by Gigi McWhirter

Kitten “cat-astrophes” can be greatly reduced with these simple suggestions:

Once you adopt your little bundle of joy, and if possible, before you take him or her home to meet the other people and pets in your home, take your kitten to your veterinarian for a wellness check. During the visit, your kitty will receive a physical exam, vaccinations and parasite prevention. These things are essential for the long-term care of a cat. The doctor will also advise you of how often to boost vaccines, what vaccines your kitten will receive at each visit, when to do lab work, such as fecal exams, and when to run a FELV-FIV test.

Spay or neuter your pet! Kittens as young as 4-6 months of age can start having litters of kittens – imagine a kitten having kittens!

Thinking that because your cat does not go outside is not a good enough reason. Once she comes into heat or his hormones kick in, they take on the “when there is a will, there is a way” line of thinking, and will take any opportunity to get outside and find a mate – much like a hormone-filled teenager with the skills of a ninja! One great date, and she can have a litter of several kittens who become cats who, in turn, need care for 15-plus years or end up in a shelter or running the streets making more unwanted kittens. If you feel like you want to have a house full of cats and kittens, go to a shelter and adopt. They will be spayed and neutered. Cats are super-skilled at reproducing. Do the responsible thing and have them spayed and or neutered.

Make sure to play with your kitten. Let the kitten explore the house and meet the other animals and people in the home. If you live alone, invite friends over to meet and play with your pet. It is important that you interact with your pet to help him or her develop strong bonds and social skills. It is also good for both you and for the kitten. Remember, your pet will always love you!

Just because kittens are often free or it may not cost a lot to adopt one does not mean that your pet does not need maintenance. Healthy food and medical care are necessary to ensure that your kitty stays as healthy and happy as possible. Cats do not come with a great job with incredible benefits.

These things are important for the long-term care and health of your cat, so do not skip them. Always consult with a veterinarian, not Dr. Google, before making medical decisions.

Happy tails to you and your “purr-fect” pet!