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Socialisation and Play

Ideally it is best to get your kitten from a home where the litter has lived as part of the family in a fairly busy household, as those kittens will be the least fearful of humans and noises. If your kitten’s mother was a feral cat and there was no early human contact then you will need to begin a lengthy process of gradually getting him/her to trust human contact.

 

Avoid too many visitors and loud noises for a few days. There is a plug in diffuser called ‘Feliway’ available from us, which is a synthetic form of the cat’s cheek gland scent. This can help the new kitten feel relaxed and at home, as well as helping any other cats in the house to cope with the new arrival, reducing the risk of them starting spraying urine 

 

Scratching Posts

Cats need to scratch to keep their claws sharp and remove the old outer claw sheaths that shed off as the claws grow. They would naturally choose a textured vertical surface like a tree, which allows them to stretch as they scratch and claw. It also serves a marking purpose as they have scent glands in their feet too which with the scratch marks leaves their ’signature’ for other cats.

When your kitten scratches something indoors it is not done with the intention of causing damage, they have just found a texture they find suitable for scratching! It is a very good idea to teach your kitten from the outset that there is a special place indoors to scratch, such as a special ‘scratching post’. One that comes impregnated with ‘cat nip’ should attract your kitten’s attention. Unfortunately, most posts are not quite tall enough for adult cats' needs, which is why some find flocked wallpaper or the stair carpet more suitable! If this happens, try moving the post near to where they have scratched and if you can get or make a taller post. If this fails covering the affected area with double sided sticky tape will often put cats off scratching that area because they hate the texture on their feet!

Play

If your kitten tries to bite your hands during play you should discourage this and immediately distract them with a toy such as the fish on a rod type. Try to always think to yourself 'would I be happy with an adult cat doing this to my hand?'

They naturally want to engage in chasing and pouncing behaviour as at this age they would have been learning to hunt in the wild, and so you need to give them an outlet for this instinct and energy!

Aggression

Cats can be aggressive to their owners sometimes, as the relationship we have with our pet cat is very much one of ‘mother’ and ‘kitten’, even once they are mature. Adult cats would not in the wild want to interact with people at all, and really it is the fact that most of our pet cats are neutered that allows us to maintain the kitten-like bond with them throughout their life. Your cats’ instincts may make him/her feel vulnerable during petting, and suddenly turn on you unexpectedly. Afterwards they often seem a little bit confused and will usually groom themselves to cope with these emotions. The best way to deal with this problem is to learn to pick up the first signs of your cats unease with body language (flicking/twitching tail, ears rotating backwards) and stop stroking them before they turn.

Going Outside

Even if your new kitten is already fully vaccinated, it is best to keep them indoors for at least 2 weeks initially to get their bearings and get to know their new surroundings and consider them ‘home’ so they are less likely to get lost. The first time you let your kitten out withhold food for a few hours and train them to respond to a rattling food packet in advance so that you can call them in for a meal after a few minutes. Build up slowly to longer periods before you leave them unsupervised.


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