Cats for adoption
When adopting and taking home a new kitten there are some important steps to take to ensure that it is happy and well. Before you can start training a kitten to do something or not do something you need to understand their behaviour and why they do what they do. We all know that cats are independent creatures, which is one of the reasons that we love them. But there are times when they will benefit from some human guidance.
Socialising a cat
Preparing a kitten to cope with the challenges he/she will face throughout their life has a huge impact on their lifelong welfare. The first ‘training’ that a kitten needs is to prepare them for the wider world, so it’s important to socialise cats as soon as possible. This will build their confidence around humans, and allow us to enjoy their company.
The experiences kittens have within their first two months of life are important in influencing their behaviour right into and through adulthood. It is an ideal time to expose them to new situations and environments.
Kittens are generally ready to be homed when they are 12 weeks old. If you adopt a kitten, you can continue to help it socialise by continuing to give it positive new experiences when it arrives in your home. A few things you can do are:
Using a Litter Tray
Although many cats are happy to go outside when they need to do their business, kittens must learn to use a litter tray. Most kittens learn this behaviour from watching and copying their mums at a very early age. It is important to always provide a litter tray in the home and not assume your cat will always be happy going outside. During times of bad weather your cat may not feel safe going outside and if a tray is not provided in the home they may poo where they shouldn’t. There are a few steps that you can take to help your kitten get used to its litter tray.
Cats often get bad press for climbing curtains and destroying furniture. But it is their nature to scratch. Kittens will scratch because they are curious, or playing, but also because it helps them to mark their territory and also stretches their muscles. The simple answer? Buy a scratch post. But make sure that it is a sufficient height to allow your kitten to stretch its full body length.
Rough surfaces are particularly appealing so you might want to choose a scratch post covered with something like rope. Some cats also enjoy using the cardboard scratch posts that are laid on the floor. Play with your kitten near the scratching post and reward it with praise when it uses it, maybe with a treat.
If your kitten does scratch an item of furniture, it will mark its scent and cleaning it with an anti-odour product may discourage it from going back there. Putting polythene on the item of furniture may be helpful as kittens generally aren’t so keen to scratch slippery surfaces.
The Sheffield Cats Shelter is uniquely placed because we use communal rooms to socialise as many cats as we can before we match them to a forever home. Please help us continue this work by visiting our Donations page.
Cats for adoption
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