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Kittens: Tips From Will Draper, DVM

10/22/2010

  • Will Draper, DVM:

    Look at all these beautiful kittens. Don’t you all want to take a kitten home? (Laughter)

    Or two or three? To add to your brood? So does anybody have any questions about kitties?

  • Anne Wingo:

    Well, when we’ve had kitties, one of our things was how to introduce them to other cats in the household. Sometimes the kittens are just crazy, like these guys, and the adult cat doesn’t really want anything to do with them.

  • Will:

    The one thing that is pretty consistent is that it’s always easier to introduce a kitten into a cat household than another adult cat. If you have ever tried to bring another adult cat into a household, watch out. But fortunately, adult cats tend to be kind of understanding of the ignorance of kittens and the juvenile nature of them. While they may hiss, they won’t necessarily show aggression, and they typically will kind of grow up and learn from the cat. But some cats will be a little aggressive; you have to take it slow. But another thing to touch on is the challenge of feeding.

    Shot of kittens eating: Meow…meow…

  • Will:

    Kittens have to eat a different type of food than cats. Kittens are like babies. They are growing. They need more protein, more vitamins, more minerals, more calories that adult cats don’t need. But your adult cat is going to want the kitten food because it’s different and it tastes better. So keeping them separated in that case, so you don’t have any situations with that is a good idea. But kittens are considered kittens until they are one year of age and up until that point should have a kitten diet.

  • Anne:

    Dr. Will, when you bring a kitten into your home could you give us some tips for litter box training?

  • Will:

    Fortunately, kittens make it very easy. They are kind of innately born with the knowledge of how to use a litter box, how to bury their poop. Their moms show them that very well. But the challenge you will have is in a multi-cat household. Some cats won’t use a litter box that another cat uses. My general rule is that, for the number of cats you have, have one extra litter box, which of course is a challenge if you have seven cats (Laughter). I have three cats in my household; we have four litter boxes. I have a cat who will urinate in one box and only poop in another box. They are so spoiled. And of course cleaning it regularly is very important, you know. Cats are very clean natured and are not going to use a nasty, soiled litter box very long.

  • Otto Ojevaar:

    Do you have any recommendations as how to prevent the little kittens from scratching the furniture?

  • Will:

    When I can figure that out, Otto, I’m going to be a millionaire (Laughter). So if you are clipping their claws regularly, they are less likely to damage your furniture. There’s also plastic nail covers. You can have different types that you can put on your cat’s nails every few weeks that allow them to scratch without damaging your furniture. You know, scratching posts, things of that nature, sometimes help. But in my experience you get the scratching posts and they never scratch that. They still scratch your couch. (Small laughter)

  • Anne:

    I know with the scratching post, we have learned to add a little bit of catnip, rub it up on that, to get them interested in that …

  • Will:

    Yes …

  • Anne:

    … rather than the furniture. (She laughs)

  • Will:

    Great, great idea. Great idea.

Pet Health and Nutrition Advice

Veterinarian Will Draper gives tips on the best nutrition and health care for your dog or cat.
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