Cute and cuddly kittens

Cute and cuddly kittens

Having a new addition to the family isn't always planned - sometimes it's the big round eyes and quiet meow that pull on your heartstrings, and before you know it you have a kitty companion for life.

If you have made the decision to adopt a new kitten, it's a good idea to make sure you are getting a healthy one. Look for a playful, confident, clear-eyed kitten that is doing all the "normal kitten things" like playing, eating well and using a litter tray.

Ideally your kitten will have been introduced to, and be using, a litter tray already. When you take your kitten home, show it where the litter tray is located and let it scratch and explore it.  Try to place your kitten in the tray after meals, after waking up from a sleep and after playing to remind it to use the tray.  Make sure the tray is kept very clean - kittens are clean animals and will not want to go to the toilet where the tray is soiled so will seek elsewhere to go (like behind the couch!).

Kittens need to be wormed every two weeks until they are twelve weeks-old, then every month until they are six months-old, then every three months for the rest of their lives. When giving your kitten a worm treatment you should make sure you are treating it with a suitable product - not all products are safe to use on kittens.  You also need to make sure that you have an idea of how much your kitten weighs, you can do this by weighing it on your kitchen scales or bringing your kitten into the vet clinic.

Flea control is very important in such young animals. If kittens are infested with fleas, they can become severely anaemic from the fleas ingesting their blood.  Apart from the risk of anaemia they also cause skin irritation and can carry tapeworm.  To ensure you don't get a flea problem in your household, you should flea treat all of your animals, all year around - not just in summer.  We recommend using a good quality topical application, on the back of the neck - don't hesitate to ask what will be best for your situation.

Vaccinations are important to help prevent some illnesses such as "cat flu" or "snuffles". Your kitten will need the initial vaccine and then a booster injection three to four weeks later. Usually after their initial course as kittens they will then need a vaccine every year or second year.

The oldest cat in history lived to the grand old age of 38 years old (!) however the average moggy usually lives until around 14 years of age. If you get a kitten, just remember they do grow up, and depend on you to keep them happy and healthy for the rest of their kitty lives.