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TABLE OF CONTENTS

Bringing your new RagaMuffin kitten home
Kitten proofing your home
Poisonous plants
Diet and nutrition
Litter and litter boxes
Play time and toys for your kitten

Grooming your RagaMuffin kitten
Your kitten's need to scratch
Dental Care
Controlling behavior

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!

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KITTEN PROOFING YOUR HOME

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.

Drain Cleaners: If you use them, BE SURE to keep the door to your bathroom closed tight until you can rinse the chemicals well and be sure there is no residue. Cats will often lick the bottom of a sink and drain cleaners are clear fluid and very toxic.

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:

Acetaminophen (pain killers)      
Aspirin
Bleach                             Boric Acid
Brake Fluid                       
Cleaning Fluid
Deodorants                         Deodorizers
Disinfectants                     
Dye
Fungicides    
Furniture Polish
Gasoline                           Herbicides
Insecticides                      
Laxatives
Metal Polish                      
Mineral Spirits
Mothballs                          Nail Polish & Remover
Paint                             
Paint Remover
Photographic Developer            
Rat/Ant Poison
Rubbing Alcohol      
Shoe Polish
Snail/Slug Bait                   
Detergents
Suntan Lotion                     
Tar
Windshield Washer Fluid           
Wood Preservatives

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POISONOUS PLANTS

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.

Alfalfa
Almond (Pits of)
Aloe Vera
Alocasia
Amaryllis
Apple (seeds)
Apple Leaf Croton
Apricot (Pits of)
Arrowgrass
Asparagus Fern
Autumn Crocus
Avacado (fuit and pit)
Azalea
Baby's Breath
Baneberry
Bayonet
Beargrass
Beech
Belladonna
Bird of Paradise
Bittersweet
Black-eyed Susan
Black Locust
Bleeding Heart
Bloodroot
Bluebonnet
Box
Boxwood
Branching Ivy
Buckeyes
Buddist Pine
Burning Bush
Buttercup
Cactus, Candelabra
Caladium
Calla Lily
Castor Bean
Ceriman
Charming Dieffenbachia
Cherry (pits, seeds
& wilting leaves)
Cherry, most wild
varieties
Cherry, ground
Cherry, Laurel
Chinaberry
Chinese Evergreen
Christmas Rose
Chrysanthemum
Cineria
Clematis
Cordatum
Coriaria
Cornflower
Corn Plant
Cornstalk Plant
Croton
Corydalis
Crocus, Autumn

Cuban Laurel
Cutleaf Philodendron
Cycads
Cyclamen
Daffodil Daphne
Datura
Deadly Nightshade
Death Camas
Devil's Ivy
Delphinium
Decentrea
Dieffenbachia
Dracaena Palm
Dragon Tree
Dumb Cane
EasterLily*
Eggplant
Elaine
Elderberry
Chrysanthemum
Cineria
Clematis
Cordatum
Coriaria
Eggplant
Elaine
Elderberry
Elephant Ear
Emerald Feather
English Ivy
Eucalyptus
Euonymus
Evergreen
Ferns
Fiddle-leaf fig
Florida Beauty
Flax
Four O'clock
Foxglove
Fruit Salad Plant
Geranium
GermanIvy
Giant Dumb Cane
Glacier IvyGolden Chain
Gold Dieffenbachia
Gold Dust Dracaena
Golden Glow
Golden Pothos
Gopher Purge
Hahn's Self-Branching Ivy
Heartland Philodendron
Hellebore
Hemlock, Poison
Hemlock, Water
Henbane
Holly
Honeysuckle
Horsebeans
Horsebrush

Horse Chestnuts
Hurricane Plant
Hyacinth
Hydrangea
Indian Rubber Plant
Indian Tobacco
Iris
Iris Ivy Jack in the Pulpit
Janet Craig Dracaena
Japanese Show Lily *
Java Beans
Jessamine
Jerusalem Cherry
Jimson Weed
Jonquil
Jungle Trumpets
Kalanchoe
Lacy Tree Philodendron
Lantana
Larkspur
Laurel
Lily
Lily Spider
Lily of the Valley
Locoweed
Lupine
Madagascar Dragon Tree
Marble Queen
Marigold
Marijuana
Mescal Bean
Mexican Breadfruit
Miniature Croton
Mistletoe
Monkshood
Moonseed
Morning Glory
Mother-in Law's Tongue
Morning Glory
Mountain Laurel
Mushrooms
Narcissus
Needlepoint Ivy
Nephytis
Nightshade
Oleander
Onion
Oriental Lily *
Peace Lily *
Peach (pits and
wilting leaves)
Pencil Cactus
Peony
Periwinkle
Philodendron
Pimpernel
Plumosa Fern
Poinciana

Poinsettia (low toxicity)
Poison Hemlock
Poison Ivy
Poison Oak
Pokeweed
Poppy
Potato
Pothos
Precatory Bean
Primrose
Privet, Common Red Emerald
Red Princess
Red-Margined Dracaena
Rhododendron
Rhubarb Ribbon Plant
Rosemary Pea
Rubber Plant
Saddle Leaf Philodendron
Sago Palm
Satin Pothos
Schefflera
Scotch Broom
Silver Pothos
Skunk Cabbage
Snowdrops
Snow on the Mountain
Spotted Dumb Cane
Staggerweed
Star of Bethlehem
String of Pearls
Striped Dracaena
Sweetheart Ivy
Sweetpea
Swiss Cheese plant
Tansy Mustard
Taro Vine
Tiger Lily *
Tobacco
Tomato Plant (green fruit,
stem and leaves)
Tree Philodendron
Tropic Snow Dieffenbachia
Tulip
Tung Tree
Virginia Creeper
Water Hemlock
Weeping Fig
Wild Call
Wisteria
Yews --
e.g. Japanese Yew
English Yew
Western Yew
American Yew

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DIET AND NUTRITION

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.

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LITTER BOXES

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.

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PLAY TIME AND TOYS FOR YOUR KITTEN

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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GROOMING

The hair should be combed in the direction the fur grows, not against it. Use the comb at a 45 degree angle to your kitten's body to avoid "raking" the skin. Start getting your kitten used to the comb as soon as possible. Regular grooming (one to twice per week) will greatly reduce shedding and hairballs. Using a metal comb, with the wider teeth for the body and the finer teeth for around your kitty's head, is the best tool for grooming and removing dead hair on long-haired cats. If necessary, after combing or brushing, a quick wipe with a damp washcloth will remove those stragglers that cling to the coat.

A kitten's nails will need to be clipped more often than an adult cat. Kittens usually need their nails clipped every one to two weeks and adults every three to four weeks. Neglect of clipping nails can cause the nails to grow back into the paw pad. The kitten will usually resist having their nails clipped, though I have clipped them weekly since your kitten was two weeks old. The best time to clip nails is right after a nap when the kitten is not so playful. You may have to clip a few nails at a sitting, but eventually they will get used to it. When clipping your kitten's nails, be careful not to cut into the "quick," which is the pink part of the nail. We recommend a nail clipper that you hold like a scissors, as it gives you more control over cutting the kittens nails and is less likely to split the nail.

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YOUR KITTEN'S NEED TO SCRATCH

Scratching posts are recommended throughout the house. Your kitten has been trained to a scratching post, so will use them. I have many different kinds of scratching posts - ­cardboard, sisal and carpet. I would recommend the sisal and the cardboard. If they start scratching on your furniture a spray bottle will usually do the trick. Another tip is to put double-sided tape where they are scratching until they "learn" that the spot is not an attractive place to scratch. One of the cardboard posts I use is an alpine sloped scratching post , with a little toy inside that the kitten can play with. The cardboard inserts are replaceable and can also be turned over for use. All my cats use this cat scratcher, as well as the sisal and carpet posts. The sisal post is also a favorite of cats and we highly recommend that you have at least one sisal post for your RagaMuffin kitten.

RagaMuffin kittens and cats love to have a place where they can lounge up off the ground and survey their surroundings.  Your RagaMuffin will be forever grateful if you have some type of "cat tree" available.  The best types have at least one round bed and have sisal rope or fabric on at least one of the posts, as kittens and cats love to scratch on sisal.  A good option is the Molly and Friends Simple Sleeper.  It is an economical choice without sacrificing quality.  I have this as one of my cats trees and it is a sturdy cat tree.

If you can afford to spend a little more, the Molly and Friends Three level cat tree is an excellent option.  Despite what many have said about RagaMuffin kittens and cats, they can climb and they do enjoy their cat trees.

Another option that will have your RagaMuffin sitting pretty, up high where they love to be, surveying their "territory" is the four tier cat bed, that has two large round beds and two curved perches, as well as sisal rope.  These cat trees come assembled and ready for your RagaMuffin to enjoy.  Your RagaMuffin will love any one of these cat trees, and I highly recommend having at least one cat tree for your kitten or cat.

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DENTAL CARE

Many cats need preventive dental care by the time they are two to three years old. You can reduce the frequency of scaling and polishing that will be needed for your RagaMuffin cat if you perform routine dental care at home to prevent tartar build up on your cat's teeth. The best time to begin dental care is while your RagaMuffin is still a kitten. Routine dental care will help prolong the health and life of your pet. The best way of removing plaque and preventing dental disease at home is brushing the teeth. Ideally, you should brush your cat's teeth daily. Brushing removes plaque on the outside of the crown (above-gum portion) of the tooth, and stimulates the gums to keep them healthy. Keep in mind that even with routine dental care at home, plaque can still build up below the gum line, so an annual examination of your cat is important for his or her teeth and to check that your RagaMuffin cat is otherwise healthy.

Here are some tips for beginning dental care for your RagaMuffin kitten:

Buy a finger brush and toothpaste designed for pets. Do not use a human brush or even a pet brush on a stick; these can severely injure the gums without you knowing it. Do not use human toothpaste for your RagaMuffin kitten.

Cats love having their faces rubbed at the corners of the mouth, so begin by gently rubbing in that area without the finger brush. Just use your hand. Do this several times a day and each time you rub, run your index finger a little farther forward along the lip. If your kitten reacts negatively, back off and go more slowly.

As your RagaMuffin kitten accepts your finger being rubbed along the lips, gradually slip your index finger under the lip and massage the gum gently. Again, if your kitten objects, back off and proceed slowly. You don't want your kitten to associate his or her dental care as an unpleasant experience. After your kitten has accepted rubbing of his or her gums with your finger, put a little toothpaste on your finger. The cat toothpaste is flavored and most cats find it highly palatable.

The next step is to put the finger brush on your finger with a little toothpaste. This will be only slightly different from what you've been doing and should be accepted by your RagaMuffin kitten, but if they object, remove the finger brush and go back to using your finger with the toothpaste. You can also use a piece of damp gauze with the toothpaste as a substitute for the finger brush. Your RagaMuffin kitten may find the gauze more acceptable than the finger brush. It's best to brush every day, since plaque builds up every day. You only need to brush the outer gums, not the side of the teeth that are on the side of the tongue.

Oral rinses, gels, and water additives will not control plaque by themselves. Treats do not contribute to dental health, even if they are labeled “Tartar Control.”

One product for helping to get rid of tartar and keeping the teeth and gums healthy is a treat called C.E.T. Forte Chews. For cats, they come in poultry and fish flavors. They have a fibrous texture and are impregnated with helpful enzymes that keep the gums healthy. For best results, give one chew per day. This should not take the place of brushing your RagaMuffin cat's teeth, as this treat alone will not remove all tartar build up.

Another product that has gotten good reports is Wysong's “Denta-Treat”. It is a cheese-flavored powder that you can sprinkle on the pet's food.

Failure to provide appropriate dental care can result in health risks for your RagaMuffin cat. Bacteria can enter the bloodstream and result in infection in critical organs. In addition, decayed and abscessed teeth are very painful and may hinder the animal from taking in enough nourishment.

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CONTROLLING BEHAVIOR

No one can ever claim that they can totally control their cat! However, in order to teach your kitten that certain behaviors are unacceptable, there are several methods. One is to use the spray bottle. You can also tell the kitten "no," firmly, but do not yell at them. Clapping your hands together (but not too loudly), while saying "no" is also effective. Never hit your cat. They will get the message. For example, if your kitten gets up on tables where you do not want them, and they are not listening to any of your commands, say no firmly and pick them up and take them off the table. They may immediately jump up again! Be persistent and they will get the message. CHECK BACK FOR UPDATES ON THIS TOPIC.

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