This post is brought to you in partnership with PetSmart. I was provided with a gift card and summer pet items in exchange for sharing my own new pet parent tips and experience.
As you may know, I recently brought home a new kitten. I am like crazy pet parent with the pictures, so if you follow me on Pretty much ANY social media network, you’ve seen her at least once. Her name is Zoe and she’s the cutest thing since sliced bread…of sliced bread was actually cute.
Zoe is the first new cat addition to our family in 11 years, so it’s both a familiar and totally ew experience raising her. She’s completely different than any other cat we’ve had. I kid you not, she is more like a human baby! We havd to Zoe-proof the entire house! She’s more active than my other cats were, that for sure.
Today I want to share a few tips for new kitty parents. Things you need to know before and during adoption. I also want to share a few tips on keeping your pets safe during summer, because it’s so important.
Tips for before and during adoption
- Make sure you are ready for the responsibility. Many people think cats are self sufficient and don’t need as much attention as dogs. While this is tru to a point for adult cats, kittens are very much like puppies. Yes, they are super easy to litter train, but you still need to be super attentive. make sure you have the time and are reDy to deal with that.
- Consider your kids. Kittens are not good pets for toddlers and young children. My son is 10 and still has to be reminded that Zoe is a baby, not a stuffed animal. He wants to pick her up all the time and she gets upset. She squirms, he tries to hold on to her and gets scratched. Make sure your kids are old enough to understand how that kittens are fragile, even if they don’t seem like it when they’re leaping from the top of the screen door!
- Weigh the costs. Aside from the basics like food and litter boxes, kittens need a series of shots in the first few months. If you adopt from a shelter, they often do at least part of these shots for you. When Sal adopted Penelope from the rescue that houses their cats at our local PetSmart, she cost $80, but she was up to date on all her shots. Zoe’s shots are costing me about $150 total over 3 months, and that’s at a low-cost clinic. So you may think adopting a “free kitten” from an ad in the paper is cheaper, but in the long run, it may not be.
- Meet the kitties! When we adopted our dog Cooper, I actually spent time with about 20 dogs before him to find the right one. It seems that people take their times adopting dogs, but assume that all cats are the same. Zoe had two brothers that I spent a lot of time with. All three cats were completely different in personality. We’ve had cats that are timid, cats that are brave. Snuggly cats and stand-offish cats. Here’s what I’ve learned: if the kitten (or cat) is timid and aloof in the cage, chances are she’s going to be a more independent, one-person cat. If the kitty is friendly and curious when you meet her, she’ll likely be more social.
Keeping Your Kitten Safe During the Summer
If you bring home a new kitten during the summer, there are a few other things to take into consideration to keep her safe.
- Be cautious when opening doors. Zoe has a fit when anyone goes out on the deck. She will do ANYTHING to get out there, including becoming “super stealth kitten” and hiding so she can make a break for it. If your kids are in and out all day, make sure everyone is trained to keep an eye out for the kitten.
- Watch the Fans: While most fans have thinner slots in the cover to prevent kids from sticking their fingers in them, kitten tails are still at risk. Either look for fans that have super thin slots or safety features or keep the fans off unless you’re in the room to watch the kitten.
- No Cats in Cars. Do not leave your cat in a hot car. Period. No dogs in hot cars either! This is really important. Not only is it torturous to your pet, it’s against the law in many places.
- Don’t get bugged out. Think you’re safe from fleas just because you keep your kitty indoors? Think again! First, if you have other pets- like dogs- that go outside, they’ll bring all the bugs back in with them. Even if you have ONE kitty that NEVER leaves the house, YOU could bring in fleas and ticks. Get the good preventative stuff and put it on your pets. Just make sure you get it for the right species and size. Kittens cannot have the same flea meds as dogs, and they really can’t have any until they reach a certain age (I think it’s 8 weeks, but don’t quote me on that, just read the label).
- Prevent poisoning. If you spray your yard with any type of pest repellent, make sure you take off your shoes outside and change your clothes before handling your kitten. I only use pet-safe products, and even then, I wash my hands.
- Keep kitty hydrated: Make sure you keep the water bowls filled with fresh water. If it’s really hot out, drop an ice cube in the water. Your cat will love playing with it! Also, cats get a lot of their water from their diet. We feed out cats canned wet food for the most part and add a little extra water to it to help keep them hydrated. If you’re feeding dry only, you really have to stay on top of the water bowl.
These are just a few tips for keeping your kitty safe in the summer! Bottom line: use common sense. It really does come down to that. While cats did live as gods in Egypt, a desert, they do still need extra care during the summer. Looking for more summer safety tips for pets? PetSmart has loads of great summer tips and resources for new pet parents. Head over there and check it out!
How do you keep your pets cool and safe in the summer? Tell me in the comments!