CAT CARE ADVICE AND INFORMATION

 

We’ve got over 125 years experience of rehoming cats and of caring for cats, so on this page we’re sharing information and resources which we hope will be helpful for cat owners new and old.

Cats come to us for many reasons, but sometimes taking remedial steps can allow owners and cats to stay together – which is the ideal scenario. Please click on the buttons below if you need help or advice in a particular area. You’ll also find downloadable booklets, kindly supplied by Cats Protection, for tenants wanting to keep cats and for landlords who have tenants who want to keep cats.

Soiling Issues

There are many reasons for a cat to toilet outside of their litter tray. More often than not it is something simple that can be resolved. If your cat is exhibiting this problem then please take a look at this list of suggestions; we hope you will read through them and ensure you give them all a try. 

Please remember, no cat pees or poos outside of the litter tray out of spite or as a “dirty protest”. Cats aren’t capable of these emotions. There is normally a perfectly reasonable explanation as to why a cat has “accidents”. Punishment is NEVER a solution to these issues.  Understanding and appropriate action is what will be required to help your kitty.

There are a few old wives tales, such as using tinfoil, lemon or spraying the cat with water, but these don’t solve the issue – they just re-direct the behaviour to a different location.

Where to start?

To start with, you will want to ensure that any soiled areas have been cleaned sufficiently to deter the habit of ‘going’ there. 

You should clean the area thoroughly with an enzymatic cleaner such as biological washing powder/liquid at a 1:10 ratio with water. Once thoroughly cleaned, rinse the area with clean water and dry properly. You can also buy commercial products that are designed to remove pee/poo from furnishings. 

Next, is the important work of finding out the reason your cat may be soiling inappropriately.

Different cat litter

Cats have a preference for many things, including litter. Sometimes the type of cat litter or the type of litter tray can put a cat off using it, so we suggest trying different kinds of litter to find out just what your cat likes. 

There are clay based, paper based, wood based, and many more to try. Try more than one (in separate trays) and see which litter the cat favours. Sometimes perfumed or “odour-control” litters can put the cats off using it. You want to make sure that the cat has enough litter to dig, deposit and bury. 2-3 inches deep should do it. 

Different style litter trays

Some cats prefer an open litter tray while others prefer an enclosed litter box. Make sure the tray or box is the right size for your cat. If you have a big cat, they will need a big tray… otherwise it would be like us trying to go on a child’s potty!!

If you have an older cat, or one that has been diagnosed by a vet and suffers with joint problems/arthritis etc, they may find it difficult or even painful to climb into the litter tray. Try one with a lowered lip, or modify one yourself, just make sure it’s safe for kitty to use! 

Another issue that comes with kitty arthritis is that they aren’t always able to squat, so may pee while standing as it’s more comfortable for them. If this is the case, you can get trays with a higher back and a lower front, and you can always use a puppy pad underneath the tray in case they miss. (If your cat looks to be really struggling with their joints/arthritis, please seek advice from a vet as soon as you can.) 

Some cats in a multicat household may not like to use a covered tray as they may feel trapped if another cat tries to use it at the same time. (You should have one tray per cat, plus an extra one – but we’ll go into more detail about that later in this info sheet.)  

Remember also, that some cats may be put off by the plastic bag style litter tray liners. Try with and without to determine if this could be a cause of soiling. 

Litter tray placement, quantity and cleaning

When you have more than one cat, you will need more than one litter tray – makes sense, right? Well, you’d be surprised how many people expect their cats to share a tray, but this isn’t what the cats want. You should have one litter tray per cat, plus an extra tray for choice. These should be spread around the home so that the cat/s feel they have choice. 

Make sure the litter tray/s is/are situated in a quiet place/s – not in a noisy area of the house or where people/pets will be passing frequently. You should also ensure the cats’ food is well away from their litter tray, otherwise they won’t use it. 

Make sure all cats in the home have easy access to a litter tray – if they all need to toilet at the same time, they should be able to.   Litter trays should be cleaned regularly too. Cats are very clean animals and don’t like to use a dirty litter tray. Some cats will even have a preference about which tray to pee in and which to poop in. 

You should poo pick the litter tray daily (and wee pick if you use the clumping litter), and change the entire tray at least once per week with a cat safe disinfectant (you can buy these from your local reputable pet store). Please bear in mind, if you have more than one cat, you will likely need to clean the trays more often. 

Negative associations with the litter tray/area

On the odd occasion, a cat may be deterred from using a litter tray if they have had a bad experience whilst in one. For example, if the cat has had diarrhoea/tummy ache, it may have been painful when they used the tray, and they could associate that pain and discomfort with the tray. In this case, it’s important to ensure the issue of any pain/discomfort is identified and treated. Then try a fresh litter tray in a different area to the first. 

Or it could even be something as simple as the cat being ‘bothered’ or touched whilst in the tray. Sometimes children (and adults!) can be very inquisitive, but a cat should be left in peace while toileting.  

The Stress Factor

Stress can play a massive part in a lot of inappropriate behaviour in cats, including soiling outside of the tray. Finding the root cause of the stress is the most effective way to start trying to eliminate it. 

Do you have more than one cat? Is the cat with the toileting issue getting along well with the other cat/s? If there is any conflict (which can include bullying; hissing; hiding; blocking) then you will need to try and prevent this. You can try using a Feliway plug in diffuser in your home to try and create a more calming atmosphere. 

You should also try to position litter trays in a few different areas so that the cats can all toilet in peace, away from one another. If you are unsure whether the cat with the toileting issues is being bullied, try separating them from the others and give them their own safe place and their own litter tray. If the issue resolves, then it is likely that the stress of being around other cats ay be causing the issue. 

Another way to prevent stress, is to ensure you give the cats plenty of hiding places, scratchposts and high places so they are able to retreat when they want to escape the feeling of being stressed. Cats should always have the choice to remove themselves from a stressor or a stressful situation. 

Other changes that could contirbute to stress and/or toileting issues:

Have there been any changes to the home/garden? Including new decoration, new carpets, new landscaping, a new human/animal addition, a new cat in the neighbourhood? Any of these things can upset a cats’ routine and cause them stress. 

Is kitty poorly?

If the previous suggestions don’t seem to be working, it is a good idea to take your cat to the vets and have him/her checked out. There could be an underlying health issue causing your kitty not to use the litter tray. The sooner you get on top of this, the better for your kitty. 

See the vet immediately if you ever spot blood in the urine, or if your cat strains, but doesn’t release anything. This could be a sign of cystitis or a bladder infection that could be very harmful, and in some cases, life-threatening. 

In the case that your vet doesn’t find anything medically wrong with your kitty, it could be environmental or behavioural. 

Environmental suggests that the surroundings aren’t suitable for the kind of cat they are. Behavioural could mean that the cat never learned from a young age that the litter tray was an appropriate place to soil, and is now in the habit of going in different areas. This is very unusual, as the majority of cats innately want to find somewhere to dig, deposit and bury their pee and poop, and will normally get the hang of using a tray. Which is why we advise you to seek out other causes. 

Please consider these pieces of advice before deciding on rehoming for your cat, as solving this problem could mean that you and your beloved cat can stay together.

How To Combat Fleas

If you discover you have a cat with fleas, you will need to act quickly and thoroughly to ensure you eliminate the problem and keep on top of the issue. By following the steps below you may be able to eradicate the problem and keep your beloved cat in the home they love.

Step One

Firstly you will need to get some effective flea treatment for your cat.  We strongly advise you to go to your vet and obtain flea treatment from them. 

We advise that you:

    • Do not buy over the counter flea products. They aren’t as effective, can have adverse reactions with some animals and will not keep the infestation at bay. We have seen multiple chemical burns and bodily upset from non-prescription treatments, which will ultimately harm the animal and cost the owner a lot more in vet bills! 
    • Do not buy flea collars. They often aren’t safety collars, meaning your cat could get injured; they are not effective in killing fleas and aren’t usually any good at repelling fleas either. And remember, even if the fleas are repelled, where will they go…..carpets, fabrics and furnishings!
  • Do not use “home remedies”. Again these aren’t as effective and can end up costing more in vet treatment if it has an adverse reaction with your pet.
  • DO buy flea treatments from your vet. They will be safe for your pet and will be effective. The vet staff can also speak to you about finding the correct form of flea treatment for your pet.

Flea treatments come in a few forms, including a spot-on application (small pipette of product that is applied to the skin on the back of the neck); an oral tablet and a spray. 

Many people choose the spot-on treatment as this is the simplest to use, but speak to your vet staff if you’d like to try something different for your cat. 

Step Two

Next, we tackle the home. This isn’t as daunting as it may seem. As long as you have the flea treatment on your cat and it is proving effective, you don’t have to worry about them bringing any more fleas in (REMEMBER to keep the treatment topped up monthly or as directed by your vet). 

Depending on your home set up, you may have to treat the house in sections. We have found a few products in particular to be effective for treating the home – Johnsons 4Fleas Home Spray / Johnsons 4Fleas Room fogger / Indorex home spray. Always follow the instructions carefully on any product you buy. 

  1. You should start by vacuuming the whole house, paying special attention to warm spots such as under the radiators; your cat/dog’s favourite sleeping spots; sofas; bed mattresses and other soft furnishings.  
  2. Wash all pet bedding, and any throws/human bedding as these can be host to flea eggs/larvae.
  3. Then one room at a time, use a Home Flea Treatment spray or fogger.  Sprays can be most effective as you can direct the spray to all of the areas it is needed the most.

IMPORTANT : FOLLOW THE PRODUCT INSTRUCTIONS AND ENSURE THE ROOM BEING TREATED IS FREE OF PEOPLE AND PETS!!

  1. Once the room has been treated, air it out, vacuum again and then move on to your next room. 

If you can get this all done in a day (yes, you’ll have to start early!) then you will be able to get on top of the issue quickly. 

You can repeat this process 4 weeks later, however, if you keep on top of the cat flea treatment and vacuum regularly, you may never need to do it again! These instructions can also prove useful if you have a dog with fleas.

How To Solve Aggressive Behaviour

 

Cats are rarely aggressive towards humans, but if your cat has become aggressive to people or other pets there may be reasons behind it, and steps you can take. If your cat is displaying aggression towards you or a family member then please read our advice below.

Firstly, ask your vet for advice. There may be a medical reason for their aggression. If not, ask your vet to recommend a qualified pet behaviourist. Your cat could become aggressive for a number of reasons. By understanding the causes of aggression you may be able to help your cat to feel calm, secure and less aggressive – taking the correct action today could reduce and eliminate aggressive behaviour, meaning that you and your cat can enjoy a happy life together.

Feline aggression can take the following forms:

Defensive/fear aggression: your cat will usually run from anything they think is a threat, but they may defend themselves if they feel trapped or can’t escape, or if they have previously learned that attempting to flee doesn’t work.

Play and petting aggression: cats generally prefer short but frequent interactions, which is normal in feline etiquette. See our advice on cat interactions below for more information on this. Some cats will have a limit to how much petting they can handle, and too much interaction can lead to aggression. Always try and follow the 3 second rule explained below.

Territorial aggression: cats are naturally territorial creatures so if two cats meet on disputed ground or if a strange cat passes through another’s territory then aggressive behaviour and posturing can occur. If your cats are aggressive to each other seek veterinary advice or email us via info@thesheffieldcatsshelter.org.uk for advice and help.

Pain-related aggression: cats can’t tell us when they are in pain. Just like us humans, cats suffering from pain have lower tolerance levels and so are more likely to become aggressive.

Causes of aggression

Cats are more likely to become aggressive if they’re kept indoors without stimulation, access to essential resources or an outlet for their hunting instinct, or if they are unneutered. Young cats and those who have just been introduced to a new environment are also more likely to exhibit aggressive behaviour. We can supply neutering vouchers to subsidise the cost of the procedure, just call us on 0114 2724441 or email us on the address above. By neutering cats, showing patience and doing as much as possible to reduce or remove causes of cat stress or anxiety you may be able to change your cat’s mood and behaviour, meaning that you can live happily together.

Preparing Your Home For A New Cat

Moving from the shelter to their new home is an unsettling experience for a cat. They have often already had a stressful transition from their previous home to the shelter, so it is important to ensure their journey to their new home is as stress free as possible. 

Cats feel safe in a space that they are familiar with, that has all the resources they need, that smells like them, and that has a predictable routine. Moving to a new place, with new people and a different routine is therefore stressful, and it takes a few days for them to start to adjust to the change and up to a few weeks for them to settle fully into their new home. Be prepared for your cat to seem unsettled at first, but following our tips below can help your cat adjust quickly to their forever home.

Setting up their “Safe Room”

When settling in it is advisable to keep the cat in one quiet room for the first few days (longer if you have a particularly shy/timid cat). You should provide everything they will need during this time: food; litter tray; water; safe hidey spaces such as a cardboard box/igloo bed, some toys and some scratch posts. The room layout is important, water bowls, litter trays and food should be as far away from each other as possible, but easy to access. Please have this set up and ready before the day you visit the shelter, so the cat has a safe place ready and waiting for when you get them home.

What do I do when I bring my cat home?

When you get your new cat home, take them straight to their “Safe Room”, place the carrier down near their food, etc, open the carrier door (or take it off if possible) then be quiet and wait. Make sure everyone at home knows to be very quiet and not to crowd the kitty. There’s no need to force them to come out of the carrier if they don’t want to. You can just sit in the room with them, talk to them quietly and possibly offer them a few treats. If they still don’t want to come out, that’s normal so you shouldn’t worry. At this point the cat needs to decompress and sort through the changes that are occurring. You can leave them to their own devices in their safe room and let them explore in their own time. They may not come out until overnight when the house is quiet. It is normal for some cats to hide away for a few days and even not to eat or toilet for the first 24-48 hours. 

However, some cats are completely the opposite and feel right at home as soon as they get to their new abode. If they do want to come out of the carrier straight away, they will often not be very interested in being touched, so give them space. They will likely be more interested in exploring the room, sniffing everything, perhaps rubbing their cheeks on items, and then finding a nice hiding spot to settle down in. Over the next few days as they settle in they should become more interested in having fusses, and possibly even playing. 

When possible we like to send cats to their new homes with a blanket that smells like them in their carrier. This helps them feel more secure and may mean the carrier feels like a safe space for them, so for the first few days they may choose to sleep in their carrier or run back to it when feeling nervous, so leave it in their room.

How to interact with your new kitty

It is important to take everything at the cats’ pace and give them the choice and control in all interactions, especially when first settling them in and getting acquainted. The 3 second rule along with the CAT acronym is a great tip for ensuring you interact appropriately with the cat while they get to know you. 

C – Did I give the cat a CHOICE about whether or not it wanted to interact with me?

A – Am I paying ATTENTION and looking out for any subtle signs that the cat is uncomfortable?

T – Where am I TOUCHING the cat and does the cat want me to keep touching?

The 3 Second Rule, And How To Use It

  • Allow the cat to approach you, rather than approaching them
  • If they approach and want contact, stroke the cats’ cheeks and chin first, this is where the best scent glands are. Some cats like being stroked down their back, but some may get overstimulated by this. If in doubt, stick to the face, cheeks and chin.
  • When a cat has moved forward to initiate contact with your softly closed hand and appears to want this to continue, you can then start to touch and rub the cat gently around the cheeks and chin.
  • Do this for 3 seconds and then remove your hand a little to see if the cat comes forward again for more contact
  • Keep doing this (touch for three seconds and then stop) until the cat stops asking for more
  • You will notice that the session ends positively for the cat, as you gave them the choice and control throughout the interaction, building a bond of trust between you both

It is a good idea to get all visitors to your house to follow these rules when interacting with the cat.

When can my cat leave the “Safe Room”?

Having a “Safe Room” ensures that the cat is not overwhelmed by all the space in your home. A whole new house can be quite daunting to a cat if they’re allowed access to it all at once. This could put back the initial settling in period and result in a stressed, fearful cat that just wants to hide. It is much more beneficial for them to experience each part of the home a little at a time. 

Once they begin to find their feet (possibly after a few days – sooner with some cats, longer with others), you can allow them access to other rooms in the home one at a time. Please make sure any holes are blocked up, whether this is a chimney/fireplace floo, or a loose floorboard or skirting panel, as cats can and will squeeze themselves through any small gap, and may then get themselves stuck.

When should my cat be allowed outside?

If rehoming an adult cat that will be going outdoors, we advise keeping them inside for the first 4 weeks (minimum). They need time to settle into their new home, so that the cat feels it is a safe space for them to return to. They also need time to make a mental map of the outdoors by looking through windows around the house. If you allow a cat outside (or it escapes too soon) you risk them getting confused and becoming lost. 

If at the four week point, they are still feeling a little nervous or jumpy in the home, wait a bit longer until they feel confident. They must feel like their home is the safe place that they return to after a venture outside.

Take care with doors and windows during the first 4 weeks. Windows should not be open in rooms the cat has access to, they can squeeze out of a smaller gap then you might expect. Even windows that open at the top should be kept closed, as cats can and will jump up a long distance onto a small lip. Be mindful of windows in other rooms such as the bathroom too. Cats will smell the fresh air and make their way to it! 

Kittens must be kept strictly indoors for the first 6-8 months. 

How do I keep my cat indoors for the first 4 weeks?

Have a plan in place to keep your new cat from getting out of the home too soon. Make sure every member of the household understands what to do and how important it is that the cat isn’t able to escape. 

This could be: 

  • Making an airlock system so that you go through two doors before you get to the cat; 
  • Or it could be that the kitty stays in a separate room while you’re out (Just bear in mind that kitty may get stressed if confined to one room all day); 
  • Or if this isn’t possible, everyone will need to be extra cautious when entering and exiting the home.

My cat isn’t settling and it’s been 2 weeks, what should I do?

Give us a call (0114 2724441), or drop us an email (info@sheffieldcats.org.uk) to ask for some advice. Often it is just that one or two things can be put in place for the cat such as a calming diffuser such as Feliway, better hidey spots, a quieter and less invasive environment, or more likely, the cat just needs more time. 

All cats adjust and settle into their new environment in their own time. We can’t and shouldn’t try to rush them, but should remain patient and understanding. And remember, if you’re feeling stressed or impatient, your cat can sense this and react negatively. So stay calm, stay positive and remain patient, they will come around!

 

Caring For An Indoor Cat

Adopting an indoor only cat carries different responsibilities compared to those allowing their cats to have access to the outdoors. Domestic cats have evolved very little from wild cats, so living in a home with no access to the outdoors is a very different experience than their species is genetically built to deal with. While cats who are kept indoors are safer from physical harm, they are much more prone to mental suffering as they can struggle to cope with living in a confined area. With fewer sources of stimulation to keep them entertained and having fewer opportunities to allow them to express their natural behaviours, some cats can become unhappy living solely indoors.

We try very hard to place our cats in a suitable home, so would never rehome an outdoor cat to a solely indoor home unless there were extenuating circumstances. If you live in an area where it is possible for you to let your cat have outdoor access, this is preferable. If you are not able to give a cat outdoor access, then it is important that you do everything you can to make your home a good environment for a cat to live in. This means providing lots of sources of stimulation to prevent boredom and frustration, as these can lead to cats developing behavioural issues, which is a common reason for people putting their cats into rescue.

Keeping an indoor cat happy

Play time

The most important and effective thing you can do to keep your cat happy is to make sure they get enough good quality play time with you, every single day. This allows them to use their hunting instincts which is fulfilling and mentally stimulating for your cat. The best way to do this is using a fishing rod toy, make sure you move it in a way that is realistic and resembles the way a cat’s prey might move.

Make sure to introduce new toys regularly and put old ones away for a few weeks to keep things interesting. Play time is best done just before a meal: play, eat, groom, sleep, repeat is the cycle that your cat’s day should involve. Try to aim for a 10-20 minute play session, some younger cats may need several sessions in a day and for a longer duration, whereas older cats may need shorter sessions.

Make sure your cat also has enough toys that it can safely play with by itself when you are not around. Regularly introduce new toys and cycle old toys, provide them with new items to explore and play with – a simple thing like a cardboard box can provide a lot of entertainment. Toys don’t need to be expensive, there are plenty of ideas online for toys you can make out of things you may already have in your house.

Food time

Meals should be given after a play session if possible. If you’re feeding dry food there are lots of different types of puzzle feeders and interactive food dispensing toys available that help make food time more like hunting for your cat and keeps them mentally stimulated, make sure to switch these regularly to keep them interesting.

Indoor cats are usually much less active than cats with outdoor access, so a close eye needs to be kept on portion sizes, and on your cat’s weight.

Environment

For your new cat your house will be their entire world, so it is important that it is set up in a way that helps them feel secure.  Cats thrive in quiet homes with predictable routines. Changes in a home can be unsettling for all cats, but especially for indoor cats, as they aren’t able to remove themselves from the situation if something in the house is causing them stress. 

To help cats feel safe and happy they need secure access to all their resources (i.e. beds, food, water and litter trays); make sure that there are at least 2 of all of these and they are positioned in different areas of the house, so that your cat can access at least one of each type easily, even if they are avoiding an area of the house due to a stress factor (i.e. visitors or other pets).

If your household can be busy or loud, or has other pets, it is important for the cat to have a quiet area where they feel safe, that they can go to if they are stressed by anything going on in the house.

Make sure your cat has plenty of beds and hiding spots. Give them shelves and high up areas that they can safely access so they can climb and jump and explore as they would outdoors.

Cat furniture such as scratch posts and cat trees are an essential addition to your home. They provide an appropriate place for your cat to scratch; this deposits their scent making them feel more secure, keeps their claws in good condition and enables them to stretch and use muscles to keep them in shape. 

Climbing and jumping are natural behaviours for cats. A cat tree with multiple levels allows them to express these behaviours, which are good exercise, expand your cat’s territory and gives them a high point to nap or observe from.

Litter trays are an important resource for cats. Ensure they are positioned in a quiet area, that there are at least 2, and that they are scooped daily and cleaned every few days to prevent them becoming smelly. An overly soiled litter tray can deter the cat from using it which in turn can lead to them soiling outside the tray. Imagine not flushing the loo for a day in your home… would you want to reuse it before flushing?

Health

Obesity is a common problem for indoor cats, and can lead to serious health issues such as arthritis, diabetes and even urinary tract disease. Make sure not to overfeed your cat and ensure you keep them active.

It is important that indoor cats are kept up to date with vaccinations or they will not be protected from infection if they ever are exposed to these diseases. Additionally, if you are going on holiday and want to book your kitty into a cattery, they will only accept vaccinated guests. 

Flea and worm treatments should be kept up to date as these can easily be brought into the home on clothes and shoes, and these parasites are very uncomfortable for your cat. Treatments should always be obtained from your vet – for more details see our flea eradication advice above.

Make sure to keep the details on your cat’s microchip up to date, so that if they ever accidentally end up outside and get lost they can quickly be returned to you.

Other cats

It can be tempting to introduce a new cat to the house as a friend to keep your cat entertained. This may be a good option for some cats, but be aware that many cats cannot tolerate living with other cats, no matter how carefully they are introduced. Cats are naturally solitary animals, and although there are some exceptions to the rule, the majority of cats are happy as an only cat. 

If you think you may want more than one cat in the future, please consider adopting a bonded pair to start with.

Is having an indoor cat the right option for me?

Cats can live happily indoors, but please consider carefully whether having an indoor cat is the right thing for your household and a cat. 

Are you able to put in the time and effort that is needed for an indoor cat to have a happy life based on the information you have read here? 

Please feel free to ask a member of staff if you have any additional questions or would like additional advice about adopting. You can email us at info@sheffieldcats.org.uk. Thank you for reading. 

Bringing A Kitten Home

 

Kittens can typically be rehomed from around 11-12 weeks old. By this time, they have usually had plenty of socialisation with people and their littermates. They learn a lot in these first crucial weeks. They will learn to trust humans, learn how to use the litter tray, learn how to play and learn how to be cats!

Littermates can sometimes form strong bonds, which is quite often the reason for rehoming a certain pair together, as it would be quite distressing to separate them. Whereas other kittens are so confident and independent that they don’t get too attached to their siblings. These are normally the kittens that can be rehomed separately to their brothers and sisters.

There are many things to be aware of when taking new kittens home. Imagine letting a toddler loose in your home……well, letting kittens loose in the home is quite similar!

For this reason, the first thing you’ll want to do is kitten-proof the house. The following list of things to be aware of is extensive, but by no means exhaustive:

● Toilet lid down at all times – you don’t want a soggy moggy!!
● Keep windows and doors to the outside closed or on the night-lock setting (kittens should NEVER be allowed to go outside on their own until at least 8 months old). Have a family meeting and agree on ways that you will all be entering or leaving the house so that the kitten/s can’t escape, whether this be using a different door that the kitten/s won’t have access to, or leaving the kitten/s in a room away from the external doors while you are out.
● Keep any electrical cables out of sight and reach.
● Store all medications and toxic substances (household cleaners, etc.) in secure cupboards.
● Never leave a filled bathtub or sink unattended.
● Keep small objects (coins, needles and thread, dental floss, rubber bands,paper clips, hair bobbles, etc.) out of your cat’s reach.
● Use only safe cat toys; put toys with strings out of your cat’s reach when you aren’t with them.
● Cords for blinds can cause strangulation. Either tie up the excess cords, or cut the loop in the cord.
● Close washing machine and tumble dryer doors as soon as you have finished using them, some kittens like to hide inside them!!
● Hot cooker tops, open oven doors, and toasters should be inaccessible to kittens. Close doors on microwaves.
● Be aware of where your kitties are when you are about to lay back on your recliner sofas and chairs, some kitties like to get inside them for a snooze themselves!
● Plastic bags or paper bags with string handles should be kept out of the way of your kitten. Although they will get immense pleasure from playing in a cardboard box instead!
● Make sure food on counters is well covered or keep it out of the reach of kittens. They are very inquisitive and will try anything, even foods that are potentially harmful to them!

Remember! Kittens need lots of playtime in order to burn off all of that energy! Cats have a great routine in the wild, they will stalk and hunt their prey, then catch it and kill it, and then eat it. Playtime mimics this and lets them use their instincts, followed by their meal. After eating they will normally find a comfortable spot to
groom themselves a little and then fall into a peaceful sleep for a while.
PLAY —- EAT —- GROOM —- SLEEP —- REPEAT!!

Going outside…

When your kitten reaches around 8 months of age, they may be ready to venture outside. Bear in mind that they are still young and naïve, so for the first few times at least you will need to go outside with them. A good idea is to go outside in the garden with them just before their meal time. Take out some toys and play in the garden with them for a little while, then call them back in for their food. This should all be a short but positive experience so that they aren’t too overwhelmed or spooked. Then the next few times you go out, they can have a little longer and eventually they will be confident enough to explore on their own. It is a good idea to put a collar on your kitty (if they will wear one happily!) with an easy-release clasp in case they get into any bother with a tree branch for example!

Kittens are a fantastic addition to the family, but just remember that they can live up to 20 years, so they are a big commitment. They will give you unconditional love until the end, so take care of your feline family members and ensure they have the purrfect life!