Preparing for your new kitten
Congratulations! You are about to add a new addition to your family. It's a lifetime commitment! While its an exciting time for you, it can be a rather frightening time of adjustment for your new kitten/cat. Before they arrive you will need some basic supplies; stainless-steel food and water bowls are best. Keep them clean at all times. If you wouldn't eat or drink from them, nor should they. Have a litter box and cat litter ready. I recommend Rubbermaid 10 gallon containers (these come in blue, green, and grey) for kittens/adults and Sterlite 25 gallon containers for adults. Both are pictured below and they are what I use in my home so these are what they are accustomed to. I like them because they are larger sized than your every day litter box and help with containing the litter from getting all over the place. Home Depot, Walmart and Target carry them. I do not recommend litter boxes with a cover or a lid and do not put them in corners where there is only one way out, cats do not like this. Dr. Elsey's kitten attract litter is great to start with, or Tidy Cats 4-in 1 with the black cap. All the kittens are started on chicken food crumbles which is made of corn and can easily be transitioned back to The Worlds Best Cat Litter brand if you would like. Please have plenty of toys available like balls and mice to stimulate play. I recommend Mylar crinkle balls, springs, fuzzy mice and some kind of wand for play time. Also, corrugated cardboard boxes are good for scratching. Wheat grass is great for adding much needed live veggies to their diet.
American Exotic Cat kittens are started on Royal Canin Mother and Babycat dry and wet food. As they grow larger they may be transitioned to 4health Grain Free Whitefish, Pea & Potato with Real Turkey Recipe and wet food. Below is a link to purchase the dry food directly from Tractor Supply. They do not sell this anywhere else, so you will have to order from them. Pictures of these foods are at the bottom. Simply ask which foods your kitten/cat is on. They are also using Tidy Cats Litter 4-in-1 health with the black cap and Dr. Elsey's Precious Cat litter.
Kittens can sometimes be shy when they first arrive to their new home. They have lived at our house for the first few months of their life. They have only known growing up with their mother and siblings in my environment. There will be new faces and a multitude of new sights, sounds and smells. It's best to keep them in a small area with few hiding places and to socialize with them often. If you want a lap cat, then pick them up and put them into your lap often. Immediately when you get home place them into the litter box and do so several times within the first couple days.
Handle them with care, they are infants. Do not allow small children to handle them unattended. Introduce your kitten to existing pets and children gradually and carefully, older cats and dogs can seriously hurt them. Do not ever rough play with your kitten. It may be cute now, but will not be when they are 15-20 pounds. You will have taught them its the right way to play and its not fair to them that suddenly you no longer want to play rough because it hurts.
Your kitten needs the proper nutrition to stay healthy. Dry food with whole meat as a first ingredient will need to be left out at all times. Do NOT feed foods that have corn or meat meal as a first ingredient. To switch foods from what I am using you will need to do it slowly. Add 1/4 for a week, and then 1/2 the next week. Also, feed wet 2-3 times a day. Do not keep food/water near the litter box. Change water once or twice a day.
Make your home safe. There are many dangers that can exist inside your home. Hide or wrap up any exposed electrical cords as some kittens will chew them. Remove any small choking hazards that may look like toys to your kitten. Also keep toxic household products out of your kittens reach. This includes ant/mouse/roach traps. Do not use any products that end in "sol" like pine-sol, etc. They can cause serious problems. Limit access to balconies and decks. Have a trash can with a lid and keep your toilet seat down. Be careful with irons and curling irons. Kittens love laundry baskets. Be sure to check them before adding to washing machine. Ask your veterinarian about plants that may be poisonous to your kitten and remove any in your home or yard. There are many that can kill a kitten, including Lilys.
Remember to have an initial checkup with your veterinarian to activate the health guarantee. This also needs to be sent to me. To save time, choose a vet before your new family member comes home. If you cant select one, ask family members or friends to give you a referral. Also find the nearest emergency vet that has after-hours and add that number to your phone or post on your refrigerator in case of an emergency.
The first night may be very scary for your kitten and it may cry. Do not allow children to smother the kitten, they cannot get away. They are not toys. Supervise children when playing so they avoid getting scratched. If the kitten is scratching, its very scared. Adult cats do not always appreciate the invasion of their territory. Some may show displeasure with threatening behavior. If this is the case, introduce slowly like during playtime or wet food time. Repeat this process until the cat no longer minds the presence. A hierarchical relationship will then be established between the cats. Dogs can easily kill a kitten in seconds and a slow introduction will be necessary.
Grooming- Along with sleep, grooming is one of the kitten's top priorities. Grooming your kitten with a brush to reduce shedding as soon as possible is a must, especially if you have purchased a long haired kitten. Brushing can become a treasured time and will produce a beautiful shiny coat. They will learn to love the attention you give them. This can be done in the evening when you are watching television. Brushing will remove the dead hair that accumulates in the fur. It will also reduce hair balls because they will not swallow it. Metal combs work best for long haired cats to reduce matting.
If you have purchased a kitten with curled ears, a cleaning routine will need to be mastered to avoid too much build up. Every kitten's ear canals are different and you will need to figure out how often you will need to clean the ears. This could be every week to every other day. Please follow the tab regarding ear cleaning on this website.
In regards to vaccinations, I recommend giving 3 sets total of 3-way vaccinations every 3-4 weeks to ensure proper inoculation. I do not recommend giving 5-way vaccines. Many kittens can get Chlamydia from the vaccine. DO NOT give a Leukemia shot. I also recommend worming your kitten at the same time you vaccinate them. Your kitten will have already been given 1-3 vaccinations prior to you receiving him/her. After your first 3 vaccinations you will do one more at 1 year old. After that, you only need to give a vaccination every three years. A health record will be sent along with your kitten letting you know what has been done. Please do not lose them as I do not have a replacement for you. Included will also be a spay/neuter certificate. Your kittens microchip number will also be included. I keep the microchip in my name as a primary and you as an alternate. The reason I do this is it is the ONLY way for me to rescue your kitten/cat if there is ever a need. I am a responsible breeder and will always take back a kitten/cat or help with placement. Should you have a change in information, just let me know.
Your kitten should be wormed once a month until 6 months old After that, every three months to a year. If you have fleas, than your cat will have tapeworms.
I am always available to answer any questions for the lifetime of your new family member. I also always love photo updates and I use them on my Past Kittens page. Congratulations again on your new American Exotic Cat kitten/cat.