy kitten!
Author: Dr. Clarissa Noureddine, DVM, MS, MS