Cat Health: September 2008 Archives

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maddy_first_night.jpgMy wife used to tell me how much I would love a cat. To be honest, I hated them. My experiences with cats at that point were pretty bad.

What changed my mind was a cat named Joey. My friend Frank asked me to pet sit his cat and of course my wife jumped at the chance. I wasn't crazy about the idea but it was for a buddy so how could I say no? Sensing that I wasn't a cat person, Joey made every effort to convert me the first day she was with us. One day and many treats later, I had a new furry friend. I wanted one of my own.

At the time, I didn't know what to look for in a kitten. I simply visited my local pet store and picked out what I thought would be the quietest cat out of the litter. My cat Maddy (pictured) is the complete opposite of quiet! I found that out twenty minutes after bringing her home.

The kitten purchasing experience was a blur to me and had no idea of what I was doing. With that in mind, we get a lot of e-mails from subscribers and visitor asking, "what should I look for in a kitten?"

Here's a check list of what you should be looking for when purchasing a kitten from a litter or a pet store:

  • Kittens learn a lot from their mothers, if the mother is calm and sociable, chances are her kittens will be too.
  • A kitten handled by gentle humans especially during the first days of his or her life will be more sociable and accepting of various social situations.
  • If the kitten appears to be playful and happy, that's a good sign.
  • Look at the kitten's ears and make sure that they are not inflammed, dirty-looking and are free of any odd discharges.
  • Make sure the kitten has pink gums and has musky yet healthy smelling breath.
  • Look for fleas as near the scalp of the kitten's coat
  • Make sure that the rectal area is clean and that there is no sign of diarrhea or tapeworms.
  • Kittens are generally not pot-bellied, if they are, this may signify worms.
  • Even at a young age, your kitten should exhibit very good coordination skills with his or her paws.
  • Compare the kitten to the other kittens in the litter; try and determine if the kitten looks excessively thin.
  • Look at the kitten's eyes and make sure they are clear and free from tearing.
  • Excessive sneezing, coughing or wheezing may indicate that there is an issue with the kitten.
  • Take your new kitten to a vet as soon as possible! This is very important.
  • Choosing a life long companion is a big deal, try and do it carefully. There's nothing worse than bonding with a kitten early only to find out there may be a serious health issue the kitten.

    Has this ever happened to you?

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