Milwaukee Edition

Bringing Up Kitty

Get Off on the Right Paw

Olhastock/Shutterstock.com

There’s nothing as endearing as a big-eyed kitten hopping sideways across the floor or curled into a small ball of fluff on our lap. Getting a new kitten started off on the right foot will ensure they grow up to be a healthy and happy companion.

1 Prepare a sanctuary for the family’s new kitten.
When bringing a new kitten (or adult cat) into their new home, it’s best to separate the new addition in a little bed-and-breakfast-like setup of their own for at least a week. Put their litter box, bedding, food and toys in their space and keep noise, confusion and foot traffic to a minimum.

2 Provide warm, snuggly sleeping quarters.
Felines, especially tiny ones, like their environment warmer than what humans generally prefer. Look for bedding that hasn’t been treated with flame-retardant chemicals such as PBDE; Swedish scientists have linked the chemical, commonly found in foam, to hyperthyroidism in cats. The best choice is wool, which is naturally flame resistant.

3 Consider crate training.
Most cats fight being put into a carrier because it only happens when someone’s about to take them to a place they don’t want to go to. That’s why it’s a good idea to set up a carrier for a kitten on their first day home. Entice them to enter on their own using food treats, toys and comfy bedding.

4 Go slow with family introductions.
Introduce other members of the household to the new kitty one at a time. Ideally, introductions occur in a neutral location, like the living room, when the kitten ventures out to investigate.

5 Offer this tiny carnivore the nutrition they were born to eat.
To provide the very best start in life, feed the little one either a homemade or commercially available, nutritionally balanced, fresh food diet (preferably raw) designed for cats at all stages of life.

6 Help the kitten learn to love their personal litter box.
Most kittens can use a litter box at about four weeks. Just make sure its walls are low enough that they can hop in and out on their own. If a kitten or cat is avoiding the box, there’s likely a reason: location, type of litter or failure to clean it often enough.

7 Provide appropriate climbing and scratching surfaces.
Climbing and scratching are natural feline behaviors. Try burlap, cardboard and carpeted scratching surfaces, placed vertically and horizontally to meet all preferences. Keep the scratchers in areas where the kitten hangs out.

8 Train kitty to use the scratching post.
Initially, it might help to apply catnip or attach a feather toy to make the scratching area especially appealing. Discourage any feline from scratching on inappropriate surfaces by attaching double-sided tape or inflated balloons to rugs or furniture that are off limits.

9 Offer toys that bring out the feline hunter.
Think like a cat and buy or create toys that draw out their hunting instincts. A piece of string wrapped around the end of a stick dragged on the ground will bring out the stalker in almost any cat. So will ping-pong balls or small wads of paper flicked across the floor.

10 Indulge most kittens’ love of boxes.
When cats in the wild feel threatened, they head for trees, dens or caves for safety. Domestic kitties don’t have that option, so their obsession with hiding in boxes may be an adaptation. Providing “hidey holes” may also help a kitten acclimate faster to their new home and family.

11 Provide easy, safe access to the outdoors.
Indoor cats need time outside. Consider building or buying a safe, secure, outdoor enclosure (catio) for them to hang out in when the weather is nice.

12 Consider adopting two kittens at the same time.
One of the best ways to avoid many common behavioral problems is to adopt a pair of kittens. Because they crave stimulation and interaction, adopting two provides instant playmates to occupy each other’s time.

 
Karen Becker is a proactive, integrative doctor of veterinary medicine who consults internationally and writes for Mercola Healthy Pets.


This article appears in the April 2019 issue of Natural Awakenings.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Natural Awakenings

Free Classes Teach Composting Basics

For those interested in composting but don’t know where to begin, the City of Milwaukee Department of Public Works, along with Keep Greater Milwaukee Beautiful and the Milwaukee Public Library, will host a free “Introduction to Basic Backyard Composting” class this summer on multiple dates.

Mycelium Mysteries Mushroom Retreat

The third annual Women’s Mushroom Conference, Mycelium Mysteries, will be presented by Midwest Women’s Herbal from September 27 through 29 at Camp Helen Brachman, in Almond, Wisconsin.

Milwaukee Goes Tropic for Urban Island Beach Party Fundraiser

Milwaukeeans can don their Hawaiian shirts and head to the Urban Island Beach Party, from 5 to 11 p.m. on August 2, at Lakeshore State Park.

New Book is a Protocol for Mind, Body and Soul Healing

Veteran Brookfield-based healer Peig Myota has released her new book which is a comprehensive guide for “modern mystics” to achieve advanced stages of healing and expanded consciousness.

Thrive Holistic Medicine Expands Colon Hydrotherapy Services

Thrive Holistic Medicine has a new member on their team, allowing them to expand colon hydrotherapy hours.

Workshop on Releasing Stress

Kelly Kolodzinski, owner of Renew Holistic Wellness, and Emily Yenor of 1212 Bodyworks, will host an engaging evening as they dive into their favorite ways to dissolve stress through movement, nutrition and mindfulness.

Yoga Teacher Harnesses the Power of Sound

Rosie Rain, of Sacred Sound Yoga, has long recognized the healing effects of music, and today she deftly weaves music into her yoga teachings, energy work and holistic memory-care services.

Letter from Publisher

Our August issue is packed with valuable information for all aspects of healthful, sustainable living.

5G Wireless Technology to be Deployed Across Wisconsin

But Wisconsin For Safe Technology, an environmental group that has been monitoring the impacts of 5G towers on human health and the environment, cites myriad peer-reviewed studies that linked exposure to wireless radiation with a long list of acute and chronic health problems including cancer, neurological and cognitive harm, among many others.

Feeding Healthy Habits

Today’s barrage of junk food ads can easily influence kids for the worse, but 10 strategies, including visiting farmers’ markets, teaching cooking skills and implementing device-free family meals, can help them choose to eat better.

Beyond Sustainability

Farmers are increasingly exploring inexpensive organic methods to return microbial diversity to the soil, which could help mitigate a warming planet by allowing soil to absorb more carbon.

Aysha Akhtar on Our Symphony With Animals

Through her personal story as a survivor of childhood abuse and the stories of others, the neurologist demonstrates the scientific bond between animals and humans—and how they can heal each other.

Add your comment: