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Your new kitten

A new kitten quickly becomes part of your family and can change your life forever! Owning a cat is a delight but is a long term commitment and a significant responsibility. There are important measures that you should take in the first months of life to ensure the long term health of the newest member of your family.

1. Where do I get my New Kitten?

Many of the new kittens we see are 'exotic' or pedigree breeds from petshops and breeders but domestic short hairs (DSH) make wonderful pets and there are many in local welfare agencies that need a good home -they usually have the advantage of having had a thorough health check before being put up for adoption. Standards of petshops and breeders range from the very good to the very bad. No matter where you get your kitten, before you take it home look at it carefully for signs of ill health. Do not purchase kitten that is coughing or sneezing, or has obvious eye or nasal discharges, or looks very quiet or weak, or has evidence of diarrheoa around the rear end, or is very thin, or has skin sores. If it is being kept together with other kittens, look at them for obvious signs of disease as well. If you have any doubt, book a 'New Kitten' appointment with us before you agree to final payment. The cost of getting a pre-purchase 'Body Check' is a fraction of what it costs to treat and can avoid the terrible heartache if the kitten does not survive. Taking a sick kitten home can also be a risk to any other pets you might already have. Remember to ask has it been dewormed or vaccinated. As it is so important to inspect your kitten before you buy it we do not recommend buying pets over the internet.

2. What do I feed my kitten?

Do not take a kitten home unless it is fully weaned. We suggest that it should be six weeks or older when you get it. Good quality petshop dry and /or canned kitten foods are balanced complete diets and are the best option for most kittens. Small kittens may need dry food to be soaked. You do not need to give them milk substitutes or vitamin and mineral supplements – indeed it may be harmful to do so. Most cats eat 'little and often' through the day so it is ok to leave food available all the time. A simple rule of thumb; if a kitten finishes all the food you give it you are not feeding it enough! Give more!

3. Health care – Vaccinations.

In Hong Kong we recommend that cats get vaccinated against Feline Herpes Virus (FHV), Feline Calicivirus (FCV) and Feline Panleucopenia Virus, also known as Feline Infectious Enteritis (FIE). These are combined in one vaccine commonly known as the "Cat flu vaccination". The usual schedule for a kitten is an injection at eight, twelve and sixteen weeks, but we can advise you what is most appropriate for your kitten.

4. Health Care – Deworming.

A kitten should be dewormed once a month until it is six months old. This is important for the health of the kitten and also to minimize the risk of transferring worm infections to humans. Adult cats should be dewormed every 3 to 4 months. It is important that the worming medicine you use is a broad spectrum medicine that kills both roundworms and tapeworms. We know it is sometimes hard to give tablets to cats so we have safe and effective 'spotton' preparations! Ask us for advice.

5. Health Care – Flea control.

Fleas are common in Hong Kong in both urban and rural areas. They cause direct skin irritation, transmit serious diseases to pets and can affect humans. Every cat in Hong Kong should be on monthly preventative flea 'spotton' treatments. This can start as early as six weeks. Please feel free to ask us for advice!

6. Exercise and environment.

Playing with your kitten is important for your relationship and it also provides exercise and stimulation. There are many fascinating toys for cats available and it is a delight to watch them having fun! Cats are happier and have less behavioural problems when they are not bored. Provide them with scratching posts, hiding boxes, window seats, elevated places from which they can look down on the world - they are natural climbers. Make sure it has fresh water all the time and keep the litter trays clean. Ask us for advice!

Summary.

We know from experience that there are many other things you may want to know about caring for your new kitten. We are here to help you and are only too pleased to answer your questions. Call us!!