Selecting a cat or kitten

The right breed for you

Selecting the right breed of kitten is very important, you should think about your lifestyle, how much time you will need to groom and care for a particular breed. To find out some of the breeds that may suit your lifestyle see the Select-a- pet website at www.petnet.com.au/selectapet.
Once you have decided what breed of kitten you would like, you will need to find a kitten. If you would like a Pedigree Kitten you will be able to contact the Cat Controlling Body in your State to enquire about cat clubs. Registered breeders are subject to a code of ethics governed by the State Feline Associations. Pedigree kittens should grow true to the recognized standards of the breed. You therefore have a good idea of the ultimate size, appearance, weight and temperament of your kitten.
If you would like to give a second chance to a homeless kitten, there are many animal welfare organisations that have kittens available. Local pounds also have kittens that are looking for homes, your local pound is listed in the local Government section of your telephone book.

What you will receive with your kitten

When you purchase your new kitten whether it be from a pet shop or directly from a breeder, it should be at least 8 weeks of age, vaccinated and wormed. All kittens that are vaccinated will have a vaccination certificate issued by a veterinarian to indicate when the kitten was vaccinated and when it’s due again. Kittens are vaccinated against Feline Enteritis, Feline Respiratory Disease and Feline Leukaemia. Cats are usually vaccinated at 6 to 8 weeks of age, 10 to 12 weeks of age, 14 to 18 weeks of age then annually. Sometimes your veterinarian may suggest a different time for your cat and you should take your veterinarian’s advice.

Bringing your cat home

Whether your cat is a stray or a purebred it still requires the same care and attention.
Before bringing your new cat home prepare its sleeping area. Your cat needs a warm, secure place to sleep. Cat bed and baskets are available commercially or a cardboard box arranged with an entrance hole and a blanket is equally suitable.
When you bring your cat or kitten home make sure the house is quiet and allow it to settle in and explore without too much interference. It is advisable to keep your new cat or kitten confined to the house for the first few weeks. Once your cat or kitten has settled in its new home it should be familiarised with all the normal household noises and activities and introduced to visitors to ensure that it becomes confident and well socialised. Other pets should be introduced to the new arrival slowly and under close supervision.
Cats are naturally playful and will appreciate a few simple toys.

Naming your kitten

This is fun, but it’s also very important. A kitten needs a name it will recognise, so try and avoid names that sound like commands you are likely to use. For instance “Beau” sounds similar to “No”.
A short, simple name is ideal. Don’t forget one day you may have to stand in your front yard and call it, so don’t pick something you’ll be embarrassed by.
For suggestions on the most popular cat names and their meanings check out the Bow Wow Meow website at www.bowwow.com.au

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