Top Tips for Buying a New Kitten

Posted in , | by | on 3rd October, 2016
  1. Don’t buy from an internet advertisement- get a kitten from a charity or a breeder instead. If you can’t find a kitten, you may be looking at the wrong time of year- cats are seasonal breeders. Charities which re-home kittens (and cats) include:
  2. Check your kitten for signs of ill health before adopting including:
    • Eye discharge
    • Nasal discharge
    • Sneezing
    • Diarrhoea
    • Pot belly
    • Stark coat
    • Hair loss
    • Avoiding the above can save you quite a bit of money in unexpected vet fees!
  3. Your kitten should weigh approximately 100g for each week of life. Be wary of apparently 8 week old kittens which only weigh 4-500g. Either the kitten is much to young to leave its mother or it has been (and may still be) ill.
  4. Check that your kitten has been regularly wormed (every 2-3 weeks from birth until 12 weeks old) with either Drontal or Panacur- the breeder should be able to tell you the dates of worming.
  5. Check that your kitten or its mother has been flea treated prior to adoption (with a product that is vet approved). The breeder should be able to give you the product name and exact dates.
  6. The general environment in which the queen and litter are kept should be very clean. They should be kept away from other cats to prevent spread of disease.
  7. If there are other cats in the household, they should look healthy.
  8. Kittens should not be re-homed before 8 weeks of age at the very earliest. Kittens which are hand-reared or separated too early from their mum are more at risk for behavioural problems when older. Most breeders of pedigree cats will not allow their kittens to be re-homed prior to 13 weeks of age.
  9. If buying from a breeder, check that the kitten has been well socialised with different types of people, different household noises, the car (and cat carrier), and if you have one, a dog.
  10. Kittens should be vaccinated against flu, enteritis (also called panleukopaenia or feline parvovirus) and leukaemia (FeLV), with vaccines at approximately 8-9 weeks, 12 weeks and 16 weeks. Their first annual booster is also very important to ensure ongoing immunity.
  11. Lifelong pet insurance is highly recommended. Get it set up right from the beginning and get the free breeder’s insurance if possible (kittens are quite often sick in the first week after adoption, and this can be quite expensive- insurance may cover you for this although sometimes it does not ‘kick in’ for 14 days after the start of the policy)
  12. A trip to the vet within a day or two of adoption is highly recommended for a full health check, a review of preventative health care and recommendations for feeding.
  13. If you already have a cat, see here for information on introducing your new arrival.
  14. It is now recommended by both charities and feline experts to neuter cats prior to 4 months old, which in some cases is only weeks after you first adopt your kitten. This makes sure that your kitten never goes through puberty and does not accidentally get pregnant (or make another cat pregnant). Cats do very well when they are neutered at this age.
  15. Kittens should be kept indoors until after they have fully recovered from neutering, as they will then be old enough to defend themselves outdoors.
  16. Make your kitten a bed in your cat carrier. The cat carrier will be your cat’s ‘safe place’ for evermore, and a source of comfort during those stressful trips to the vet, groomer or cattery. Buy a large cat carrier- remember that tiny kitten could grow up to be a huge cat!
  17. If your kitten is long-coated, start grooming daily from the day you bring it home.
  18. Ask the breeder for some cat food, so that you can gradually introduce the kitten’s new diet, to avoid a stomach upset. Kittens should be eating a complete commercial kitten diet appropriate to their age. We like Royal Canin, Purina Pro-Plan (or Purina One), Iams, Eukanuba and Hills Science Plan.
  19. We recommend collars on all cats (particularly non pedigree) to avoid confusion with strays.
  20. Microchip your kitten as soon as possible (at the time of neutering is good as long as it is at the recommended age of 4 months or younger). Even indoor cats can escape.

Finally, enjoy your new arrival!