Buying a kitten
First of all, does a kitten suit your lifestyle?
Cats are popular and fun pets that are relatively easy to have. However, it is important that you think carefully before you get a cat. Does a cat suit your lifestyle? Think about your family situation (children, other pets) and your home. Do you have enough time to take care of a cat? Can you afford to offer the cat the appropriate care? Where will the cat go when you go on holiday? These are all things to consider.
Taking care of a cat takes time, and you will always have to factor your cat into your decisions. Cats can get relatively old and will still need care in 15 to 20 years. They have to be fed at set times and their litter tray needs to be cleaned regularly.
What to look for when getting a kitten
When buying a kitten, it is important that you carefully consider the breed and your expectations of the cat. Do you want an indoor only cat, or a cat that spends most of its time outside catching mice? Not every cat can be an indoor cat. Some cats love to cuddle, and others don't like it at all. Some cats are more active than others. Some cats are very vocal, when others are not. It is essential that you choose a cat with characteristics that suit you, rather than one that looks pretty. The character of the kitten in the nest is an initial reflection of the character that the kitten will have as an adult cat. Some kittens are more enterprising and energetic than others. It is also important choose a good breeder. A good breeder won't have too many litters at once, will ensure that the mother cat is present and will allow the kittens to grow up in a homely environment.
Breed and character
You can choose a pedigree cat or a no-breed "European Shorthair". If you are considering a pedigree cat, it is important that you research the breed's characteristics, and not just the way the cat looks. Every breed has its own qualities and these define the cat's character. In addition, there is a difference between the cat's size or coat type (long-haired or short-haired). You can find information about this from the breed association for the relevant breed.
Healthcare during the 1st year of the cat's life
You have chosen your kitten, but what do you need to know about its healthcare?
Every kitten needs a basic vaccination schedule to help build up an immunity against a number of life-threatening and contagious diseases (Feline panleukopenia virus (FPV), cat flu). The schedule that is used for this recommends vaccinating the kitten at the age of 9 and 12 weeks.
In addition to vaccinations, the kitten should also receive regular worming treatments. We advise that you worm kittens at the age of 3, 5, 7 and 9 weeks. After that, you can give the kitten monthly worming treatments. It is then sufficient to worm your cat 4x per year, or create a tailored schedule based on a faecal examination.
It is important that you check your kitten for fleas every now and then. If your kitten has an itch, or is suffering from bald patches, you can use a flea comb to look for fleas. If you find black dots in its coat, these can be flea faeces. Put them on white kitchen roll and wet this. If the black dots turn red, they are flea faeces. This is because flea faeces contain undigested blood, because fleas suck blood. If in doubt, make an appointment with your veterinarian, as (s)he can advise you in the area of flea treatment. Various flea treatment products are available on the market. Please not that not all products are suitable for young kittens!
It is important that you choose a high-quality kitten food to feed your kitten during the first year of its life, to meet the nutritional requirements of a growing animal. Cats can sometimes be a little picky when it comes to their food. Some love variety in flavour, and other cats prefer wet food to kibble.
You can take out insurance for your pet in order to cover any veterinarian costs. Ask the insurance companies for the conditions and premiums. You can also choose to create a "piggy bank" for your cat, to cover unexpected costs such as surgery or emergencies.
What do you need for your kitten?
To meet your cat's basic needs, you need a nice cat bed, a good food and water bowl and a litter tray. Vetsend offers various cat beds and pillows to meet cats' wide-ranging demands for their bed. One kitten loves to hide, the other likes to curl up in a basket. Vetsend also has a wide range of drinking bowls and food bowls. Some cats like to drink from a fountain or flowing tap, so you might consider getting a drinking fountain. To feed the cats in a more active and playful way, you can use the Catit Senses Feeding Maze. This is highly suitable for indoor cats that need more challenge and/or activity. In addition, Vetsend offers various types of litter trays. There are open and closed litter trays. Some cats prefer litter trays without a top, while others prefer more privacy. The general rule for the number of litter trays in your house is: the number of cats +1. In addition, a scratching post is a useful item for your home, especially for indoor cats. A scratching post also contributes to the prevention of unwanted scratching of your furniture, for example. A travel basket is essential for transporting the cat to the veterinarian's or kennel. Toys are also essential. If you want to take your cat outside every now and then, or if you want to allow your cat to gradually get used to the outdoors, a cat harness is highly suitable for this. If you'd rather let your cat roam freely, you can attach an ID-tag to your cat's collar.
Raising your cat
Socialising your cat
The socialisation period of a cat is really important. This is the period during which the cat learns sociable behaviour. It includes interaction and communication with other cats, other animals and people. It also involves the cat getting used to daily things like being picked up, stroked, using the litter tray, playing and getting used to normal noises in the house. The first socialisation period will take place when the cat is still with the breeder.
At home, the cat will have to stick to a number of (house) rules, such as not jumping on the table or scratch the sofa. You should clearly indicate these limits, such as by raising your voice or clapping your hands. You should also provide your cat with plenty of alternatives, things that your cat can jump on and scratch. This will help prevent the cat from misbehaving.