In light of International Cat Day, here are some helpful tips for would-be cat parents.
So International Cat Day happened, and you’re thinking of adopting a stray cat. Or you found an abandoned kitten by the side of the street and you want to take it home. Fate happened to bring you two together. In any case, you’re doing a good thing by giving a cat a loving home.
But before you get a meowzer, you need to prepare. Here are some things to keep in mind.
Age matters when adopting a stray cat
Say you found a kitten. A furry ball of absolute cuteness that’s all alone, and you think it would a good idea to feed it solid food. That would be your first mistake.
If you’re adopting a kitten, you must know how to estimate its age. That will help you figure out what to feed it. You can’t feed it pellets and call it a day. This might cause your kitten not to get enough nutrients to grow.
Determine its age and if it’s already learned to wean itself into solid food. Check if its eyes are still midnight blue or not. Look at its size. See if it still wobbles when it walks. These signs will help you figure out what to do.
Cats who are four months and above are of age. Ideally, you should adopt cats at that age. This is when they can get to know you and get used to their name.
Formula, not milk
Kitten formula is key. Cats are lactose intolerant. So if you think you’re saving a cat by serving it cow’s milk, you’re wrong. You might actually kill them.
Kitten formula is a special mixture that will ensure your kitten gets all the nutrients it needs. This is essential for kittens under a week old. Give them the formula until they can eat wet food, which is usually around four to six weeks old.
This is when the real work begins. Kittens days old don’t know how to relieve themselves yet. You’ll have to get your hands dirty (kind of).
Take a soft piece of tissue, dip it in warm water and rub the kitten’s genitals and anus. This stimulates them to pee or poop. It’s best to do this for two weeks after they’re born or until they can do it themselves. If you’ve given them the right food, you should expect a very healthy, wet to solid brown bowel.
Potty training is a chore most people don’t want to deal with. I’m happy to tell you that cats instinctively cover their messes. You should be alright if you provide them with a litter box.
Choosing the right type of litter
Cats are very picky with litter and you should be too. If your kitten is still young, consider making your own litter from shredded paper. Once they’ve grown, transition to larger pellets.
Do NOT give them the quick-drying sand type. The sand might enter their bodies and cause terrible problems for your kitty.
Deworming after adopting a stray cat
This should be one of the first things you do once you get a kitten. The nutrients they get from kitten formula will go to waste if worms get to them first. Be sure to take your furry friend to the vet the second you decide to take them in. Get them dewormed and vaccinated ASAP.
You can skip this step. But since cats are as frisky as they are cute, you might want to consider castration. If you don’t want your baby to have babies, you should get them snipped.
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Adopting a stray cat is a big responsibility. Be sure you’re prepared if you decide to add a furry friend to your family.
Featured Image Daniella Sison