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Kitten Care: Part 1

Bringing a New Kitten Home

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Kittens in a Basket

Kittens waiting for their new home

Franny Syufy
The time may come when you will need all the help you can find on kitten care. This could be by chance: discovering a box of dumped kittens along the road, or by intent: bringing home a litter of feral kittens to socialize them for adoption, or adopting a young kitten yourself.

In any case, unless you are an old hand at kitten care, you'll need all the assistance you can get. This article touches on the basics, with plenty of links to more thorough discussions of the elements of caring for kittens.

Cat-Proofing Your Home

Kittens are inveterate snoops and their favorite toys might be harmful to them: things like the cords on blinds, electrical cords, or yummy (and toxic) plants to nibble. They can also do a certain amount of damage with their little needle claws by climbing curtains or your good furniture. Therefore a certain amount of catproofing will be necessary.

The first thing you need to do is place yourself physically down at the level of a cat, by sitting or even lying on the floor. Look up and around at all the interesting things to play with. From this vantage point you can make a list of hazards and breakables that you will need to deal with.

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Shopping List

Don't wait until you've brought your new kitten home to discover you forgot to buy a litterbox and litter. Here are articles with shopping lists for the essentials you'll need to make life easier for you and healthier and happier for your new kitten.

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The Importance of Quarantine

If you have no other household pets, integrating a new kitten into your home is a fairly simple matter. You'll automatically make it one of the family, and will no doubt spend a great deal of time with it, bonding and generally "spoiling" it.

It's another matter entirely, however, if you have existing dogs and/or cats in your family. First, it's important to quarantine the little newcomer(s) until they have had their veterinary exam, to prevent spreading diseases or parasites they may carry. Feral kittens often have ear mites, fleas, and other parasites. Sadly, they may too be carriers or be infected with FIV or FeLV. Kittens adopted from shelters quite often have URIs (upper respiratory infections), including Bordetella (kennel cough). Even kittens from breeders occasionally may have the former, as often URIs have an incubation period of up to three or four weeks, thus even a reputable breeder may be unaware of this condition.

Next page > The Safe Room and First Vet Visit

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