Hello, William and Harry here, we all know it’s officially kitten season and many of you may have contact with a kitten or kittens this summer. So we would like to give you some important advice that can help you make those kittens more adoptable or help your cat to be well rounded and accepting to change.
We would like to talk with you about the importance of conditioning and socializing your cat, this is always told to be so important for puppies and sometimes we cats are forgotten. But we know that conditioning a cat is just as important as conditioning or training your dog. Socialization in kittens is usually between two-seven weeks of age. We need to be exposed to things when we are young and more likely to approve of them. If socialized appropriately then later on down the road when we are older we are more likely to approve of different things or changes in our environment. This may seem like it is not a big deal now, however, it can make the world of difference later in our life. So if you’re thinking about adopting a kitten for June’s Adopt-a-Cat month or that litter of kittens shows up on your porch this summer, please consider the following tips.
As many of you may know already, as cats we are a quit picky species. We like to have things done our way. If it is not done our way we have a tendency to make your life (and the veterinarians life) more difficult.
If we are not use to simple items like; bathing, tooth brushing, eating different kinds of foods, traveling, brushing, and being use to a set of clippers then this can lead to traumatic experiences for us or for you in a fight between human and cat when we are adults. When we are young you should give us a bath because if we ever acquire a medical condition that requires bathing we need to be accepting of this. Bathing could be used to aid in some skin conditions or even be used to help clean up a bit of messy diarrhea. If we are not exposed to bathing in our younger years then this is not going to be acceptable in our later years. Who do you think will win if we have all our claws and we hate baths?
Being exposed to and eating all types of food is also an important concept. There are many older cat diseases that eating a special diet can improve that illness dramatically and is part of the doctor’s treatment plan. Therefore, it is important to incorporate wet and dry food into our diet during all life stages. Getting us use to having moisture added to our diet or changing to a prescription diet can be necessary if we acquire some diseases/ailments such as; diabetes, cystitis, allergies, pancreatitis, irritable bowel disease or kidney disease. Some cats have never been exposed to wet food and later they have no interest in eating a moist diet or prescription diet in general and this can impact our health. So you see the dilemma, expose us to different textures and varieties of canned and dry food so that we will be more accepting of diets down the road that may be needed to improve our health and well being.
Hygiene is next on our list and is very important. Therefore, our next helpful hint is to trim our nails, brush us, and use clippers on us while we are at a young age. When you are younger and exposed to these they are a lot less scary when these procedures are used on us throughout our life. We know that brushing cats (especially cats with long hair) can dramatically reduce hairballs. If you are use to being brushed/groomed then when you are an older cat and need assistance from your parents you will be more accepting of their help. The groomer will also appreciate that we are accepting of these things. The veterinarian will also recommend that tooth brushing will improve our dental health and reduce our need for professional interference at an earlier age; therefore if you expose us to tooth brushing at a younger age then you may be able to brush our teeth for the rest of our life!
Remember that just like puppies having many different people young and old play with us, hold us, pick us up and carry us around is important. We will then be more well rounded and use to being held and petted. This may also lead to us being more accepting and social when company is around.
Lastly, exposing us to a carrier and allowing us to go in and out on our own terms will make trips in the car and to the vet less scary. We suggest leaving the carrier available to us and place treats in the carrier or some of our favorite toys, this will make it a happy place and not a scary box that we are afraid and fight to go into.
We hope now that you understand that socializing and conditioning your kitten is just as important as it is in dogs. Remember to get us use to anything you possibly can in the two-seven week period or if this isn’t possible then the younger the better!
Thanks for listening,
William and Harry
Stow Kent Animal Hospital & Portage Animal Clinic
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