Kitten Care

Acclimatizing your new kitten to its new home:

You have been waiting a long time to bring your new kitten home and are naturally excited. However, for your kitten, this is a very stressful time. It is leaving all it has known thus far, traveling in a carrier and a car and arriving at a new place with new smells, new people and potentially other new animals. Take your time in getting your new kitten adjusted to its new home and your relationship will flourish. Rush this time and your relationship may forever be strained.

Prior to getting your kitten, it’s important to set up a space where your new kitten will live for the first few weeks home with you. I recommend a quiet room such as a spare bedroom, large bathroom or even a partioned area of your home.

There are three things that need to happen in this area during the first couple weeks. First, you need to be assured your kitten is using the litter box properly. Make sure he/she knows where it is or have several available for him/her to use. Make sure the litter box is low enough that your kitten can climb in. You may need to adjust the type of litter if your kitten objects. Here, we use Yesterdays News non clumping scent free paper pellets. After we are sure kittens are not eating their litter, we use Dr. Elsey’s Precious Ultra Scented clumping litter.

Secondly, your kitten needs to adjust to its new environment. I will be sending home a bed with your kitten that smells like its old home. Be sure he/she has the bed with it. This will provide some comfort for your kitten. At the same time, I recommend putting several new scent absorbers in the room with your kitten, such as new beds, a cat tree, blankets and scratching posts. This will allow your kitten to transfer its own scent to these items. Then, when you move your kitten into its full living space, you can move these items around so that he/she can claim some ownership of the space. I recommend getting a cat tree with a hiding hole. Some kittens will prefer to lie in an open space, some prefer a high space and some prefer a cave-like space. Have lots of toys in this room such as small plush animals, feather chasers and ball spinners, i.e. toys your kitten can play with alone.

Thirdly, your kitten needs to adjust to you. You and your family members need to spend time in this space with your kitten, going at his/her own speed. Bring in interactive toys that your kitten needs you to play with. Wands and chasers are a great way for you to bond with your kitten. After play time, it is natural for your kitten to want to grab a snack and take a nap. Don’t hesitate to bring in a book or your computer and just sit quietly while your kittens goes about his/her business. If your kitten isn’t rushing to jump in your lap or snuggle with you right off the bat, don’t worry. He/she may just need to take a few days to get used to you. All of our kittens are well socialized while they are here but all kittens are different and some may be more cautious than others.

If you have other pets that your kitten will be living with, it is important for your new kitten as well as your existing furry friends to get used to one another. I recommend the scent transfer technique. The idea is to get the smells to mix so they don’t seem so foreign to either party. Take a dry washcloth and rub it on your kitten, then take it out and rub it on your other animals. Then take it back and rub it on your kitten. Do this several times a day. After several days, I suggest having supervised visits with the existing animals, one at a time if there are multiple. Maybe do this with a child gate between rooms if possible. After a few days it’s time to let them live together but keep an eye on them.

Grooming

Ragdolls lack an undercoat. As a result, they generally do not mat and shed. Regular grooming is not required. However, I do occasionally like to comb them. It helps to smooth out their coat and is a nice bonding experience. I recommend a straight steel comb with narrow and wide teeth. I strongly recommend against shaving your cat with a lion coat. It is stressful to them, can create cuts in the skin and it is possible that their luxurious coat may not grow out normally ever again. However, sometimes a sanitary clip may be called for. If your Raggy is getting stool stuck in its fun, you may need to trim the hair on the back side. However, do not trim it very short. This can be very irritating.

It is also important to trim nails about once a week or so. Here at our house we have a kitty spa day. One by one they get their nails trimmed and immediately after they get special treats. They come running for their spa time!

Food/Water:

We free fee our cats here with dry food. They eat Purina Pro Plan Chicken and Rice. You will receive a sample bag when you pick up your kitten. However, I recommend you purchase a bag prior to bringing your kitten home. As a veterinarian, I recommend against Grain Free food. Studies show it has been linked to heart disease. I also feed canned food once or twice a day. Try different varieties to see which he/she prefers. You may phase out the canned food as they grow.

It is important that your cat drink clean water regularly to prevent urinary tract issues. I recommend a water fountain that has an area where your cat can drink the trickling water or the water in the bowl. I have tried many different kinds and the one that works the best for us is the Veken Pet Fountain from Amazon.