Health: New kittens are guaranteed to be free of known congenital defects and infectious or contagious problems at the time of sale. IF there have been any recent problem(s) requiring treatment, full information will be provided.
It is strongly recommended that the kitten/cat be checked by your veterinarian within 72 hours or at the earliest possible time. If any abnormalities are found at that time, the kitten/cat may be returned for a full refund or replacement or, with prior approval, treated by your vet. If you wish, we can obtain a health certificate from one of our usual veterinarians. This may require 1-3 days to schedule and complete the visit to the veterinarian. The cost may vary and there is a cost. A health certificate is required for shipping.
Occasionally problems may develop with the stress of a change of homes or after you have had the kitten/cat for awhile. It will be your responsibility to insure that the problem is managed correctly for the continued health and well being of the kitten.
Immunizations: Given for Panleukopenia (distemper), rhinotracheitis, calici, and rabies. I follow the immunization schedule recommended by our vet. Rabies immunization is given by a licensed veterinarian for kittens age 16 weeks or older; a rabies certification from that vet will be provided. A copy of the immunizations (manufacturer, brands & serial #s used) will be provided at the time of purchase and/or can be faxed/e-mailed to you or your vet. I recommend Fel-O-Vax PCT + Calici Vax.
Veterinarian: If you do not have a vet, please let us help you find one. We will try to identify one convenient to your home based on our experience, referral from my vets (see above) and/or recommendations of breeders in your area.
Wet that the kitten/cat has received include: Blue Ridge Meat (Raw) (canned) food twice daily (Fancy Feast, 9-Lives, Friskies, Iames, or Authority - Pet Smart Brand). Iames kitten/cat or Hill's A/D are recommended in high-stress times. Tuna or other fish flavors are appealing in a new situation!
Dry food is provided at all times (Iams: Kitten, Iams adult, etc.) or Diamond: Nutra-Max, and /or Royal Canin kitten/cat and Wal-Mart's Maximum Nutrition Chicken & Rice.
Please look for "Nutritionally Complete" on label.
Fresh Water: I suggest fresh, bottled or filtered water, e.g. Brita.
Litter: Please use several litter pans at the beginning, and consolidate after the kitten/cat(s) is/are used to the house and knows where things are. Because it is light-weight, cheap and effective (although messy) I use plain pine shavings ("horse bedding") (NOT cedar shavings which have a cat-toxic oil). Shavings OR any plain clay litter must be changed frequently e.g. at least every 2-3 days depending on use. It's easier to clean litter pans than to deodorize a "mistake" on a carpet. Cats can smell the used litter long before we can and they find it equally offensive. At the beginning, use at least two pans, or one more pan than cat/kitten, and/or one pan on each floor or area of the house. After the kitten/cat knows the territory, you may remove some of the pans. Litter pans are sometimes viewed possessively by an established cat. In this case, it is a very good idea to provide extra litter pans.
I do not recommend clumpable type litter with kittens. Kittens have been known to eat the litter and the clumpable can cause bowel obstruction. If you use some other brand (clay, compressed wood or paper pellets, shredded paper, corn cob, wheat shavings, etc.), sprinkle pine shavings on top of whatever litter you wish to use. This will help the kitten/cat to learn that the new litter IS litter and that is where they should go.
Cleaning the litter pans (or other things) with a good detergent and hot water, then rinsing with a dilute bleach solution (1 cup/gal water) and letting the pan air-dry or dry in the sun is a very good method of cleaning. Use of quaternary ammonium compounds (cationic surface-active compounds found in many cleaning products) is also effective. Remember that bleach is not a "cleaning agent."
Location: Generally, do NOT place the litter pan next to the food and water dishes. You don't serve dinner in your bathroom & cats usually don't want to eat there either.
Baths & grooming: Periodically a bath helps remove dead hair, cat allergens and maintain cleanliness. Our practice is a bath every month or so as needed. A good pet shampoo or a "cat flea" shampoo should be used. Combing with a short-toothed comb or soft brush will tidy the coat after bathing or between baths and help to remove loose hair and minimize shedding. Ears can be cleaned with mineral oil and Q-tips in outer area (don't dig deep in ears). Faces and bottoms can be washed with baby wipes or a washrag moistened in warm water. If you wish, we can show you how to bath and clip nails and clean ears. With two cats, they often groom one another.
Allergies: If you or a friend has allergies to cats, efforts to minimize the protein (CA1) in cat saliva that is on the hair (when cat grooms itself) by bathing, or washing with damp washcloth, or wiping with dilute vinegar (2 tblsp/qt warm water) will remove much of the protein and minimize any allergic reaction. Call me! I have "cat allergies" and it is possible to live with cats! P.S. Cats can also have allergies, though usually not to people.
Nails should be clipped regularly; I use a scissors-type clipper with overlapping tips (used for birds) as this helps me see exactly where I am clipping. Do not clip into the pink area (vein) at the base of the nail.
A scratching post is recommended -- as large as your home and finances allow. Cats really like them as they like to be high and it is instinct for them to scratch on things as a claw-sharpening mechanism. They will go through this activity even if de-clawed. You can also make a scratching post yourself with a flat board + a long piece of wood and carpet, or PVC pipe + sissel rope + epoxy glue to hold the rope in place. Be creative!
Altering (neuter/spay). If this kitten/cat is considered to be "pet" quality, it is sold with your agreement to alter (neuter/spay). I generally recommend neutering when the male kitten/cat is somewhat older (by 8-12 months) because the bones of the head grow primarily under the influence of testosterone and the long-bones in the legs grown under influence of adrenal-estrogens. Neutering early may result in a smallish/narrow head relative to the size of the body. This is a "cosmetic" issue not a health issue. This is not a concern with female kittens. Discuss timing for altering with your vet.
Papers: The "blue slip" for registering the kitten/cat with the Cat Fancier's Association (CFA) will be provided at or soon after the time the kitten/cat is picked up. It is your responsibility to complete and send the papers to CFA. If I have obtained a certified pedigree for a kitten/cat in that litter, I will give you a copy.
Please do not let the kitten/cat out of the house. Cats do not "need" to go outside. They are nosey and like to explore, however they are not equipped to deal with predators, including cars and trucks, large dogs and cat-unfriendly people! Your home is as much territory as they need. The kitten/cat will have rabies immunization, but New Jersey is a rabies-endemic area and the vaccine does not protect them against a violent attack.
Change in your life: People and conditions change. If for any reason this happens and you are unable to keep the kitten, please contact me. Our kittens/cats are to never end up in a shelter. Kittens/cats are to be sent back to us at owners expense.
Problems: Call me! I have hundreds of cat-years experience and will make suggestions or try to help any way I can. If I'm not home, one of my cat assistants (Kelly) may be able to help or know where to contact me.
Books: I like "Cats for Dummies" for general guidelines. CAT USA and Cat Fancy often have helpful ideas. WHEN IN DOUBT, CALL YOUR VET!