Hey everyone!I hope this week finds you well, I really don’t have any big updates for this week, so who am I kitten? Let’s just get into it! (Since starting this blog I’ve adopted the humor of a middle-age Golf dad, and for that I won’t apologize.)
This week’s topic is kitten behavior, so this is for everyone getting ready to adopt, or those who want to learn more about their furry friends- and what their norm is.
Kittens develop much in the same way human babies do! This means that there are sequential stages of play that define how kittens are building physical and cognitive skills. Let’s break these down, but dokeep in mind that everything develops at its own pace, and these are just outlines, not strict timetables for development and play.
First comes what’s called social play. This is typical for kittens, because up until they are weened, most of kittens interactions have been with their mother and/or siblings. These interactions are playful, and they essential teach kittens what is socially acceptable when playing with other animals.
After weening, kittens typically start showing more interest in the objects around them: probably because they’re no longer fixated on their mother as a primary source of life. This is so creatively named object play. In this stage, kittens will usually start figuring out the patterns of hunting. A lot of their play will involve chasing and stalking, and they’ll be very interested in moving objects or things they can bat around. I once dropped an onion on the floor in the kitchen and had a heck of a time trying to get it away from my dear, crazy cat.
This stage of play is associated with the development of eye-paw coordination, as well as their hunting skills. Though I can say as a long-time cat owner, most of mine have been entirely useless. I once witnessed a near 20-minute battle between my cat and a bug. The bug won.
Last comes the stage of locomotor play, and this is very influential for the development of balance and agility. This stage is typically fully developed by 10-12 weeks.
Keeping your kitten stimulated is highly encouraged to promote their development! Kittens frequently prefer smaller toys, as well as things they can roll around such as a small ball. Play with string or warn, while movie-quality cute, is not recommended. This is because if your cat manages to swallow a piece of it (And if they can, they will), it can cause damage to their intestines. That’s something we definitely want to avoid, for the sake of your fur-baby and your wallet. If you’re not sure what toys are best, ask your vet or take a look at these:
Another tip for playing with your kitten- don’t encourage them to play with your hands. While this seems cute when they’re young, it’ll lose its charm when they start using claws and teeth. If your sweet kitten starts thinking that your hand is an acceptable toy, it’ll be hard to break the habit. The easiest way to avoid a kitten that goes after hands, even just in play, is to discourage the habit from the start.
We always encourage that you play with your kitten, in fact it’s recommended that kittens be handled anywhere from 15-40 minutes a day! However, just like people, kittens need downtime too. If it seems like your little friend is getting agitated or overtired, give them some time to recuperate. The best way to interact with your kitten is too play until they get too tired or seem overexcited. Make sure they know what boundaries are set up by putting them to bed if they start getting nippy or play with their claws out. Cats have to be trained just like dogs, and everyone will be happy if there are clear rules in your relationship, as well as if they have quiet time to themselves.
Spaying and neutering always remains relevant. It’s one of the most important ways to keep pets healthy and happy, and to avoid any unexpected surprises. With dogs, we recommend spaying/neutering be done anywhere between 6 months - 1 year, and the longer you’re able to wait the better. This isn’t the case with cats, though. As crazy as it sounds, cats can go into heat starting at just four months old. F o u r months! That’s why we suggest having spay/neuter procedures done between 3-4 months of age. Here at Lee Shore, it’s built into our policy that spay/neuter procedure costs are included in the adoption fee. If your pet isn’t old enough to have the surgery done while in our care pre-adoption, we’ll reimburse you for up to fifty dollars to cover the cost!
If this article peaked your interest in adoption a lovely kitten- you may just want to click this link: https://www.leeshorerescue.com/cats.html
But more on our special girl, Nova, later… We still have a featured pet article for this month, after all!
Wishing you the best, I’ll see you all next week for another surprise kitten-topic. Make sure you check back on Tuesdays for new blog posts!
As always, while researching I found a wonderful article! If you’re interested, check it out here:
Hello all, and welcome back to the blog!
Last week’s post was our first installation in our featured pet series- so if you want to read about an adorable dog currently up for adoption- go check it out!
Now let’s talk about our topics for the next few weeks… I guess that the cat’s out of the bag, because we're all about kittens!
We all want our pets to feel at home, so it’s natural to want them to have run of the space. Cats are territorial though, so moving to a new home can be overwhelming. We recommend limiting them to a room or two for the first couple of days or weeks. This will help them better adjust, and give you a little more time to kitten proof!
2. Let’s get down and dirty: litter boxes.
Litter boxes are great. No, I mean it. Litter boxes are great, and I love cats for using them, because it simplifies things for everyone. Logistically speaking, litterboxes are pretty self-explanatory, but we’ll go over a couple key things:
Litter boxes should have 1-2 inches of litter, and to help make your kitty comfortable, we suggest putting it somewhere semi-private. Because, you know, that’s a private matter!
If you’re not sure what litter to go for, check out this article: https://www.petfinder.com/cats/bringing-a-cat-home/choose-cat-litter/
3. Nutrition: This is pretty simple, but make sure your new friend has food and water bowls, preferably located away from the litter. Most cats I know can drink out of basically anything (Mine share my dog’s giant water bowl!), but they are small creatures. Especially if adopting a kitten, double check and make sure the dishes you’re using are an appropriate size.
Okay guys, here’s the big one: meeting the family
If there are multiple people in your house or apartment, it’s crucial to go over rules for interacting with your pet. Some topics to keep in mind are: Letting the pet come to you; not chasing them, avoiding getting in their face (this would be overwhelming for anyone- let alone an animal in a new situation!), and being gentle when petting/picking up your new pet- especially relevant if there are younger members of your household.
If there are some youngin’s who will be around your new pet, you may want to consider monitoring the beginning interactions.
5. Kitty Claws: We all face the fear that a new pet could be detrimental to furniture- this doesn’t have to be the case though! Cat’s claws need to worn down, otherwise they can get uncomfortably long and your friend may start using your favorite chair as a scratching post. There’s a simple fix to this though, get an approved scratching place! This could be as simple as some fun cardboard, or you could go all the way with a cat tree with a scratching post. Here’s a fun one with catnip: https://www.amazon.com/Catit-Scratcher-Catnip-Jungle-Stripe-Lounge/dp/B0032G6VVQ/ref=zg_bs_2975247011_1?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=B0GTGDZ519YPWKEHKGZ6
Or a super fun post with a toy: https://www.amazon.com/Paws-Stuff-Tall-Scratching-Interactive/dp/B07BY385RX/ref=zg_bs_2975247011_9?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=B0GTGDZ519YPWKEHKGZ6
6. Sibling Rivalries? We went over introducing family members, but now let’s talk about other pets. We all want our pets to get along, and though it’s a delicate process, it ispossible. And you can do it! Delicate doesn’t necessarily mean hard. First thing’s first: Let your new pet get comfortable in your home. Moving in is overwhelming, so introducing other pets to an already stressful situation is not ideal. Give your new pet a chance to look around and get used to things. This will also give your pet time to get used to the scent of any other animals you may have in your house.
Like with kids (fur-babies, amirite?), introduce them under supervision, and keep them in a controlled environment. If you have a dog, it’s probably ideal that it stays on a leash during the first few meetings. I also recommend keeping feedings separate. Again, cats are territorial, so immediately putting them with another animal may cause feeding anxiety, which we definitely want to avoid.
Make sure you praise good behavior! This isn’t hard because… I mean, we all praise our pets. They’re just too cute not to. However, it is important that they know when they’re doing something right, and praise will reinforce the behaviors you want them to keep up.
7. Safe Spaces: we’ve all seen how much cats love boxes.
Need I say more?
Seriously though, cats love to cozy up, especially in semi-enclosed spaces. Cat carriers are great choices, especially if they’re familiar with one in particularly. Other good options include cat trees with little nooks, or, as shown above, a good ol’ box.
Personally, my boyfriend’s six (6!) cats all love these: https://www.amazon.com/Best-Friends-Sheri-Small-Cuddle/dp/B01FOB5I3I/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?hvadid=243374397992&hvdev=c&hvlocphy=1021017&hvnetw=g&hvpos=1t1&hvqmt=e&hvrand=7940568717547789009&hvtargid=kwd-410350724080&keywords=cuddle+cup+cat+bed&qid=1554149185&s=gateway&sr=8-1-spons&psc=1
Alright Folks, that’s all for this week. Thanks for tuning in! Come back next week for more tips on Cat Care (I’m going to have to trademark this), and comment any questions!
PS, these are articles I found super helpful while writing this week’s feature:
Joy Shanahan is a student at Appalachian State University with a passion for community service. She can be found in the dance studios at ASU or researching helpful animal tips for Lee Shore.