Bringing Home a New Kitten
The first few days of your new kitten’s life with you should be quiet days. Most likely it has just had surgery and now needs to familiarize itself with a totally new environment, complete with new sounds, smells, perhaps children and a resident cat or dog. ASAP can provide you with literature to help you introduce your kitten or cat to resident pets. We also maintain a small library of articles pertaining to cats and kittens. Come in for a visit and a browse through our file cabinet in the lobby.
Confine the kitten in a room close to its litter box. Remember, small kittens may not find the litter box in time if given too much space to roam. Also, It is easier for the kitten to feel comfortable with you and its new surroundings if it can take its time exploring every nook and cranny.
We recommend feeding your kitten a good quality food such as Precise Kitten or Wellness Kitten Food for its first year. These brands are only available in pet stores. Kittens adopted through the ASAP program are old enough to eat kibble, but most veterinarians recommend that cats have a daily meal of canned food. Kittens need to be fed 3 times a day or have kibble available between the morning and evening wet meal. KEEP FRESH WATER AVAILABLE AT ALL TIMES!!! Do not give kittens (or grown cats) milk or cream. It causes diarrhea.
Inexpensive clay litter works well for kitten’s cat pan. Never use the clumping variety while they are young. It has been known to stick to their noses and feet. When licked, off it can create a non-digestible lump in their intestines which could need surgical intervention–if diagnosed in time.
Kitten proof your home. Toilet lids need to be kept down. Watch the mop bucket. It is possible for kittens to drown in them. Rubber bands, needle and thread, ribbon, string, yarn, tinsel, Q-Tips and other small enticing items could mean surgery or death. If a glass breaks, lock your kitten away at once. Their natural curiosity can send them running straight into danger. To varying degrees, most house plants and picked bouquets are poisonous to cats—and they love to chew on them. You will find artificial plants a better decorating choice now that you are owned by a cat or kitten. Kittens love to play in silk flowers too, but at least they won’t send your kitten to the vet!
Your kitten will be teething on your possessions. It will chew on book corners, papers, baskets, etc. The kitten is not being bad and harsh discipline will only cause it to avoid you. A squirt bottle is an effective training tool. Provide your kitten with safe toys. The most loved and cheapest cat toys are pipe cleaners loosely coiled into a ball, paper bags and paper balls. Invest in the tallest scratch post you can afford. It will save the furniture as well as provide you and your kitten with hours of entertainment.
Most important, keep your new friend inside where it is safe from the many dangers of our modern world. Kittens need the safety of your home for AT LEAST A FULL SIX MONTHS. Studies have clearly shown that the indoor cat lives a much longer and healthier life than its outdoor buddy.
Due to their size, kittens are at great risk of being attacked by birds of prey both at night and during the day. Coyotes are a major factor in all parts of Santa Barbara. They came out of the hills in the last drought and the recent fires have only made them more desperate. They live in ALL PARTS of the city and county and their numbers are increasing and they are growing bolder every year. If you insist on allowing your cat outside, do so only when you are there to supervise. PLEASE, make sure that dinner is served indoors before sunset and is the signal to stay inside for the night. The morning is not safe from coyotes until the sun is high in the sky—if then. Stories of sightings and daytime cat killings are heard all too often at the Shelter. We don’t want you to be one of the many people we talk to daily who is looking for their lost cat that, “never leaves the yard.”
ASAP volunteers are eager for you to have a long and happy life with your new pet. Please come by with photos and cat stories. Your stories and photos are shared enthusiastically at our monthly meetings