"Health & Personality - What to Look for in a Kitten
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"Health & Personality - What to Look for in a Kitten

Cats
Life As A Pet Parent

Once you have decided to get a kitten, the next part is to make sure you contact a reputable breeder who takes great pride in the litters theyproduce. Sharing your home with a kitten is great fun, but it can be a challenging time at first too. These little rascals can get up to all sorts of mischief and naughtiness which is something you need to be well prepared for.

It's important the kitten you take home with you is happy and healthy, but it's also important for them to be a confident character with a friendly, outgoing personality. The kitten's age is also important because you don't want to separate them from their mothers when they are too young! Below is a list of the things you need to make a note of when choosing a new kitten to share your home with.

Age is Crucial

Your kitten should be at the very least 8weeks old before they leave mum, with some people thinking it's best to take them away from the rest of the litter and their mothers when they are 12 weeks old. These little creatures need to be around their mums and siblings than puppies do so they get to learn about things. The extra times prepares them well for their future lives.

Check the Parents and Other Litter Mates

It's far better to choose a kitten when they are still with their mothers and siblings because you get to see how they interact with their brothers and sisters. Meeting the mother is also important, it allows you to see her personality and how friendly she is towards you because she will pass this on to her young.

You also get to see how well the kittens have been socialised which again is very important. A well socialised kitten will turn out to be a more confident adult cat. If the kittens have been left to run a little wild, you may end up with a very shy, nervous and timid older cat.

Early Socialisation is a Must

Knowing how a kitten has been socialised early in their lives is important because this tends to have a direct and positive impact on them. If gently and frequently handled when they are between the ages of 2 to 9 weeks old and exposed to lots of different animals and people during their early lives, kittens have a much better chance of being able to take things in their stride.

Kittens that have not had this type of contact or if they have been mistreated and handled roughly, may well turn out to be a little aggressive, timid and nervous. Kittens born in a home environment tend to be more confident because they are used to all the smells and noises associated with living in a house. This includes scary vacuum cleaners, dish washers and other kitchen appliances that make loud and scary noises.

Hand-reared Kittens Can be a Problem

It goes without saying that it's wonderful when people hand-rear a kitten when they need that extra bit of help. However, kittens that have not spent their early lives with their mothers or litter mates are more at risk of developing behavioural problems when they reach maturity.

Kittens that grow up with their siblings and mothers, have to get used to things which includes mum leaving them when they want to suckle or other kittens waking them up when all they want to do is have another snooze! They also learn about limits when it comes to biting and scratching and how mum and their siblings would only tolerate so much which is an essential part of their learning process. In short, they learn about acceptable behaviour from their group which is something they miss out on when they are hand-reared.

A Kitten's Personality is Important

By getting to watch kittens playing together and interacting with each other, you soon see which of them are more adventurous and which are a little timid about things. A healthy, confident kitten will be inquisitive and eager to go to people when called. If a kitten wants to hide and hisses at you, the chances are they have been left to their own devices and not socialised as well as they should have been.

A happy, confident kitten would be pleased to interact and play with you when you first meet them. However, you need to bear in mind that when kittens are tired out, they literally pass out so it's important you choose a good time to go along and see a litter. When very young, kittens do two things extremely well, which is to be extremely active one minute and then fast asleep the next!

A Healthy Kitten is Full of Life and Mischief

There are certain obvious things to look for in a healthy kitten which are listed below:

  • A healthy kitten has lovely, clear eyes that are fully opened. They focus well on things and can chase a bit of string across the floor with no trouble at all
  • They should have a lovely, shiny and clean nose
  • Ears would be clean with no nasty smells coming from them
  • Gums would be nice and pink and teeth well aligned with no bad breath evident
  • Their backsides would be clean with no sign of matted or dirty fur in sight
  • Their coat would be lovely and soft with no bald spots or dirty looking fur on their faces or bodies
  • They should not have big round bellies which could be a clear indication they are suffering from a severe bout of intestinal worms!
  • Healthy kittens have great appetites and need to have been fully weaned
  • There should not be any sort of lump or bump on their heads or bodies and this includes around their belly buttons
  • A healthy kitten is well coordinated and balanced

You also need to bear in mind that some kittens because of their breeds, tend to be a little on the lean side which is a natural trait and not because they are under nourished. This includes many of the oriental breeds like the Siamese to name but one!

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