"karma the kitty"

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

If you've been a follower on Instagram/Facebook, you probably would have already seen my post about my dear Bailey gone missing. I'm terribly upset and I'm hoping he would still come home one day. Maybe he thinks it was his time to leave the nest, or perhaps he's found a new companion. We'll never know, it's a catty cat world out there.

Most who have already known me, or have been reading my blog for the past 6 years, would know I own cats who tend to run away at one point or another. My first cat, Lord Fatty ran away just right after his UTI surgery. That was just a mere few months away from his 2nd birthday. Followed by Bailey, who then ran away after being with us for over 2 years.

I guess a cat-free home feels weird, since that I've been living with having at least one cat at home for the past few years. So I decided to adopt one from an independent rescuer. A side note here about the rescuer: Please visit the site and give your support by rescuing if you can. Sherrina, the rescuer is really dedicated and I have visited her home where she houses rescued dogs and cats (about 12 cats, some which are her own) and it's amazing how well kept the place is, and how much the animals love her.

Adopting a new cat requires a lot of time, patience and a slight lifestyle adjustment. Please do not adopt if you can't commit. Since I have quite an experience with bringing in new kitties, I am going to list down a few things that you should know before adopting.

Everyone, meet Karma, the kitty.

This was her on her first day home, 
a little nervous around new people

Logically, a cat would be scared, terrified even, of a new environment away from her mom and siblings. Everything would smell, sound, look and feel foreign to her. So it is your job, to ensure that your kitty is as comfortable as possible in her new home.

  • Give her time to adjust, by not pushing or rushing her to play or do anything she doesn't want.
  • Cats hide when they feel scared or stressed, so provide a dark, enclosed space for her to hide in. (if you don't your cat may hide in the litter box, like mine did, which is not what you want)
  • Try not to make loud noises around her, as it would scare her even further.
  • Stroke her head and talk in a calming and comforting voice. This is to let her know you're her new caretaker so she needs to get adjusted to hearing your voice. It would help you to slowly gain her trust.

We made her a makeshift hiding place/bed to go to when she feels scared or nervous. 
That way, she would not run and hide in the litter box, or feel cornered.

The first few things you need to ensure is that your kitty knows where her toilet is. You do not want your new cat to eliminate all over the house (usually under couches and hard to reach places) and cause you and your family discomfort. She also needs to know where her food will be so she can eat her own food, and not yours.

  • Either cage or leash your kitty. Just for the first week or two. This is to allow the cat to get used to your home environment, and not try to run home to her mom and siblings. She might also hide under couches or cupboards where you can't reach her. Unless you have a spare room to convert into a cat room, these are your only options.
  • If using a cage, make sure it's big enough for her to move about and to have the litter box inside too, so she would learn to eliminate in that area.
  • If using a leash, make sure it's a long enough leash and big enough space, where she won't get tangled up around furniture. Keep the litter box within her proximity.
  • By day two, she's probably ready for some playtime and affection. Be gentle and just be very generous with rubs, petting and playtime.
  • After about one week, let your kitty roam around (under  your supervision) and this would be the time to let her know what's okay and what's not. (Gnawing on wires is not okay, so is jumping on countertops.)
  • If she adjusts well enough, you can let her roam out of the cage or unleash her, but at least observe her for a day to see how she fares. If she uses her litter box to eliminate every time and knows where her food & water is, then your kitty is set to live in your home.

This was her on day three. 
She loves climbing onto our laps and seeking for affection.

Karma is a 4 month old kitten, which means she's in her teething stage. Like puppies, they also go through a teething stage where new teeth starts to grow. This could be very painful at times for the kitty, and the stress from that pain would make her a little more withdrawn and prone to hiding in dark places. That would also mean that she would be constantly nipping and biting your toes and fingers during this stage – which Karma does very frequently.

  • Buy her a chew toy. Every time she starts to nip at you, give her the chew toy instead. This would teach her to deflect her chewing instincts to the toy and not you. Be patient, this takes time.
  • Kittens teething stages are from 4 months to 6 or 7 months old. Be ready to be very patient.
  • Feed her kitten kibble that is much softer for her to chew. You can add in some water to soften the kibble if you see your kitten struggling to eat.
  • Avoid feeding her human food. Some food that are known to be poisonous or bad for cats are chocolate, onions, raw fish/meat, salted food stuff, and even milk – because most cats are lactose intolerant.

Karma sitting very adorably on my boyfriend's lap. :)

As a responsible owner, your kitty's health is your responsibility.

  • Bring her to a vet for a check-up and have her vaccinated. There are three vaccinations for kitties, which should be given 3 months apart.
  • Have her dewormed. It's a simple one-time tablet the vet will give her, to ensure a healthy heart and digestive system.
  • When she's old enough, about 7 months and above, have your cat neutered. By neutering, you will have a calmer and a more submissive cat. This is also to avoid unwanted kittens that you might not be prepared to handle. For male cats who are not neutered, they will spray their pee around the house to mark their territory.
  • Provide a scratching post. Cats need to scratch to remove the old nails, and reveal the new ones underneath. Scratching posts distract cats from scratching your beloved furniture.

Having a new kitty at home is a joy, if you have the time and patience to teach her the house rules. Soon enough, you can let her be and she would be a delightful new addition to your household. Give her lots of love, and kitty will love you back unconditionally.

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All images and text here are the intellectual property of Michelle Lim, owner of the blog site www.coquettishmish.com, and related third-party ownerships. Any use, reproduction or re-quoting of the materials here can only be done with expressed permission from the blog owner, and should be duly credited where necessary.