Sunday, December 21, 2014

10 tips for a happy and healthy kitten

Nearly irresistible, kittens melt even the toughest of hearts; even Attila the Hun was thought to have several dozen kittens around at any given time (never verified, but he was a soft-on-the-inside kind of guy, so who's to say?).

10 tips for a happy and healthy kitten

Getting a new kitten is one of the best things in the world. They’re cute, soft as down, and as cuddly as, well, kittens. Nearly irresistible, kittens melt even the toughest of hearts; even Attila the Hun was thought to have several dozen kittens around at any given time (never verified, but he was a soft-on-the-inside kind of guy, so who's to say?).

It's good to get things started off on the right paw, and the food and care you choose can make all the difference in the health and happiness of your growing kitten. Here are 10 starter tips for you and your ‘mew’ companion.

1. Continue feeding your kitten its ‘normal’ diet, but slowly introduce high quality kitten food (i.e., high in protein and taurine, and low in fillers and carbs) into the mix; consult your veterinarian as to what best serves your cat. After it has adjusted, feed it the high quality food exclusively.

2. Feed your kitten at least three times a day from a shallow plate. Remember, they’re tiny things and so they need easy access to their food. Snacks, especially during the growing stage, should also be included. Small amounts of high-protein foods like cooked egg yolk, boneless fish, and cooked or raw liver will be a great treat, and will help build strong bones.

3. That said, it's alright to feed your kitten frequently while it is growing (under six months old), even several times a day. If your kitten grazing or eats modestly, keep a small amount of dry kibble available in a dish for it throughout the day.

4. Dry or wet? Many owners find a happy balance between the two. Perhaps wet food in the evening and dry in the day.

5. Always have fresh water available and check it throughout the day for cleanliness. Keep in mind that water is enough, no other liquid needs to be given. In fact, cow milk can cause quite a tummy ache and should be avoided. Yes, cats like the taste of milk and will drink it if you give it to them in a bowl. But that's not saying much, seeing as they also like the taste of antifreeze. Leave cow milk to small calves -- and people.

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