Kitten Care

Black Classic Siberian cat.  Low Fel d1 allergen kitten.Exploring our tropical greenhouse.  Lundberg, 2009

Before your kitten comes home, please read and print our Kitten Care Guide.  It covers many things we have learned over two decades of raising kittens.  Problems with foods, allergies, and hazards might cost a Kitten one of their “Nine Lives”.  We know, seven pages without lots of kitty pictures is boring, but your new Kitten will thank you for reading it to them!   =^..=

Kitten Care Guide PDF


REMINDERS

Show your kitty the litter pan, food and water in his new home.
Do not chase the kitten for any reason - allow the kitten to come to you.
If you have ANY concerns about your kitten, please call us promptly.

---------------------------

Dry Foods - Must be “Kitten” quality.
Blue Buffalo - Blue Healthy Growth, Blue Wilderness, Blue Freedom
Fussie Cat Salmon - (sourced from Thailand, may have antibiotic residue.
Taste of The Wild - (must be Kitten grade)
Natural Instincts - Original KittenWellness Core - Kitten Formula

Cat Litter / Litter Boxes
Dr Elsey’s Precious Cat Litter - (unscented type only)
World’s Best Cat Litter - (corncob based, some allergen complaints)
Pelleted Pine Litters - (breaks down to sawdust)
Pet Mate Basic Hooded Litter Box
* Please use a regular hooded litterbox for the first month.

Favorite Toys
Petlinks Silly Chute Activity Tunnel
CoolCyberCats Rat Pack - (buffalo fur mice & toys)
Cats Claw Feline Flyer
Bergen Star Chaser Turbo Scratcher

Grooming tools
Metal comb - standard dog comb
Safari cat brush - soft soft type
Furminator Cat deShedding Tool - (Feline small)
Zoom Groom - (be careful to remove loose fur only)

Waterless Baths & Shampoos
Allerpet Grooming Solution
Four Paws Magic Coat Tearless Shampoo

Digestive Aids - (control of mild diarrhea) 
Biome Food - (vet Rx required)
Blue Buffalo Natural - GI (vet Rx required)
Blue Buffalo Blissful Tummy
DiaGel - (for short term control of diarrhea)
Bene-Bac Pet Gel - (probiotic gel)
Defurr UM Treats - (for hairball control)

Carriers
Marchioro Cayman Clipper #2
Sherpa Original (Airline under-seat carrier)

Training Aids
Bitter Apple spray - for chewing on cords
Scat Mat - keeps kittens off counters or away from doors
Lemon juice & water - keep kittens off counters

Flea Control
Revolution - Comfortis - Advantage 

_____________

NEW HOMES

This is your kitten's first time away from home, and it may be unsure at first.  Please start your kitten in one room (perhaps a bathroom or bedroom) for several days.  Introduce one new room at a time, allowing the kitten to explore on its own.  When it is comfortable with a room, then expand its territory. 

Speak softly and introduce it to family members gradually. Try not to startle the kitty and do not chase the kitten if it runs to hide.  Use a wand toy and teach kitten to come.  

Please do not chase your kitten to pick it up - if you start chasing the kitten, it will learn to run away.  


LITTER BOX

Place a litter pan in the kitten’s primary room, and do not move it around.  If the litterbox will be in a remote location like the basement, add an extra one in a living area for a few months.  If you need to move the litter pan, add one in the new place and leave the old one in its place for several weeks to ease the transition.  If you have other cats, give your new kitten a litter box of its own.  Keep food and water away from the litter box to encourage good habits.

Try several different litters if needed, and find one with as little dust as possible. While the clay clumps more firmly, clay dust will get into your Kitten’s fur and may allergies among sensitive individuals.  Scented litters and litters with “cat attract” often cause allergies. 


STRESS

Your kitty will miss its Mom and litter mates for several days.  It is not uncommon for a new kitten to hide or refuse to eat a few days.   This is OK as long as there is no fever, diarrhea, or lethargic behavior.  Change foods gradually, mixing the new food in with the old.  Food changes may cause diarrhea.  See the list of digestive aids such as Benbac gel which will be available at local pet supply stores.

The kitten may show stress such as: constipation, listlessness, lack of appetite, hiding, vomiting clear liquid, mild diarrhea and crying. If the kitten refuses to eat, try a little Gerber Chicken Baby Food (this brand has no onion, which is bad for cats. This may kick start the eating reflex.  Do not allow non-eating to go longer than several days without calling a veterinarian. 


OTHER PETS

If you have other pets, allow the kitten to settle and be comfortable before introducing other animals.  Do not leave the kitten alone with other pets until you are certain that they are friends (this may take several weeks!).  Give the "old pets" lots of love and attention so they do not become jealous or territorial.

It is always possible that the other pets may not like the kitten using their food and water dishes. Serve in separate bowls for awhile.  Make sure that each cat has their own litter pan.  It is a good strategy to let the animals get to be familiar with the new animal's smell by placing them in adjacent rooms. Let them sniff under the door and play "paws" for a day or so until they want to meet each other.


FOOD & WATER

Your kitten has been eating dry foods, and wet food only as treats. Premium dry foods have regional distribution, so you may need to change brands.  Dry food and fresh water should be available at all times. Siberians develop slowly, so feed a kitten food or premium food for TWO years unless your vet feels your kittens is becoming overweight.

Premium foods have chicken or chicken meal as the first ingredient (not chicken by-products).  The kitten is obtaining its protein from meat rather than cereal.  Foods containing corn, wheat, and soy are poorly digested. Chicken, rice and vegetables are optimal.  We use the following premium foods:     Indigo Moon -  Natural Instincts Raw - Inova Evo - Royal Canin Veterinarian Diets

Canned wet food has both benefits and drawbacks: it may encourage bacterial growth in the gums, but  studies have shown cats tend to drink less water than they need. Canned food does provides additional moisture.  Kittens should not be given cow's milk as most can't digest it properly so will have loose and sometimes bloody stools.  Introduce new foods mixed with the current food.  Start with 20% new and gradually increase over several weeks. . 

We recommend metal or china dishes.  Plastic bowls can harbor many germs in the surface that can cause a condition known as "feline acne."  Feline acne is small blackhead infections in the chin which cause swelling and discomfort and can be very expensive to clear up. Cats will drink more water from a drinking fountain than a dish.  We clean our plastic fountains weekly with a light bleach solution.


TEETHING:

You may find that kitty nips at your fingers and hands.  These may be playful “love bites” or your kitten may be teething.  We have found that letting kittens chew on wood chopsticks takes care of the teething urge, and is satisfying for them.  Keep one handy wherever Kitty joins you on your lap, so you can offer it.  You can also punch chopsticks in the side of a cardboard box at kitty head height to make a great toy.  If you don’t like “love bites” then blowing on kitty’s face will discourage them.


GROOMING

Siberians  present little grooming problems.  Their coats are easy to maintain and a weekly combing is all that is generally needed except during spring shedding..  Pay close attention to the softer hair on the britches and under arms which tends toward matting.  Prior to routine combing, moisten your kitten with Allerpet grooming solution which prevents loose fur and allergens from becoming airborne and provides an excellent waterless bath.

If you have a flea problem, we use Frontline our adult Siberians who are allowed outside on a leash. Some mild shampoos with flea control are also acceptable.  AVOID Hartz Flea Drops as they are toxic.

The kitten can be taught to be accept baths calmly.  We bathe and gently blow dry cats and kittens as needed.  A shampoo with aloe, oatmeal or lanolin will keep the skin from becoming too dry.  If you choose to take your cat to a groomer, ask them about their grooming process.  Do not let them tranquilize your cat, and do not let them leave your cat unattended with a blow dryer.  Your kitten has been raised with love and care, so please find a groomer that will work with you.


INDOOR vs OUTDOOR

Many potentially fatal feline diseases such as Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV), FIP, Feline Aids and respiratory viruses are common in outside cats.  Other dangers include automobiles, wild and domestic animals, and poisonous landscape plants. Many outdoor kittens do not survive the first year.  If you keep your kitty inside, you can enjoy many years with this new friend. Your kitten has had no training in being outdoors, so please do not allow your kitten outdoors without a leash or an enclosed run.  A large disadvantage of introducing your kitten to the outdoors is that the kitten tends to become a pest at the door, looking for opportunities to slip outside.


DECLAWING

We discourage declawing, as it can cause poor litter box habits due to tender feet.  Claw caps are plastic caps that force the claw to remain extended, which is painful for the kitten.  If for any reason you must declaw your kitten, we recommend laser surgery which causes less damage.

Train your kitty to scratch a sisal rope tree and he/she will not claw your furniture.  Get a tree that is tall enough for your kitty to stretch upright on when he/she is full-grown.  Rope is better than carpet.  Have several scratching posts around the house, and during training place them out in the middle of the room where kitty will enjoy getting praise for scratching.


HEALTH CARE

Your kitty will have had one vaccination at around 9 weeks of age, (and perhaps a second series 4 weeks later).  All kittens receive a routine de-wormer and flea treatment if needed.   Kitten will have been examined by our vet prior to leaving our cattery.  Health records will be given to you on pick-up day or sent with the kitten. Our cattery is kept free of feline disease, fungus and parasites. We encourage you to take your new kitten for a checkup with your new vet as soon as possible.  


REDUCING ALLERGIC REACTIONS

Moisten the kitten with Allerpet Grooming Solution prior to daily combing.  This will reduce allergens released into the air during combing, remove excess oils and deactivate allergens.  Frequent grooming with a moistening solution is very helpful in reducing reactions to your kitten.

Bathe kitten twice to four times monthly. This will wash allergens and irritants out of the coat.  Pet shampoo containing lanolin, aloe, or oatmeal will avoid drying out and irritating your cat’s skin.  Dry with a towel and comb. If the cat will allow it, use a hair dryer to warm the kitten and fully dry the fur

Place washable fleece throws on places that kitten likes to sleep, and wash the throws weekly in hot water with detergent and borax to deactivate allergens.

Maintain a calm environment. Cats under stress increase production of Fel d1 allergen. Typical causes of stress include having too many cats in the house, sudden noises or commotion, and a lack of quiet attention and grooming.

Reactions to young kittens from litter box dust are fairly common.  Small kittens tend to play or scratch quite a bit in the litter box and get dust on their fur. Use a dust free litter such as Green Tea Litter, Feline Pine Litter, or Dr. Elseys Precious Cat to reduce reactions.

Clean and change litter boxes frequently as Fel-d1 and other allergens are found in urine and feces. If possible, the litter box should be kept outside or in the garage.  Otherwise, place the litter box in a bathroom or laundry room that can be vented to the outdoors.   Green Tea Litter has ground tea leaves that help eliminate odor and allergens.  Please do not use herbal teas in the litter box.

Place a cat door through a wall and outside or into the garage to make a secure area with a top for the litter box using exepensive wire panels. This will prevent kitten from playing in the garage or escaping.  Another nice options is an outdoor cat run.

Keep your kitten out of the bedrooms of highly allergic individuals. This allows the allergic person a period of recuperation (no exposure at night) and can strongly reduce daytime reactions.

Frequent vacuuming reduces allergen levels. Always clean upholstered furniture at the same time. Air out the house after vacuuming when possible.  HEPA filters on forced air systems are excellent at trapping allergens.  Regularly damp mop hard floors to remove allergens from the rooms. Also wipe counters and other hard surfaces to eliminate dust buildup.

_____________

KITTEN COMMANDS

These are the four tonal commands we like kittens to learn, each with a very different sound.  In time all four command should be fully effective from across a room, just as gentle reminders. The key to developing good behavior is consistent gentle reminders.

  1. KittyCome
  2. KittyNo
  3. NoBite
  4. NoClaw


KittyCome-KittyCome

1) Purchase a long wand feather toy and spend 5 minutes quite a few times a day.  Drag the toy along the floor and say "KittyCome KittyCome"

2) Make a small toy such as a 1" bag filled with rice and sew on a few fluffy feathers or tufts. Slide it gently away from you until the kitty retrieves it, teaching him to bring it back and set it next to you.  throw it again in time you should be able to slide it to another room and he should bring it back repeatedly.  Again, "KittyCome KittyCome”

KittyCome should always be often rewarded with chips of bacon or other little treats.  Find a treat they love - such as fried liver in little chips that are fully dried, or sardines.


KittyNo

This command should be reinforced even from across the room. It's done by clapping your hands and saying KittyNo-KittyNo.  If he does not obey, then use a squirt bottle with a little bit of lemon juice in a small spray bottle with water.


NoBite - NoBite 

Any nipping or biting behavior should be immediately - and gently disciplined.  Immediately blow in their face and say "NoBite NoBite”.  I am very reluctant to increase the ante, as it can cause problems, but if blowing does not cure the situation in several days, then gently tap the kitten on the chin or forehead and say "NoBite NoBite”.  

Do not “Play Fight” or “Tease" kittens in the belly or the flank.   While it seems fun to play with the kitten, it can lead to  severe long-term behavioral issues and biting - especially in males. 


NoClaw

Kittens should learn to retract their claws when they're on your lap climbing up and down. Gently tap their claws with your hand and say "NoClaw NoClaw”.  Over time, this command is very effective across the room, and will keep furniture from damage as well.

_____________

SAFETY

For cleaning hard surfaces such as countertops and floors, the best disinfectant to use is one part bleach to 32 parts water.  Remember a cat is constantly licking their paws and will get whatever floor detergent you use will get on their feet and into their system. Before your new kitty explores its new surroundings please check for the following safety hazards:

Electrical and phone cords -- “Bitter Apple Spray” will stop chewing on cords

Toilet lids left up -- kitten can easily drown in a toilet bowl

Open fireplaces or wood stoves

Open stairways or lofts

Loose window screens

Reclining and rocking chairs -- can crush a kitten that has crawled inside

Long fringe or mini-blind cords -- can strangle kittens

Accessible garbage -- some bones can splinter and injure the kitten’s stomach.

Rubber bands -- if eaten can twist around the intestines

Plastic wrap and bags -- kitten can eat it, strangle on it, or suffocate in it

Cellophane and Christmas tree tinsel (it can cause severe internal lacerations)

Plastic bags

Styrofoam which the kitty could eat

Cigarettes

Needles, pins, and/or threads, knitting and/or crocheting materials

Cat toys -- remove small bells, eyes, other swallow hazards for kittens.

Open appliances - dryers, ovens, freezers, etc.

Keep your workshop and sewing rooms off limits

Photographs -- kittens will lick them

Tape --kittens will lick and try to eat it.

Cleaning products - many are toxic to cats including L


© Meredith Lundberg 2015