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60–63 Weeks: What to Expect From Your Kitten

Four Tips for Humans on Good Feline Etiquette :: A Primer on Feline Leukemia :: Cat-speak Dictionary: Scent Marking :: How to Introduce New Human Family Members

Four Tips for Humans on Good Feline Etiquette

Cats have boundaries and expectations for interaction. This may seem like a no-brainer, but few people seem to understand that there is a right way and a wrong way to introduce oneself to a cat. If you approach a cat with good manners, your relationship will be off to an excellent start.

  1. Introduce yourself politely. Cats greet one another by slowly approaching, sniffing one another around the head, and rubbing. To mimic this behavior, introduce yourself to a new cat by holding your hand out at a cat's head level with your pointer finger extended. Allow the cat to sniff your finger and explore your hand. If she rubs your hand, that's an invitation for you to stroke her.

  2. Don't pick a cat up unless she asks you to. Quite a few cats prefer not to be picked up. Even cats that let their caretakers pick them up and hold them probably won't be enthusiastic about being swept off their feet by a relative stranger. If a cat does give her consent to being picked up, be watchful for signs she wants to get down such as tensing her body or struggling. Never hold a cat longer than she wants to be held.

  3. Let the cat approach you on her own terms. If you want a cat to come to you, don't come after her. Don't make a production number of calling her or slapping your knees as if you're summoning a dog. If you're relatively quiet and sit in the same place for a while, the odds are good that the cat will come to you.

  4. Be quiet. Cats don't respond well to loud voices and excessive noise. Keep the music or the TV at a reasonable volume. Never yell at a cat.

Advice from Other Cat Owners 

Before You Adopt That Kitten

Before you bring that cute kitten home, please take a good look at your life and ask yourself some questions, particularly if you are young (the highest demographic for pet surrenderers is females, age 18-25).

Remember, cats live for 15-20 years and will need regular vet care for their whole life. Ask yourself, what will I do when I move? Am I willing to go the extra mile to find pet-friendly housing and take the cats along? (Even if your job sends you across the country or into another).

What will I do when I get married? What if my spouse is allergic to the cats, has big unfriendly dogs, or just doesn't like cats? How will I deal with that? What happens when I start having children? Will I be willing to help the cats make that transition during that busy and exciting time in my life? Will I be willing to keep them seperate if my baby is allergic? What happens if I get divorced? (Statistics say that you will). Will I fight to keep my pets during this personal crisis?

These questions may sound ridiculous, but I assure you they are not. The answers to these questions mean the difference between life and death every day- to the tune of 20 million 'No' answers a year (the number of animals surrendered to shelters across the U.S. in a year). It is a big commitment folks, think about it!

~Alex K., owner of Breed Unknown

Introducing Your New Kitten to Your Older Cat

Kittens will most likely get along great because they are so young, although it may take a day or two. My two cats were about 10 months when I brought home two kittens and it didn't go smoothly at all. The young kittens were excited to meet the older cats but the older cats were petrified of them.

What I learned is that cats react to smell and it's best to introduce them that way first. The advice from a cat expert was: keep them separate and give them each something that smells of the other one (towel/blanket etc). Once that goes well, then introduce them physically. It was fascinating because when I presented my cats with the towel smelling like the new kittens, the cats hissed and swatted at it, then ran in fear. Eventually they started to investigate it. You may not need this step but I wanted to share it just in case.

~Cindy W., owner of Breed Unknown

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