There are two aspects to keep in mind once you have adopted your new family member:
1. Keeping them (and other animals) safe through responsible pet ownership, and
2. Looking out for their health
Being a Responsible Cat/Kitten Owner
Selecting your new cat(s) or kittens(s) is just the first step – your pet will be dependent upon you throughout their lifetime for love and care and this is a serious and long-term commitment. It is your responsibility as a cat/kitten owner to ensure you comply with relevant legislation.
Most local councils have stringent restrictions on responsible cat ownership.
- All cats/kittens should be registered with your local council. This assists in ensuring that your pet is safely returned to you in the event that they are lost or missing.
- Cats should be confined to your property – particularly at night when they are at greatest risk of being involved in car accidents (and also pose a great risk to our native wildlife) – consider outdoor enclosures or cat-proof fencing which allow your cat/kitten to have fresh air but keeps them and other animals safe at the same time. This also protects relationships with your neighbours! Most councils have penalties for cats located in other properties.
- Ensure your cat(s)/kitten(s) are appropriately cared for if you are going to be away – consider a local cattery if you will be away for extended periods.
Looking After Your Cat/Kitten
It can take some time to learn when your new cat/kitten is feeling off-colour, but this is something all owners must look out for. Below are indications of a HEALTHY cat/kitten:
- Clear, bright eyes;
- A damp but clean nose;
- Ears – free of any waxy or other discharge;
- Clean, shiny fur
- Provide plenty of human companionship;
- Ensure your pet has a clean and comfortable bed;
- Take your cat/kitten for annual vaccinations
- Establish a relationship with your vet – have regular health checks and contact the vet with any concerns about health
- Provide good-quality food that supports their immune system, prevents dental issues and urinary disorders
- Ensure your cat/kitten has access to adequate amounts of fresh water
- Treat your cat/kitten for worms according to their age;
- Use a good quality flea treatment at any sign of fleas (flea dirt is seen as brown specks in the fur and if placed on a damp cotton wool ball, will dissolve and leave bloody streaks). Remember to treat any other animals and even the household to prevent infestations!
- Give them lots and lots of love!
Kittens and Cats at home
Your new cat or kitten will spend a lot of time exploring when they first come home. It’s important to make sure that all rooms are safe and ready to receive your new family member. Keep in mid the following:
- Make sure electrical and telephone cords are not in reach – kittens in particular can be attracted to these as a chewy toy!
- Keep other sharp objects (like sewing needles, toothpicks, etc) out of harms way;
- Ensure chemicals are in cupboards that are kept closed so that inquisitive noses can’t get to them!
- Don’t allow your new pet to have access to food scraps – much of the food consumed by humans (including chocolate!) is dangerous to the well-being of animals, as is the plastic wrapping that many items come in;
- Make sure candles and oil burners are not lit in a place the kitten can reach by jumping (which as we all know, they’re very good at!)
- Don’t forget to put that toilet seat down!
- Plants both inside and outside can be hazardous to animals, so make sure your garden doesn’t contain any toxic plants and contain your pet if using poisons like weed-killer or snail pellets.
- Fish tanks should have a secured lid
- Make sure curtains or blinds with cords are not in reach – these can be a choking hazard.