"Cats in the Garden"

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Adopting a Kitten

mom and kittens
Quality Time with Mom

Kittens should stay with their mom and littermates until at least 8 weeks of age. Health and social development are affected by a kitten's experience during this critical life stage.

There are antibodies present in the queen's milk that protect nursing kittens from infectious disease. The kitten's own immune system needs time to mature and prepare to face a dangerous world on its own.

You do not want your kitten exposed to infectious organisms before it is ready to face the challenge. Ideally the first time your kitten is exposed to these viruses it is the "tamed" variety in the first of a series of vaccinations given by your veterinarian.

Kittens need positive contact with people during this time but they learn best when they spend time interacting with other cats. Adopting a pair of kittens from the same litter or two unrelated kittens < a year of age is helpful, especially if your new kitten will be home alone while you are at work.

kitten in litterpan
If anyone "litter box trains" a kitten it is mom!

 

A young kitten has many things to learn

  • personal hygiene
  • proper play behavior
  • the social language of cats
  • litter pan etiquete

 

Which is better a boy or a girl? There are many opinions and probably some generalizations that can be made about behavior and gender, but ultimately you will need to rely on your own experience and preferences. Cat temperaments are complex and most likely a combination of genetics and experience. You can get some idea of a kitten's basic approach to life by looking for clues in behavior when you first meet.

two kittens
consider adopting a pair of litter mates

The Animal Refuge League in Westbrook Maine is an excellent place to begin your search for just the right kitten or cat. You may also want to ask about fostering a mom and kittens until they are old enough for adoption.

H.A.R.T. Homeless animal Rescue Team of Maine is located in Cumberland. This shelter is exclusively for cats.

Early intervention can keep little problems from turning into big problems!

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