Tips to bring home a kitty…

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Those tiny cute bundles of joy can steal your heart, the moment you set your eyes on them. But here are a few tips to select a healthy and good-natured kitty.

Sudhersena

In choosing a new kitten, you should be careful to look for several things that indicate good health and temperament.
Bright eyes & clean nose:  First of all, the kitten should have clear, bright eyes with little or no tearing, and the nostrils should be clean. Runny eyes, sneezing or a nasal discharge can indicate a respiratory infection.
Check the breathing: The kitten should be breathing steadily, not with labour or unevenly. If his breathing sounds wrong, it may be a sign of infection or possible something more serious.
Check the ears: The inside of the ears should be clean and free of any discharge. A black, tar-like discharge in the ear canal usually indicates an
ear-mite infestation, while a pus-like discharge is often seen if there is a bacterial or yeast infection.
Pink mouth: The mouth and gums should be pink, with no evidence of ulcers or sores.
Glossy coat: The coat should be glossy, and there should be no bare spots, dry skin, dandruff or any evidence of external parasites.
Overall look: The kitten should not be too thin or have a protruding belly, since either condition can indicate the presence of internal parasites or some other medical disorders. If possible, make sure the kitten has normal, well-formed faeces. Be sure to check that the kitten’s rear is clean. If they seem to have diarrhoea, this could be a sign of illness or allergy. Diarrhoea is more dangerous to kittens than to cats because they get dehydrated quickly.
Socialisation check: The kitten should be friendly and comfortable with people. A physically sound kitten is active, bright, responsive, rambunctious and eager to join in play. If a timid kitten is the one who captures your heart, you will need to take extra time and handle him very gently to bring him out of his shell, but it is possible.
How about two? It is always better to adopt two kittens instead of one. Kittens need interaction with other kittens. They will learn how to play with each other and have better socialising skills.
Bringing home…
Once you set your heart on a kitten, bring him home in a well-ventilated box. He should be kept in a quiet room with all doors and windows shut so that there is no escape route. Remember the kitten would be highly stressed. Make a bed for the kitten. Let him stay in the room till he feels comfortable to move out of the room. Keep a sand tray for toilet training the young kitten. Also, keep plenty of fresh water and food. If you have other pets, introduce the kitten gradually to each other and under your careful supervision. Also, please remember that a kitten is not a toy for young children. So, always supervise them in their company. Around eight weeks, your kitten needs to be vaccinated against feline distemper. Consult your veterinarian and start the vaccination schedule.
A lot of patience and good care will make the kitten grow into a happy and a healthy adult and bring lots of happiness and love into your life. Happy pet parenting!

(Sudhersena is volunteer at the Blue Cross since 1998 and an avid animal lover, pet parent of nine cats and three dogs. She is associated with a number of animal welfare campaigns and programmes.)

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