tips for new owners
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Health Care Tips
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Jean Mills, in her book on Bengals, recommends confining a new kitten to a small area, such as a porch or bathroom, until it has used its litter box unerringly and knows where it is. She says that expecting a tiny kitten to locate a litter box in a large home after being carried around, is like setting a two-year-old child down in a museum and saying, "find the bathroom." Also remember: do not use clumping litter, young kittens lick their paws and will get diarrhea.
All cats kept as pets should be neutered while still immature. The teeth should be cleaned and checked for unshed baby teeth. Unaltered males become noisy, and usually begin to mark their territory with a pungent, foul-smelling urine. Most veterinarians urge the surgery before seven months of age. An unaltered female will make piercing cries on a three-week cycle. If not mated she may spray the walls just like a male does. Heat periods last about 7 days. Veterinarians have a saying, that an adult female is either altered, in season, or pregnant! The spaying operation is quite safe and is cheapest if done before maturity. It is quite expensive if done during the heat period or pregnancy.
Keep the toilet lid down, a young kitten can drown in a toilet.
Do not give the kitten milk unless it is the formula for kittens, available in the pet stores or from the Vet. It should not need this. use cooked chicken breast, with out skin or fat, as a treat. bottled water helps to prevent diarrhea. This would be especially useful when traveling to cat shows as water in other locations may upset their system.
Good food is required as the bengal, occicat, and Savannahs are a muscular, active and high energy cat. I add a variety of vitamins, minerals, prozyme, calcium, super blue green algae, and L-lysine. My cats however, are breeders and under more stress than the average cat. I have changed my opinion on this question. I believe cats are carnivors, not omnivors like dogs are. Carnivors have a short gut, and are unable to absorbe much nutrition from carbohydrates. They need meat! A cat in a field or in the wild will eat mice, etc, and will eat them raw and whole. They will not chew on the grass. Nature gave them teeth to tear raw meat, and they swallow much without chewing. I use a commercial grinder and buy roasts, steaks, what ever I can find on sale. I also use rabbit, organic chicken, a little heart. This is all ground up raw with the bones left in the chicken and rabbit. No, it will not hurt them. Cats gorge eat, a large amount and then may not eat for a day or two in the wild. They do not need dry sitting around to snack on, and this is what is causing diabetic cats. If I had the money (we all can dream right?) I would feed my cats nothing but fresh raw meat. I do add a supplement to the raw diet and they get calcium from the ground bone. I add some small amounts of canned pumpkin, wheat bread ground up, Bone meal, and wild tracks supplement. They love sprouts, I buy them several times a week and put on the side of the plate.
It is wise to keep the tips of the claws clipped flat with with a guillotine-type clipper. This is easy of the kitten was taught to permit it while still tiny. Be careful and take only the tip. Once clipped too short, causing pain, the cat may grow wary of having its claws clipped.
Give your kitten a lot of attention, handling, petting, playing with. As much as you have time for, it is a good investment in the personality of the cat. Cats are a little sensitive sometimes. A busy home with lots of young children, noise, and dogs etc may be overwhelming for a cat, let alone a young kitten. Give time, and space of their own, where they feel safe. Time in a laundry room etc. is not a bad thing. Children should be supervised. I have seen kittens injured by well meaning families. A child will pick the kitten up around the middle, and it gets scared, starts to hold on with its claws, and the child will toss it across the room. I had one kitten with a bloody nose and injured shoulder after such an encounter. A child should be taught to carefully pick a kitten up supporting its bottom and rear legs on the second hand. Always move slowly and non threatening toward a cat or kitten. If you allow a child to chase the kitten, it will learn to run from people, is that what you want?
I am the mother of three and grand mother of 6 and great grand mother of 1. I love kids. However, it drives me nuts when parents bring a 4 year old in and want to let them pick a kitten. They usually cannot make up their minds, it is a big decision and one parents should make. Older kittens are better for young children, they are gentle, and more ready to play. They are more socialized. I know it looks cute for a little child to have the littlest kitten, but it is not a good Idea. The child may learn to dislike or hate the cat or kitten because it will scratch or bite them in self defense.