TABLE OF CONTENTS
Bringing your new RagaMuffin kitten home
When the time comes to bring your new RagaMuffin kitten home, you will want to have all his or her food and water bowls, litter boxes, scratching posts and toys set up in a separate room. A guest bedroom would be a wonderful place. Cats are territorial and current household cats will not like the newcomer. Introduce them (or introduce your new kitten to its new home ) by isolating your new kitten in its “safe” room, letting the household cat/dog smell the newcomer through the cracks under the door. Even if you do not have other animals, it is VERY important that the introduction process for your kitten be followed as described. This process allows your kitten to acclimate to your home with the least amount of stress and also provides the kitten the opportunity to bond with you. THIS IS SO IMPORTANT!! If you can sleep with your kitten for several nights, that would be ideal. If it is better for you to set up your kitten's “safe” room in your bedroom, so that your kitten can sleep with you, you can do that.
Feed your new kitten in this room and provide the kitten with his or her own litter box. Show the kitten the food, water and litter box when you first introduce the kitten to the safe room. Put your RagaMuffin kitten in his or her safe room and allow them to explore, while you sit on the floor and talk to them. Kittens are different in how fast they will adjust. Some will be more hesitant, but if you have patience and follow these instructions, you will not be disappointed!
While you are sitting on the floor allowing your kitten to become accustomed to the smells and noises of their new home, do not force your kitten to come to you. Allow the kitten to initiate contact. Wait until the kitten is comfortable with you before picking the kitty up for cuddles . Spend time with your new kitten in this room, playing and cuddling. A teaser toy is an excellent way to “break the ice” with your new kitten, but be sure not to leave any teaser toy on the floor for your kitten to play with unattended. This play time will enable your new kitty to bond with you before he or she is introduced to the other animals or to the larger area of your home .
After your RagaMuffin kitten has become comfortable in his or her room (playing with you and not showing signs of nervousness, and allowing you to hold him or her), gradually allow your new kitten time out of the room, but only with your supervision . Simply leave the door open in the room where you have been keeping your kitten and allow the kitten to come out and explore. Never leave the new kitten alone with other animals until you are certain that they have become friends. This could take several weeks if you have other animals . If you don't have other animals, it's still important to let your new RagaMuffin kitten get used to a smaller area first and then to have the run of the house. With lots of love and this period of bonding, you will have the most wonderful pet you could ever imagine!
Before you bring your RagaMuffin kitten or RagaMuffin cat home, be sure to follow the instructions on kitten proofing your home. Tie all blind chords up out of your kitten's reach. Use the “child proof” caps for all electrical outlets. Be careful that any sewing items, such as needles and pins, yarn, thread, etc., are not laying around. Cover electrical cords so that your kitten does not chew on them. Do not let your RagaMuffin kitten play with a teaser toy while they are unsupervised. Any fine collectibles that are within your kitten's reach should be put away until your kitty is about a year old. Check your house for small objects laying around that your kitten might decide are ”toys” and inadvertently swallow them. Anything they can get to with STRING on it should be considered dangerous (watch the dental floss you throw in the wastebasket each day). Be careful that they do not have access to any pieces of aluminum foil that you have discarded, as this can be dangerous to them if swallowed. Make sure all toilet seats are kept down, so your kitty does not jump in!
Watch for the following chemicals that are hazardous to cats.
Antifreeze: Tastes sweet, commonly found on garage floor, by the time your cat shows symptoms, it's too late.
Pine Cleaning Products: Highly toxic. Sap from Christmas trees is also toxic. While thinking of the holidays, please be aware that tinsel can lodge in the intestines of your kitty, so do not use tinsel on your tree. A vet once told me that he was inundated after Christmas with cats that had ingested tinsel, in some cases requiring surgery.
Here is a list of other chemicals that are dangerous to cats:
Listed here are plants poisonous to cats that must be avoided if there are cats in your home. Note that lilies(*), in particular, are dangerous to cats. While in some cases, just parts of a plant (bark, leaves, seeds, berries, roots, tubers, spouts, green shells) might be poisonous, this list rules out the whole plant. If you must have any of them, keep them safely out of reach. Should your kitten or cat eat part of a poisonous plant, rush the cat to your vet as soon as possible. It would be helpful if you could take the plant with you for ease of identification.
Cats are obligate carnivores. As a result, their nutritional needs are different from dogs. Obligate carnivores are biologically designed to get most of their nutritional requirements from animal based proteins, as opposed to plant based proteins. This means that cats need animal meat and organs, as opposed to grain and vegetables to meet their nutritional requirements. Cat do not possess the enzymes that some other species (including humans) have in order to process and get the benefit required from plant based proteins.
While your RagaMuffin kitten has been living with us, he or she has been eating Nature's Variety Instincts Chicken Formula, Salmon and Duck canned food and and Nature's Variety Instincts Raw Boost Chicken Formula dry food. I will supply samples of all foods your RagaMuffin kitten has been eating when you pick your kitten up, but please make sure that you have some on hand before you bring your RagaMuffin kitten home. Natures Variety Instincts canned is nutrient dense with vitamins, minerals, fats and fatty acids essential for optimal health of your cat. Nature's Variety Instincts canned is rich in powerful antioxidants. Nature's Variety Instincts does not contain corn, wheat, dairy, by-products, artificial colors or flavors found in other leading brands.
Your RagaMuffin kitten will do best if he or she remains on the same diet they were on before you adopted them. I also encourage 'Muffin adopters to feed more canned than dry food. Most dry foods are too high in carbohydrate and too low in moisture. The cat is an obligate carnivore, and as such, canned food is closer to its natural diet. Water is very important to your cat. Cats do not have a strong thirst drive when compared to some other species. This makes it imperative that they have a diet that is water-rich. A cat that is fed mostly dry food could wind up with chronic low-level dehydration.
I do not feed my RagaMuffin cats dry food. My RagaMuffin adult cats eat only canned food, because I believe this is much better for their health. However, while your new RagaMuffin is still a kitten (until about one year old), they have higher calorie requirements, so please leave the dry food bowl down and full at all times, in addition to canned food for breakfast and dinner. As they mature, slowly increase their canned food intake, gradually offering larger portions at each meal time and decrease and eventually eliminate any dry food from their diet.
I highly recommend the book, “ Your Cat ” by Elizabeth M. Hodgins, DVM. This book provides information with respect to diet and other important issues related to your cat's health.
Water: Fresh water should always be available. It is best to use stainless steel or crockery ware since the use of plastic dishes can cause chin acne. Some household water can cause crystals in the urine. The use of distilled water, if possible, is preferred. At a minimum, you should provide filtered water. I use the Neater Feeder for kittens to avoid spills on the floor. While they are so young and active, they may play with their water bowl, or just knock into inadvertently, spilling water over your floor. The use of the Neater Feeder avoids this and I love the fact that I am not constantly mopping up messes from kitten craziness!
Cat Treats: Pet adopters often ask me what treats are healthy for their RagaMuffin kitten. I highly recommend Halo Liv a Littles chicken as kitty treats. The Halo Liv a Littles is nothing but freeze dried white meat chicken. No additives or artificial preservatives. Your kitty will love them and they can be used to help you train your RagaMuffin kitten.
With small RagaMuffin kittens, I suggest that you have a couple of litter boxes placed at strategic intervals in your house. If your house has more than one level, there should be at least one box on each level. It can be difficult for a young RagaMuffin kitten to make it from one end of the house to the other “in time.” Open or closed litter boxes should be fine—your kitty has had a chance to use both kinds. If you have a dog or to reduce litter scatter, you might like to use the closed boxes. Some RagaMuffin cats like the closed litter box for privacy. Some cats will prefer a litter box without a top, because the closed litter boxes will retain odors and could turn your cat off. You should have one litter box for each cat in your household, plus one additional litter box. Depending upon the number of floors in your house, you may need more litter boxes than this. I have been using World's Best Cat litter (red or purple color on the bag). It will be easier on your RagaMuffin kitten if you start her or him out with the same litter he/she has been using. If you change litters, do so gradually, so that your RagaMuffin kitten has a chance to get used to using something new. Cats prefer the clumping litter, because it is softer on their paws. Cats do not like scented litter. The litter should be scooped at least twice per day (more often if you have multiple cats). Cats do not like dirty litter boxes and the best way to avoid house soiling is to keep the litter box clean. A total litter change should be done at least monthly and the litter box should be cleaned and disinfected with each change. Litter boxes should be changed out on an annual basis. When the cat scratches to cover up, they leave scratch marks in the bottom of the litter box. Over time, the scratches in the box will cause the box to retain odors, which your RagaMuffin cat will find unpleasant.
If a kitty has a lapse in remembering to use the litter box, I add a couple of handfuls of Cat Attract litter or Kitten Attract litter to the litter box. It contains herbs that attract the kitty. It is available at PetSmart and on the web.
Your RagaMuffin Kitten will love to have a place to take catnaps and relax. This cat condo provides your RagaMuffin Kitten with two options for relaxing, and also provides sisal rope for your kitty to use as a scratching post. Your RagaMuffin Kitten will love you for it!
I have also used the toys listed below with my RagaMuffin kittens and RagaMuffin cats.
Catnip cigars - my cats LOVE these catnip cigars. Not all catnip is created equal. I keep a few of these around to bring my RagaMuffins pleasure. You can order more than one and store them in your freezer to keep them fresh.
Da Bird Catcher – this is a teaser that never fails to entertain my cats. Remember not to leave teasers out with your cats unattended. They will get needed exercise and interaction with you from playing with this toy.
Undercover Mouse Cat Toy – this battery operated toy entertains all my felines. They are intrigued by the movement under the nylon cover. However, I find that it takes my most rambunctious felines only a few moments before they have dislodged the “teaser” part of the toy, necessitating stopping the toy, reattaching the teaser and then starting it again. I would like to see the teaser part better attached so that it did not come apart so easily.
Turbo Scratcher – this is a great toy for cats. They can't seem to resist batting the ball around the circle, and the middle also provides your cat with a great cardboard scratching post. The middle cardboard section is replaceable for when your RagaMuffin kitten has worn it out .
Play and Squeak Mouse – My RagaMuffins kittens LOVE this toy. My adult RagaMuffin cats also really enjoy the squeak sound this toy makes when batted around. This is one toy that will keep your kitty entertained.
Smart Cat Peek a Prize Toy Box - My RagaMuffin kittens love this toy and it will provide them with lots of exercise and entertainment. I find my adult RagaMuffin cats don't play with this toy much, but the kittens love it.
Incredible Motor Mouse – The kittens love the mouse running around in circles and my RagaMuffin adults can't resist this one either. Since this is motorized, this is a great toy for when you are worn out after playing with your RagaMuffin Kitten with Da Bird Catcher! It also provides a surface for your kitten or cat to use for scratching.
A good practice with any toys you buy for your RagaMuffin kitten is to put it away occasionally, and then when you take it out a couple of months later, it will be like you just bought them a brand new toy!
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