CARE OF YOUR CAT OR KITTEN
It is not wise to acquire kitten younger than 6 weeks as a pet, as it will require considerable attention (bottle feeding and so on) and orphans have a high mortality rate at this age.
When adopting an adult cat, it is important to keep it inside the house for at least 3 days before allowing it access to the garden. By then it should know that your place is “home”. Many people have released new cats immediately, only to have them run away.
At about 8 weeks of age, a kitten will require 3 to 4 meals daily, consisting of finely chopped fish and/or minced meat. Its diet should be varied to include baby food or Nestum mixed with a little milk (soya bean milk is best as cow’s milk can cause diarrhea), to a porridge-like consistency. Vitamin tablets can also be given. As the kitten grows, the amount of food should be gradually increased and the number of meals reduced until the kitten is about 5 moths old and can be treated as an adult.
A full grown cat requires 2 meals a day at regular times. These can consist of fish and/or meat (including offal), cooked and cut up in small pieces with the addition of small quantity of cereal food. A mixed diet should be given as fish and meat alone can result in skin disease. Tinned cat foods are convenient but should be varied with fresh food. Some dry cat food should be available at all times. It is very important that kittens and cats always have clean drinking water available.
On no account should the cat be given meat or fish with sharp bones inside, as these can be swallowed, puncturing the stomach or intestines causing an agonising death.
The ears of the cat should be regularly inspected and clean with a cottonwool bud. At regular intervals, your cat or kitten will need to be dewormed. Your vet can check the faeces and advise you on this. Your cat should have access to some grass as they sometimes eat this as an emetic.
If ever the cat appears unwell, stop eating or gets thin, seems to be in pain or is generally unhappy, qualified veterinary attention should be sought.
Kittens should be innoculated at about 8 to 12 weeks for both feline infectious enteritus and feline influenza; the two serious cat diseases which can be fatal. These should be boost annually – your vet will advise you. A cat should be brushed daily, if possible, to remove excess hair which can be swallowed while washing and cause fur balls to accumulate in the stomach.
If the cat acquires fleas or ticks, these can be dealt with by using a special powder, available at supermarkets, and chemists, which should also be dusted over its bed and basket. The bedding should be thoroughly washed.
Cats and kitten should have the run of the house and access to the garden. Kittens should be carefully watched and only allowed outside under supervision, preferably after the meals to perform their toilet. If this is not possible or if the animal is to live in a flat, a dirt tray should be provided. This is ideally a plastic or metal container about 15′ by 10′ and 3′ to 6′ deep. It should be filled with sand, sawdust, or a similar commercially available grit for this purpose. If the cat or kitten is shown the tray, it will always use it provided it is cleaned daily.
The cat or kitten can be provided with a basket or box to sleep in. Newspaper or an old cloth, which can be discarded if necessary, are all that is required for bedding.
Spaying and Castrating
All pet cats and kittens should be spayed or castrated to prevent the thousands of unwanted kittens which are born every year. Kittens can be spayed or castrated at 4 to 5 months of age. A neutered cat makes a much better pet than a cat in its whole state, and will be more happy and contented animal. Neutered male cats will not roam at night, get into fights or call out after females. They will not spray around the house or have that typical “Tom Cat” smell. The female cat is capable of breeding from the age of about 6 months. All attempts at mating, are successful and result in average litters of 6 kittens. The gestation period is 9 weeks or 60-65 days. As the cat will come into season immediately after giving birth, she can have 3 litters a year. This means the average cat can be responsible for at least 18 unwanted kittens every year. Neutered females will not continually come into season., be bothered by the attention of male cats or call out for a male cat when in season.
Cats can live for 10 to 16 years and some much longer. Owning any animal is a big responsibility that cannot be taken lightly. The cat must be fed and watered every day and looked after. It must be taken to a vet for immunisation or if it gets sick. Arrangements must be made to board the cat if you go away (the SPCA has a boarding cattery) or re-homed if you leave the district. Do not leave it to roam the streets as a stray, living a miserable existance, eventually to get sick and die.
the one we met at Kenduri Whiskas …