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5 Things to Expect from Your New Kitten
Congratulations! You've gotten yourself a kitten - and how cute she is! But if you've never owned a pet, you may be surprised by some basic things about kittens-and pet ownership, in general. Here are five things you can expect from your kitten.
How many cats do you own?
Scratching on things
Cats - and even kittens - scratch. It's their very nature to do so as it relieves stress and provides good exercise. You will have to train your kitten to scratch on appropriate surfaces such as cat trees and cat scratchers. Don't have them? Get them now or expect your good furniture clawed up in no time.
To train your cat to use the scratchers, sprinkle catnip on them. If your cat isn't enticed by catnip (some cats and most young kittens aren't), put a scratcher nearby the furniture your kitten is scratching on and put something like StickyPaws™ on the furniture to stop scratching fast.
Nothing is safe anymore
Cats, unlike dogs, can go vertical, so nothing breakable is safe from your kitty if she wants to get at it and it's not in a cupboard or drawer. New cat owners are amazed to see their kittens scale six feet or more of drapes, get to the highest shelves in their homes, or slip into the smallest cracks between furniture. You'll be amazed at how your kitten will be able to disappear.
Sleepless nights due to your kitten's nocturnal antics
Cats are normally nocturnal and kittens are no exception. You'll wake up to your kitten rushing around the house at 2 a.m., meowing plaintively because she "lost" you (even though you're in bed), or batting about a noisy toy. Playing with your kitten before you go to bed to wear her out will help considerably, but there will be times when she'll wake up ready to go again.
Changes to your lifestyle
Oddly enough, many new pet owners fail to take into account the time factor and responsibility required for pet ownership. While cats are fairly low-maintenance when compared to dogs, they still need love, attention and care. You can't just take off for the weekend without having someone come by to feed your cat and clean her litterbox. You have to be home every day to feed and ensure that your cat has water and a clean litterbox every day.
"Bring Me Home: Cats Make Great Pets," Margaret H. Bonham, Wiley and Sons, 2005.
Expenses you didn't think about
Free kittens aren't free to care for, and the price of a kitten doesn't end with the adoption fee or the purchase price from the breeder. Veterinary care, cat food and supplies all costs money. Veterinary care may include dewormings, vaccinations and spay or neuter. Ongoing cat supplies include food, cat litter, toys and scratchers.
Despite these inconveniences, most cat owners love their cats and find that one cat isn't enough. The love, attention and antics these critters provide often offsets any hassle the pet owner might experience.