A new kitten should be allowed to adjust to its home and littermates without interference from people for at least the first two weeks. Handling by strangers can be stressful or threatening, and may interfere with the cat’s relationship with other household pets. Kittens should not be taken away from their mothers before they are 4-6 weeks old. For more information, please see our handout “Kittens” on the Resources page.
What is the minimum amount of time I should keep my cat contained?
Please see this article about keeping cats indoors , which discusses the many benefits to keeping your cat indoors instead of allowing him or her to roam freely. If you do allow your cat to go outdoors, we recommend keeping him or her indoors for at least two weeks so he or she can become acclimated to your home and you can learn the habits of your new cat.
When should my kitten be brought to a veterinarian?
Kittens should be taken to see a veterinarian within 48-72 hours after adoption so that they can receive a medical examination, parasite prevention treatment, and age-appropriate vaccinations. Please see our article about the importance of spay/neuter for more information.
What kind of veterinary care do cats need?
Cats benefit from routine medical care just like people do. We recommend that you take your cat to the veterinarian at least once a year for check-ups, more frequently if he or she requires medical care. Please see our article about the importance of spay/neuter for more information.
Why is it important to spay or neuter my cat?
Spaying or neutering your pet helps improve his or her health, reduces the likelihood of certain types of diseases and behavior problems, and decreases the number of homeless cats and kittens. For more information, please see our article about spay/neuter .
What is the difference between a feral cat and a stray cat?
A feral cat is one who was born in the wild or has lived so long outside human care that he or she is not socialized to people. Feral cats may be completely independent of humans, but some ferals are partially socialized to people and can make good pets when trapped, neutered and returned to their habitat (TNR program). A stray cat is one who has been away from human contact for a period of time, but is social to people. Stray cats may have escaped from their home, been lost or abandoned and not yet made contact with humans again.
I’ve heard that it’s bad to declaw a cat – is this true?
Yes. Declawing (also called onychectomy) is the amputation of the last bone of each toe. It is an extremely painful procedure that should never be done as a convenience to the owner. Declawing drastically alters a cat’s gait, and puts them at risk for chronic pain or arthritis; it also increases their susceptibility to abscesses, tumors, skin infections and back pain.
Most importantly, cats need their claws. They use them to stretch, mark territory with scent glands in their paws, and for defense. A declawed cat often resorts to biting, which can lead to the cat being surrendered to a shelter or euthanized.
Fortunately, many alternatives are available that give owners all of the benefits of declawing – without surgery! Soft vinyl nail caps can be glued on a cat’s nails to prevent them from causing damage. For more information, please see the Paw Project’s page about declawing.