Some years ago, my husband was checking an outbuilding on our property. It housed the water pump and big holding tank. From behind the tank, he heard some commotion and saw something black-and-white scurry away. He thought it was a skunk. It turned out to be our new kitten, Domino. Very often, that’s how cats come into to peoples’ lives. But if we can choose the timing and the cat, it can be really rewarding.
If this is a good time, there are a few things to think about. There is a critical socialization period during which kittens become comfortable with humans. If the mother of the kittens is relaxed around people and the kittens are handled between the ages of two and eight weeks, the kittens will be comfortable with people. Choosing a kitten who likes people makes everything more satisfying and easier. There are many people fostering kittens now who know the importance of this socialization.
Cats don’t always like each other either especially if they are not littermates or were not raised together. By adopting two kittens who are related you will be sure to have grown-up cats who like each other and have a better life because they do. Unrelated cats can have a lot of difficulty adjusting to a newcomer. A careful plan for integrating new family members is critical for success. We at Cat Hospital of Portland (CHP) will be thrilled to help you create a plan and we have printed materials and websites to help everyone in the family understand how to make it work.
Plan to provide the resources you need ahead of time. You will need:
Enough room for sleeping and resting,
A litter box in a quiet place away from any commotion,
Food and water bowls for each kitten,
Toys to play, a collar, and maybe a brush,
A climbing place or cat “tree”,
More than one appropriate place to scratch and stretch, and
The choice of food should be a function of what they have been fed up till now. Slow adjustments to the diet make choosing a different food much easier. Choose a clumping, unscented litter and don’t forget the scoop. A clean bathroom is always much more pleasant to use.
Taking loving care of a cat can be fun and rewarding, but it does take a little money for food, litter, and good regular healthcare. Next time, we’ll talk about other important considerations for introducing cats and for keeping them healthy and safe.
The Cat Match series will continue until fall. If you have specific questions about subjects in this series you can post them on Facebook when you see the blogs appear. We will try to include answers as we go along.