Q: Please give inputs on different areas of kitten care.
– Vrushali Makarand Pandit, Pune
A: Dr KG Umesh: Cats are solitary animals and like to spend some time alone. Best time to bring home a kitten is when they are six weeks old or more. A small box with high sides placed in a warm, draft-free location is an ideal environment. The floor should be padded with washable towels or disposable papers. The first few days after your kitten comes home, continue to feed the food she’s used to have, to help prevent tummy upsets. Then you can gradually introduce a new food. Growing kittens have specific nutritional requirements, and the simplest way to fulfil them is to buy a good quality complete diet from a reputed manufacturer (for example, Whiskas dry or wet). Play is the key to kitten learning – and also provides exercise. It develops their physical and mental abilities, strengthen their muscles and increases their social skills. Make time to play so that she can continue to develop her ‘cat skills’ – like stalking and pouncing. Toys should be small and light enough to bat and carry around in her mouth – but not small enough to be swallowed. Short-haired kittens only need grooming once or twice a week, but long-haired breeds need at least 15 minutes every day. Until your kitten is used to being groomed, keep sessions short, and make her stand on a folded towel, to help her feel secure while you brush her. There are vaccinations (from age of nine weeks with two booster every three weeks) and deworming that will protect your kitten from a number of serious and highly infectious or parasitic diseases. Lastly, your kitten needs to learn the house rules–proper training, litter training and socialization (introduce to everyday sights, sounds people, etc). Consult your vet for further information and vaccinations schedule.