Kitten questions! Are you ready?
By: Dr. Jane Matheys
The Cat Doctor Veterinary Hospital
For Pets Best Insurance
We’re in the middle of kitten season with the majority of kittens being born between spring and fall. Who can resist these cute little balls of fur? It’s easy to fall in love with these adorable, cuddly creatures, but before you bring a new kitten into your home there are a few things to consider, aside from which food, toys and cat insurance to purchase.
First and foremost is whether you’re ready and able to make the commitment that comes with pet ownership. As a cat owner, you are responsible for providing proper food, shelter and health care for your cat’s entire life, not just when it is small and cute. Cats are not disposable. I hear way too many sad stories about cats being left behind to fend for themselves when the owners move away, cats being dumped out in the countryside when they’re no longer wanted, and cats being surrendered to local shelters as adults because they’ve lost that kitten cuteness factor.
Three to four million cats and dogs are euthanized in shelters every year. Please be a responsible pet owner and be part of the solution to pet overpopulation, not a part of the problem.
Kittens are also an expense, especially during the first year of their lives. Work their general costs into your monthly budget, and be sure that you have a small fund set aside for routine or wellness care, particularly if your kitten will be going outdoors when it’s older. You can also look for a pet insurance company that offers wellness care coverage.
Improvements in both dog and cat insurance over the past ten years have made it more worthwhile than ever. There are more policy options available, and you have a much better chance of finding a policy that covers what’s important to you and your cat at a price you can afford.
It’s also important to consider your current home situation. Do you have a dog? Many dogs and cats that live together learn to be friends, but some breeds are “cat chasers”, and some kittens may be too playful and interactive for some dogs. Your veterinarian can help guide you as to what might be the best fit for your unique situation if you decide to open your heart and home to a kitten.
Do you already have any cats? If so, how many and what are their ages and genders? You would not want to bring a new kitten into a household that has a single geriatric cat. Senior pets do not always appreciate the rambunctious antics of a crazy kitten! In these cases, if possible, it would be better to get two kittens that would be more likely to bond to each other and not bother the older cat.
Cats that have lived alone for a long time are also less likely to accept a new pet quickly. It’s necessary to be able to provide a separate room for each cat with separate food and water dishes and separate litter boxes, especially during the introduction period. Sometimes it’s helpful to add a kitten of a different gender to help maintain peace in the household.
If you’re starting with an empty nest, also consider getting two kittens. If you work long hours or are away from home a lot, the kittens will provide each other with plenty of activity and companionship. Some cat insurance companies, like Pets Best Insurance even offer multiple pet discounts!