I'm a new pet mom...

This forum is for cat lovers seeking everyday advice and suggestions on health-related issues. Remember, however, that advice on a public forum simply can't be a substitute for proper medical attention. Only your vet can say assuredly what is best for your cat.


Princess Mits
Purred: Sun Sep 8, '13 1:11pm PST 
hi, we have a little 12 week old girl name mittens. this is our first time as adults having pets and we want her to grow up healthy. what kinds of things should i be looking out for as kittens? how often should i take her for check ups? she is an indoor cat so would she need all her shots?

Basically, any advice would be welcomed. i know my questions are kinda all over the place but im just new with this.


No Not-Moms!!!!
Purred: Sun Sep 8, '13 2:57pm PST 
First, welcome to the wonderful world of cats and to Catster! Mittens is blessed to have a mom wise enough to ask for advice. smile

She should be checked out by your own vet; if you don't have one, ask your pet-owning friends or neighbors to recommend one. On your first visit, be certain that you feel comfortable with the hospital and its staff; if there's anything that doesn't seem right, look elsewhere. The vast majority of pet hospitals are clean and well run by caring and competent people, but every great once-in-a-while, someone runs into another kind.

Mittens should be thoroughly examined, especially for internal parasites. If she's truly indoor-only (good for you!!), she won't need rabies unless it's the law in your state. She should have the "combo" shot (distemper/calcivirus - and one I can't remember. shrug) Bloodwork at her age isn't necessary but would do no harm.

Don't use clumping litter in her box until she's about 6 months old. Kittens, like babies, like to "taste" things; if clumping litter gets into her system, it could harden and cause a blockage, which necessitates surgery.

She will, of course, have to be spayed. Do NOT put that off; take your vet's advice as to age. Some do it as young as three months; the "standard" is six months.

Canned food is better for her than dry, and the "premium" brands are higher quality. Cats are "obligate carnivores" - meaning that they MUST eat meat! There are no exceptions to that. (I know a young woman who, on assignment in Africa years ago, adotped a stray kitten. Since Rachel was a vegetarian, she thought the cat should be, too. The kitten died, and, although I don't know the cause, I'm sure the inadequate diet had something to do with it.) Look for food with no grain. The food issue can be difficult; we all want to feed our kids the best, but sometimes, the budget just won't make room for expensive food. All any of us can do is the best we can with what we have. Any food that has the AAFCO symbol on the label somewhere will have all the right nourishment, although the sources of that nourishment might not be the best.

While Mittens is young, an annual checkup with the vet - once she's through her course of kitten shots - is usually adequate. If you notice ANYTHING that seems "not right," have the vet check her. Cats evolved not to show pain, so they are experts at hiding medical problems. We cat parents have to be diligent. Her teeth are VERY important; the vet should check them at her exams, and they should be professionally cleaned when needed. It's possible (so they tell me! laugh out loud) to clean cats' teeth at home. With help from your vet you can try, but probably a professional cleaning will still be necessary from time to time.

I just responded to another new mom who asked about pet insurance. Absolutely, you should get it! Google "pet insurance" to find a company. Also, Mittens should be microchipped in case she ever gets out of the house - and it's surprising how easily they can slip out. Talk to your vet about that.

All that being said, I hope you and Mittens will have a very long and very happy time on Earth - and then into Eternity. Bless you.


Princess Mits
Purred: Sun Sep 8, '13 3:24pm PST 
Thanks so much! this is very new to us!

#1 cat site for cats & bipeds!


Knead softly &- carry a big purr
Purred: Mon Sep 9, '13 2:22pm PST 
Hello & welcome! Mordred pretty much covered everything. Some safety tips - if you play with any type of string toys, never leave them out. String, rubber bands, yarn can all be dangerous if swallowed, as the barbs on a kitty's tongue make it difficult for them to spit out. Get kitty used to having claws truimmed & either teeth brushed, or use a gauze to wipe her teeth several times a week to avoid tooth problems in the future. Toys, lots of love & attention! Scratching posts/boards are important. Other than that enjoy your little one & remember we are all here to help whenever you need it!welcomecat on moon


No Not-Moms!!!!
Purred: Mon Sep 9, '13 2:38pm PST 
Thanks,Tigger, for adding about the toys; I hadn't thought of that. But it does bring up one more thing: do NOT have Mittens "declawed." This is a cruel and brutal procedure that harms the cat; it's not merely removing the claws (like removing your toenails), it actual amputation of bone - like having the ends of your toes cut off! shock Really ethical vets won't even perform the procedure as a routine thing, although it USED to be "spay and declaw." That's medieval thinking! It puts the cat in pain, and it can lead to problems later on. If using the litter box is painful while paws are healing, the cat may decide that using the box isnb't worth it. Cats WALK on their toes; remove the ends of the toes, and the cat is forced to walk differntly, putting strain on joints. (Try to imagine how you might walk if the ends of all your toes were amputated.)

Cats must, of course, tend to their claws as we must attend to our nails; they do it by scratching on certain surfaces. Unhappily, many of those surfaces are on human furniture. You need to get some scratching posts and/or cat trees; these are specially made to appeal to a cat's need to "do her claws." Some cats like horizontal surfaces and some like vertical (which seems the more favored). If you get a cat tree or two, Mittens will not only be able to tend to her claws properly, but she'll also be able to climb high and survey her world! This can be important to a cat; as Jackson Galaxy, the "Cat Daddy," says, some cats are tree dwellers and some are bush dwellers - meaning that some cats like to hide low, but some like to be up high, where they feel safe. You can teach Mittens to use a cat tree/scratching post; if you see her start to claw a forbidden object, simply pick her up, take her to her post, and move her paws in a scratching movement; she'll catch on! Also teach her that NO means NO! If you have to protect furniture until she's totally using the scratching post, you can buy double-sided "Contact" paper to put onto the surface. (I don't think it's actually the brand-name Contact, but you can find it online.)

Whew!relieved There's a lot to think about with a new kitten! Those of us who've had cats for years just sort of absorb all this, so it's sometimes hard to think of everything at once.

Again - all the best to you and Mittens!big hug


Wait 'til my- father hears- about this!
Purred: Wed Sep 11, '13 1:36pm PST 
Give occasional baths while she's still young. She will get used to it, and not fight you when she's older if she ever really needs a bath. Both of my cats get bathed regularly (I have mild allergies). Clip her nails regularly, and brush her. The more you handle her like this when she's a kitten, the more tolerant she should be when she's older.
I would argue that you should still have her vaccinated for rabies, just in case she ever escaped or something ever got in.


Psycho kitty
Purred: Wed Sep 11, '13 2:16pm PST 
Hello, Mittens!!
First off, welcome to the wonderful Catster! Its a very fun site.smile

Okay so, the first question i will answer is going to be will she need her shots.
Well, i got Mikko shots just to be on the safe side. Also, if you dont want kittens, ( if she ever finds a kitty-crush ) then get her neutered. Yes, it is a bit pricey but its watcha gotta do.
And, you should make sure you feed her rightly, try to avoid foods like: Purina, Beniful, (if for cats i cant remember) Iams and Wellness...There is always recalls on these foods and they have corn and some have by-products, and you should try to avoid foods that have fillers like corn. Meow Mix is not the best food, (looked it up to be sure) It is a terrible quality food, the first ingredients are: Ground yellow corn, corn gluten meal. Cats are for sure carnivores, they dont like veggies eek..... BUT I feed Mikko Chicken Soup For The Cat Lovers Soul, and its a 4 star rating, the best food i would say to feed your cat is the Mericks BG, its a 4 and a half star ratings, and its very good food, but unfortunately right now i cannot aford it, or i would be feeding it to my Mikko.

So I hoped that helped, and if you want more info about food or anything paw mail me, and also you can post in the answers section, where other kitties can answer your questions. And be sure to answer others to! wink


Stella- Felinis--Queen- of All Kitties!
Purred: Wed Sep 11, '13 9:31pm PST 
It's Stella. Everybody above has pretty much covered the important things. We're all so smart. red face

One thing that no one mentioned, except in connection with bathing, is that if you want to train the cat to do anything special, like walk on a leash, be walked in a closed cat stroller, ride for long distances comfortably in a car, anything like that connected to your lifestyle, start doing it as soon as you can. Cats seem to be hardwired to learn everything in the first year or even less of their lives. Cats who wear collars, walk on leashes, are comfortable with large groups of people, like show cats, learn as kittens. Believe me, trying to teach a housebound cat to enjoy long car trips or walk on a leash after age 2 or so is an ordeal.

So enjoy your little creature and teach her all kind of things now when she is wide-eyed and bushy-tailed, literally!

Our person's first cat when she was a child was named Mittens. We taught her that it was a fun thing to be in the bathtub and have warm water poured over her, and also to wear our doll clothes. She was a great cat!

Giant purrs to you from all of us! hug wave


I Must Have- Attention & My- Way
Purred: Wed Sep 25, '13 12:24pm PST 
I can't keep track of everything that everyone has already mentioned so I'll say to feed her a high quality kitten food. Check out this link for a list of horrible ingredients: http://www.thekittyliberationfront.org/understanding-and-avoiding-ba d-pet-food-ingredients.htm

You may want to start brushing her teeth yourself to get her used to it. Do not use human toothpaste! Brush her as well. I believe all cats need a good brushing at least a couple of times a week or more often for long haired cats like myself.

Give her a variety of toys. Kittens love dangling toys, but don't leave strings & stuff like that laying out! Good luck!!!