Pet Care Information
Owning a cat will provide you with years of enjoyment and is a very rewarding experience. Owning a cat also carries responsibilities, we hope this information will help.
Table of Contents:
Click on the links below to take you to the information you require.
- Useful items for your kitten
- What you will receive with your kitten
- The right breed for you
- Flea & tick prevention
- Litter tray
- Scratching posts
- Naming your kitten
- Cats & wildlife
Use this handy list to help you select the necessary items to care for your kitte n:
- Food bowl
- Water bowl
- Litter tray
- Cat litter & scoop
- Worming control
- Flea control
- Comb & brush
- Scratching post
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.
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/selectacat.html
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.
Internal parasites are common in kittens. Kittens can become infected with parasites before they are born or later through their mother’s milk. We recommend worming you kitten at 2 weekly intervals from 2 weeks of age through till 12 weeks old against Roundworm and Hookworm. Then at 4,5 and 6 months of age then every 3 months for the rest of the cat’s life against Roundworm, Hookworm, and Tapeworm.(An easy way to remember is the start of every season eg summer, autumn, winter, spring) It is a good idea to worm all other animals at the same time.
Fleas can be picked up quite easily when your cat comes in contact with other cats or visits areas where they have been. You only need one flea on a cat to make it start scratching, the saliva from a flea bite causes an allergic reaction. Fleas need warmth, moisture and vibration to hatch, so many flea eggs that are laid in cool months do not hatch till spring when the conditions are ideal.
The best way to beat a flea problem is to treat the cat, your yard and your house. It might seem like a lot of work but if you can eradicate the fleas on your property and keep treating the cat for fleas to prevent new ones jumping on him, you will solve the problem.
- On the cat - There are several good sprays and drops to put on the back of the cat’s neck that work well. If you have a kitten under 12 weeks always read the label as some products can not be used on young kittens.
- In the yard - You will need to treat your whole yard and under the house, if the cat has access to it with an insecticide. Most insecticides do not have a long residual effect so you may need to retreat the yard regularly for a course of time. The insecticide will have its residual time listed on it. Dog Rinses are perfect for this job, they are economical and easy to water or spray on.
- In the house - Treat the house with a “Flea Bomb”, use one that has an initial knockdown for adult fleas and an Insect Growth Regulator (IGR) to prevent eggs hatching out.
It is important to note that no insecticide kills flea eggs, you must either use products with Insect Growth Regulators to prevent the eggs hatching out or retreat regularly to control new fleas hatching out.
There are many different types of ticks in Australia, but it is the paralysis tick which threaten cats with death. Found primarily in coastal areas on the Australian East Coast, it can easily attach itself to cats as they run through grass or scrub. Ticks attach themselves to a host and suck blood, while doing this they release a toxin into the host. Cats become ill very quickly and it is important that you seek veterinary assistance as soon as you find a tick or have a cat with any of the following symptoms, unco-ordinated, muscle weakness, trouble standing, breathing or swallowing, a change in voice and vomiting.
The best way to deal with ticks is to use the same method as to control fleas but select products that control paralysis tick aswell. Also examine your cat everyday using the “finger-crawl” technique. Run your hands over the cat feeling for ticks that have attached themselves rather than relying on sight. Don’t forget to check under the collar, between paw pads and in the ears and mouth
With both fleas and ticks prevention is always better.
A kitten’s diet is very important as they use a lot of energy playing and have a lot of growing to do. We recommend feeding Eukanuba Kitten Food, it is a complete balanced food, which means there is normally no need to add additional vitamins or other supplements to the kitten’s food.
Ensure your kitten has his own bed right from the start, this will allow him to have his own area which he can go to. It provides security and will teach him where you want him to sleep. There are many styles of baskets available, cats prefer a cosy warm bed to snuggly into. Position the basket away from busy areas of the house but still within a reasonable distance to the family.
A litter tray, scoop and cat litter are essential. Even if your kitten has access to an outdoor area, he should not be let out until he has adjusted to his new home. The litter tray should be accessible and easy to find. Choose a litter tray that is deep enough to keep the kitten from scattering litter when he digs. Covered litter trays are idea, they are large enough to suit most breeds, prevent spillage and most have a charcoal filter to prevent odour.
There are many brands of cat litter, we recommend using a urine absorbing bead type litter. As the name suggests when the cat urinates the urine is absorbed into the litter and droppings are simply scooped out with no odour. This type of litter is normally changed once per month if one cat is using it.
Pregnant women need to be aware of Toxoplasmosis, a disease carried by cats that can cause birth defects. Toxoplasmosis is a disease that afflicts people as well as pets. But the cat is the only known animal to expel the parasite in its faeces. If pregnant, you should use gloves while handling the litter tray and wash your hands thoroughly afterwards. Your kitten can be kept free of infection by feeding him only commercial food and keeping him indoors.
A scratching post will give your kitten a place to scratch and exercise, as well as keeping his claws in good condition. It will also help to prevent him from using your furniture to satisfy these needs. If you find your kitten needs some encouragement to use the post we recommend spraying it with Cat Nip Spray.
It is a good idea to get your kitten used to being groomed while it is young to avoid problems later. Regular grooming also allows you to check your kitten for fleas, ticks or any potential problems. When grooming your kitten, you should pay particular attention to problem areas, such as ears, and body folds. Your grooming routine will vary depending on the breed of kitten, you will be able to find lots of helpful tips from it’s breeder or from cat books.
Regular grooming will help prevent furballs, these occur from the cat grooming itself by licking. Hairballs are usually regurgitated or eliminated through the intestines.
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
If you do not plan to breed your cat we strongly recommend desexing, please talk to your vet about the advantages of desexing your cat. Most vets recommend desexing at six months of age.
The facts about desexing
- There is no reason why your cat needs to have a litter prior to being desexed.
- Desexing does not make your cat fat.
- Desexed males are less likely to wander, fight or be territorial.
- It is the only 100% way to prevent a litter of kittens (they may be cute, but you have to care for and find them all homes)
Owning a cat carries responsibilities, they are a natural hunter this is evident even in their play. Although domestic cats are gently in their nature they are able to cause problems killing native wildlife. By keeping your cat indoors you are able to ensure they are not involved in territorial cat fights, eliminate the risk of being run over on the road but also know that you are protecting native wildlife such as birds and lizards.
If you have a cat that you let outside ensure that it has a collar and bell. Studies have shown that cats travel in a larger territory and kill more animals at night than during the day. So try to limit your cat to day time play outside, and keep it inside where it is safe at night.
Microchipping of cats is available from vets and is a permanent form of identification. The recently introduced New South Wales Companion Animal Act requires all kittens purchased from 1st July 1999 to be permanently identified (Via Microchipping) and lifetime registered. All other cats (currently owned) must be identified by either collar and tag or microchip.
For more details about the New South Wales Companion Animal Act contact:
your local council, or
The Department of Local Government Ph (02) 9793 0822 or
To find out about Laws and restrictions regarding cats in other states contact your local council.