Thank you for your interest in kitten/cat care. I have put together this information that I have found to be very useful when caring for our new family members. These suggestions arenít the only way to care for your kitty but have proven to work well for me. I will cover the following things in this packet: Vaccinations, Food, Litter and Grooming.
VACCINATIONS are very important in keeping your kitty healthy. On your contract I have stated when the last shot was given to your kitty. I do another shot at 16 weeks for my cats because I have a multiple cat household. Always follow the protocol your vet recommends. Actually the 2 doses of vaccination is sufficient until their annual booster, according to the manufacturer of the vaccines BUT it is a good idea to keep your vet happy too! LOL!!! When I vaccinate I use a 3-way shot which is an all-killed shot. This shot protects your kitty against Feline Rhino, Calci and Panleukopenia (Feline Distemper).
I do not vaccinate against Feline Leukemia because it isnít 100% effective and I know of people that have had problems resulting from it. In fact, one of my precious babies that was in a pet home died from this vaccination. I do have my cats tested for it and by doing this and NOT letting your cat be exposed to other cats that arenít tested seems to be the best way of prevention.
FEEDING your kitty can be a lot of fun! Finding a food that your kitty likes and one that you know is good for your kitty is a real challenge sometimes! You want to avoid giving your kitty table scraps because this doesnít provide your cat with the proper balance of nutrients. You may be killing your friend with kindness by doing this. Instead be sure to provide them with a diet that is designed for the age and activity level for your cat. Problems can occur when changing foods around. This can irritate their systems and cause loose stools. If you feel the need to change their diet do it VERY gradually. Take at least a couple weeks to do this. Also MILK is NOT part of the diet for a kitty! Not all cases but quite a few get a very upset tummy from this and then get loose stools. This is no fun for you or your kitty!
Not meaning to promote any certain name brands but I have had very good luck with IAMS Lamb & Rice, Chicken Soup For The Cat Lovers Soul, and Felidae cat foods. I found the cats really get excited when I open up a new bag of these foods (especially the Chicken Soup foods!) and they are also made of quality ingredients. STAY AWAY from foods that have corn as one of the primary ingredients! Your cat wouldn't prefer to graze in the corn field if given the choice, so why give them food made with this product? It is a cheap filler for pet food companies and it doesn't help our cats live long and healthy lives, in fact it probably takes away from their health!
A happy, healthy kitty makes me happy! :-D
LITTER is a very important subject! Nobody wants their friend using the house as a giant litterbox! It is also important for the health of young kittens to NOT use clay scooping litter for them. Kittens have been known to eat the litter and the clay scooping kind will turn to cement in their tummies and will cause them to die. PLEASE be sure to use regular clay litter or a natural corn/wheat based litter for your kitten. What I personally use is Kent brand "extra egg" poultry feed that can be purchased in 50 pound bags at feed stores and now even Tractor Supply stores carry Kent Feeds. It is a corn/wheat based product that is ok if eaten (although, again, you cat will not prefer corn over cat food made with MEAT!) and it also scoops well. There are a lot of companies that make poultry feed you could use but I have tried several brands and Kent is by far the best! It clumps so you can scoop it well (without clumps falling apart easily!) which keeps the box much cleaner. It is very comparable to Worlds Best Cat Litter which I would also recommend if you don't want to go to the trouble of going to a feed store to get poultry feed. It is MUCH more expensive though. I like to completely dump my boxes weekly (of course scooping multiple times daily throughout the week!) and scrub them and I don't feel as bad dumping the poultry feed as it is inexpensive as compared to the Worlds Best Cat Litter.
You want to be sure that whatever litter you use is NOT heavily perfumed though. Your kitties nose is much more sensitive than ours and when you can smell that nice fresh litter a room away it is to overpowering for your kitty, more than likely, and he will probably choose somewhere else to do his business. You also want to be sure that the box is plenty big enough for your kitty to move around in and that they arenít going to be hanging out over the edges when going! I like the large and extra large covered litterpans and have had good luck with them. Some cats wonít feel comfortable in them though because there is only one exit and so they feel trapped so you really need to see if one is right for your kitty or not.
GROOMING is a very important thing with this breed of cat for obvious reasons! Yes, not all of the Exotics and Persians need to be brushed daily and there are some that have a certain texture of coat that really doesnít mat when brushed weekly. It is important that if for some reason you canít keep on top of the brushing of your kitty that you have him shaved down. Once these guys start to mat you will have one giant mess on your hands! It is also painful for your kitty to be matted because as they scratch at the mat it will ball it up a little bit more and make it a little bit tighter on the skin. I prefer to use a Greyhound comb on my cats. You can find Greyhound style combs in most pet supply stores and catalogs. These will get to the hair next to the skin and will separate any hair that is thinking of matting and is good to use to work out any mats if they occur.
How often you comb your kitty is really an individual thing. I have had some that twice a day wasnít enough and I have had others that weekly was plenty and If you have an exotic you have nothing to worry about! Start with daily, especially with a young kitten, to get them familiar to the brushing routine and as they age you will learn how much is needed for your cat.
Cleaning your cats eyes will also be an individual thing. The lighter colors generally need cleaned more often. The best way to do this is to just take a warm washcloth and wipe away any debris. You do not want to let any tearing accumulate on the kitties face as this will cause the skin to be irritated and bacteria will thrive in this environment. Besides, it doesnít do much for the looks of your pretty baby either!
I bathe kittens weekly mainly because they need it but also to get them accustom to the bathing routine. Adults that arenít being shown usually get a bath once a month unless needed earlier. Yes, bathing your non-show cat is important! If you are interested in a bathing routine for a show cat please get in touch with me and I would be happy to share mine with you. A good maintenance bath though is very simple. I take the kitty to the kitchen sink. I make sure that I have everything that I need handy so I am not carrying a wet kitty around the house searching for anything. You will need a towel, some Dawn dish soap, a tear-free baby shampoo and a washcloth. If you desire you can take a small leash and tie it to the faucet to help hold your kitty in the sink. Then proceed to wet your kitty down being sure to NOT get water inside the cats ears. If you like you can put cotton balls in the ear to help prevent this. Then take a small amount of Dawn Dishsoap and rub into the coat. I prefer the lemon scented or clear kind so that way I donít have to worry about turning my kitty blue! After you get this worked in especially behind the ears and on the rear-end and tummy, you need to rinse and rinse and rinse and then rinse some more! If you spend 3 minutes washing your kitty then take 10 to rinse! When washing the face you want to be sure that you have a good tear-free formula shampoo. You can work a tiny dab of this into the face with an old toothbrush and then use the washcloth to rinse and rinse being careful not to get water down your kitties nose. If you like you can use conditioner afterwards to help detangle your kitties coat. I prefer to use Nexxus Humectress. This will separate each hair and leave it feeling like silk. Again, after applying this though you want to be sure that you have it rinsed out completely. Then you need to towel dry your baby and dry him. You can purchase a dryer made for drying pets or you can use a regular hair dryer. Whatever you choose to use be sure that it blows cool air and NOT hot air. This will burn the kitties skin and damage the coat. You do want to be sure to get your kitty completely dry. Inside the ears and all.
You will want to be sure to trim your kitties nails every couple weeks too. This will help on wear and tear of your cat trees and scratching posts! If you do not trim the nails then they can curve around and grow into the pad of your kitties foot. I also recommend trying every possible means so de-clawing is not needed. Provide plenty of scratching areas for your kitty with either scratching posts and trees, or even inexpensive cardboard scratching posts attract the cats. There are also covers that you can get to cover the nails of your cat. †Some people I know in Feline Rescue are certain that declawing leads to increased litterbox problems.
Dental care is important too for these short nosed breeds. They seem to be prone to buildup on teeth. By just putting a dab of cat toothpaste (available at pet stores) inside the cats mouth works at helping prevent tartar buildup as it is enzymatic. You can do this daily but I have had luck with doing this weekly and being sure to check what their teeth are looking like.
There is so much more to caring for your new friend but I hope that these tips can be helpful. Always remember that you can call me if there is anything at all you need to know. I will do my best to get you an answer!
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