We Got a Kitten!
Yes, you heard me right! A gorgeous little bundle of furry, four-legged purr-fection has joined the Paul family. It’s taken nearly TWO YEARS of mature adult discussion, pleading, crying, tantrums, bribery and not-so-clever manipulation to get my other half to come to the kitten party, but he finally agreed! Now I’m going to share with you a little personal moment that shows what a great husband I have. Not that I like to admit it, but lucky for me he’s not an avid Creature Clinic reader! After being 100% adamant we categorically would not be adding any more animals to our little family, and after me having miserably resigned myself to this unbelievable fact, check out the card I opened on our fifth wedding anniversary…
We were out on a very rare child-free excursion, and what does Darren do? He makes me cry into my salmon entree. Right there in the middle of a restaurant.
Granted, it wasn’t a kitten with a big bow around it’s neck, but a very special gesture nonetheless from the man who is “meh” about animals (yet knowingly married an animal-mad veterinarian).
For a long, long time I’ve been especially besotted with Burmese cats. This breed has a well known reputation for being incredibly affectionate and loving. Some people describe them as little cat-shaped dogs, as they aren’t usually aloof at all, instead being super interactive, fun, and overflowing with personality. While they are as soft as could be, they aren’t delicate. I remember examining one sturdy little Burmese at work once and his owner aptly describing him as ‘a brick wrapped in silk’. That summed him up nicely, and definitely brought a smile to my face.
Choosing the Purr-fect Kitten
My advice for anyone considering adding a kitten to their home is to think carefully about not only the attributes they are looking for in their furry friend for the next 15 – 20 years, but also to look at their situation at home honestly and then try to choose a cat who will fit in most comfortably.
For me, having two young kids at home meant choosing a cat with confidence around little people. The last thing I wanted was a poor terrified cat that hid under a bed all day, only emerging after the children were asleep for the night. My personal preference was also for a playful cat that also enjoys cuddles – and boy did I hit the jackpot! It took us a while to name this cheeky kitten, as I wanted it to be just right. He started off as Kevin, but it just didn’t quite seem to suit him. After much deliberating and research, he became known as Loki. Loki is the Norse god of mischief, and if there’s one thing this little guy is great at, it’s mischief.
Other considerations may include the amount of time you are home, whether there are specific personality attributes (playful, bold, quiet, calm) that you are looking for, and whether there are physical attributes you’d really like (I’m a massive sucker for white cats, but that’s a story for another day!) It’s a great idea to research breeds thoroughly if a purebred cat interests you. If you’re not keen on a specific breed, adoption from a local shelter is a really fantastic choice. Not only do you give a second chance to a kitty needing a home, but good shelter staff usually know the ins and outs of the personalities of the cats in their care, and can potentially find you an absolutely purrfect match.
Necessary Preparations for Avoiding Cat-astrophe
I was fairly well set up for bringing Loki home, as I often foster stray kittens until their forever homes can be found, so had many of the essentials already. The really key things are mostly obvious: A litter tray and scoop, and some kitty litter is fairly important – kitty needs somewhere to poop! A bed of their own, food and water bowls, and some premium quality kitten food are also things you should have on hand, although it’s a really good idea to continue feeding your new baby whatever they were previously eating for at least a few days. You can then gradually swap across over another few days if you’d prefer something different. Abrupt changes in diet are a recipe for diarrhoea.
A scratching post is absolutely crucial if you have some nice furniture you don’t want torn to shreds. It’s generally not hard to teach them to use it, and our little man absolutely loves his. While there are numerous options available, the ideal scratching post is stable and tall enough for your cat to stand up and have a scratch while fully stretched out.
Toys are a must. Cats are instinctively hunters and they love to chase and play. Loki’s favourite toys are soft little mousies and fish he can bat across our hardwood floors and carry around in his mouth, but many cats prefer the dangling bird-like fishing toys, or little balls with bells in them, or even just scrunched up paper or toilet rolls! The best toys are generally the ones you play with together with your cat!
These Things are Important for your Kitten’s Health – I’m not Lion!
Every new kitten should be checked over by a veterinarian. You may think I’m just saying that because I enjoy cuddling cute kittens at work, but you’re only half right. A full physical exam will pick up anything that needs attending to or simply put your mind at ease that your furbaby is healthy, and there are some really important things to discuss.
The good news for Loki is that his owner is a vet – woohoo! His health will be informally checked every single day, and I will ensure he gets everything he needs to stay healthy. The bad news for Loki, is that his owner is a vet – noooo! There will be no naughty treats or junk food, no roaming the streets looking for a party to crash, and at the slightest hint of illness he will, among other things, experience the indignity of a thermometer up his rear end. The other bad news for Loki is that his owner writes a veterinary blog. This means he will essentially feel like Britney Spears, running from the paparazzi every day of his life. I have promised him I will only publish the flattering photos though… Mostly. I probably can’t be trusted in this regard though – just ask my dogs.
Loki is Part of the Family
This gorgeous little kitten took less than 24 hours to wriggle his way right into all of our hearts and make himself thoroughly at home. He plays with the kids and he watches them in the bath. He loiters around at mealtimes and does his absolute best to sneak inconspicuously into our bed – under the covers – every night. He’s cozily curled up on my lap right now, helping me to share some of his story with you.
Maybe best of all, he has, without the slightest effort on his part, earned Darren’s affection. He will never admit it – but I see them cuddled up together in the evenings – and I know. And I love it.
Where Can You go for More Cat-tastic Kitten Information?
The good people at Royal Canin have put together a really nice, comprehensive kitten guide. There’s an interactive version and a downloadable pdf – both awesome. Jump over and have a look, and if you’re still left with any questions I’d love to help you with them in the comments below!
This post was sponsored by Royal Canin. They had no influence over the content of the article and all opinions are my own.