Getting a new kitten?

Dreaming of a new ball of fluffy kitten is one thing, but choosing the right breed can be a more intricate decision than to get a new cat. Choosing the ideal breed for your specific lifestyle is more than just walking in, choosing one and walking out with a new cat. The best choice of breed should be carefully deliberated.

Breed-specific

Each breed has its own characteristics. Consider whether your breed of choice is associated with any specific health problems. Your breeder should be able to give you a rundown of the positive points of the breed and the possible weak points that could cause health or character problems in the future.

Is this breed vocal? Or would you prefer a quieter companion? Do you want a breed that needs little maintenance or are you prepared to groom your cat on a daily basis? Some cats are more restful than others and may enjoy a good cuddle. Independent cats enjoy their freedom.

Look at the full picture and be aware of what you are prepared to deal with in your home situation. Research your choice of breed extensively. Speak to other people who own the breed and ask them questions. A reputable breeder should have no problem referring you to past kitten buyers.

Ask about grooming needs for the breed. Are there any special requirements? Take time to be taught how to groom your kitten should she have a long coat. Get tips on what grooming tools will be best. Be honest with yourself about whether you will continue this all-important routine in your own home.

Screen the breeders

There are breeders and then there are ‘breeders’. Not all breeders are reputable and responsible, so you’ll have to screen very carefully before you buy. Be aware of the so-called ‘backyard’ breeders, the ones who are only in it for the money. Such breeders care more about their pockets than the welfare of their own cats and kittens they offer for sale. Ask the breeder if he or she is willing to share information on the kitten’s care after you take her home. This can be an invaluable resource.

Tom or queen?

This choice will be influenced by if you have a cat at home already, to minimise conflict. Choose one with a sex opposite to the cat at home. If yours is sterilised there will be little difference. Ask your veterinarian for advice if you have many cats.

Meet the parents

Make enquiries about the parents of the kitten. Do they have the type of character traits you would be likely to enjoy in your own kitten should she grow up to be just like them? Certain breeds have a list of common character traits, but each kitten’s individual personality may vary. Take careful note of the parents – are they healthy and strong? You should be able to expect to take your new charge home in excellent health.

Questions to ask the breeder

On the day you pick up your kitten, ask the breeder the following questions:

  1. DIET – what is kitty’s current diet? You will need to continue this for a few days and introduce a new diet slowly if you wish to change to another brand. The food you select must be specially formulated for kittens. Kitty’s diet is a big factor in keeping her in top-notch condition and helping her to build a strong immune system.
  2. VACCINATION AND DEWORMING – Has my kitten had her first vaccination and deworming? Be sure to get the vaccination certificate from the breeder with all the necessary medical history completed. If the mother has a good vaccination record, she will have imparted good immunity to her suckling young. Check when the next shot is due.
  3. REGISTRATION AND MICROCHIPPING – When will I receive my cat’s registration papers? Also, check if the kitten has been microchipped.
  4. ROUTINE AND LITTER BOX TRAINING – What is kitty’s daily routine? What toys does she enjoy playing with? What cat litter is kitty used to? This can be important, as some cats don’t enjoy changes to their litter and may stop using the box.
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