Preparing for Baby

 

Getting ready for your new family member is fun, exciting and somewhat nerve wracking at times because you so want to make a great impression on the little one.  Here are some suggestions that have worked for us.

1.  Start the kitten out in a small area, like a bathroom, until he gets settled in, feels a bit more secure and is successfully using his litterbox.  This usually only takes a day or two at most and often it can be immediate.

2.  Gradually let him explore the rest of his new home.  We actually have a variety of litter boxes scattered throughout our home so that they are never that far away from relief, particularly for kittens that, like little children, can get distracted playing.

3.  Introduce the other pets in the household gradually.  Ragdolls typically are fearless and love everyone so this is as much for the current household as it is for the new one.  We actually have a variety of security doors in our house that are mesh so they can get to know each other, sniff noses and the like with the safety of a barrier between them.  Again, your Raggie is an individual and may just take over upon arrival.  It happens often.

4. Toys - they love toys.  Here are some of their favorites.  I get many of their toys off of either Amazon.com or eBay.  They also love anything with feathers and ordinary cat toy balls with a bell in them.  Word of note regarding the last image with the mice.  Don't ask me why but many of our kittens LOVE these mice but they periodically drown them in their water dish.  Oh, and you can never have too many toys because they will all end up under your couch.

          

The problems with laser play

It’s not news that lasers are hazardous. Shining laser beams into eyes — human as well as feline can cause permanent eye damage. Equally as important is that lasers really are only amusing to the humans and not the cats.  Here's why.

People typically play with cats using laser pointers in a way that frustrates and teases cats. Laser players usually point and dance the beams randomly on the floors and walls for their cats to chase. Certain of a successful catch, they pounce only to find there is nothing under their paws. The bright red dot disappears, or it lingers on the wall or settles for an instant on a paw. Cats are left frustrated, without the opportunity to feel the tactile sensation of their hard-earned prey. Felines need to have the satisfaction of the hunt — to catch and feel their prey beneath their paws.

There are many other ways to play with your cat, like toys that dangle from small poles.  Just be sure to not leave those such that your cat can get tangled in them while you are away.

Birdfeeder as cat entertainment

This birdfeeder works amazingly well.  We've had ours up for over a year now and it is on a window that has a cat perch sized ledge.  The suction cups have held up to bad weather, wind and a multitude of birds.  It is easy to fill, and provides great entertainment for both your cats and you.  Only the smaller birds can land, so in Hawaii that means the Java Rice Birds, House Finches and Common Sparrows.  No creatures are harmed (well, except maybe the egos of the cats that just can't get those fluttery creatures just inches away).

The safest way to take your furbaby out into the great outdoors is with a pet stroller.  There are a number of them available, but this is one of my favorites.

 5. Scratching posts - you can make your own if you like by wrapping sisal rope around a board, or one might come on your cat tree (although those are usually too short for your cat to stretch and scratch at the same time).  We get them these and they love them.  They scratch on them and use them for beds.

     

6. Cat tree - Your kitten is very active.  She needs opportunity to scramble, scamper and generally be a happy, busy kitten.  We highly recommend some kind of cat tree.  We have one cat owner that made her own (very impressed with her handiwork) and we have had a couple of people use "cat clouds" that are attached to their walls.  Here is the one that your kitten has been using with her siblings.


7. Litter boxes & litter

Your kitten will have grown up with Feline Pine.  However, we have learned that they very easily transitioned to normal clumping clay litter if that is entirely your choice (and your kitten, of course).  Also, if you frequent a farm store, there is a Feline Pine equivalent (Pine Pellets) which is bedding for barn animals, that works just as well and will save you a few dollars. We recently determined that we will no longer be using clumping litter because of its dust factor and its lack of biodegradability.  


We're big fans of both the corner litter box and the Litter Genie below, both of which we get off of Amazon

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Don't like the sight of a litter box?  There are a number of clever ways to hide your kitten's potty. One of our favorites, is to take something that also has human value, like this storage box seat, and cut a hole in the side least exposed to other humans.   This storage box sells on Amazon for about $35.00 and easily accomodates a regular sized litter box.  We have it in our entry way and use it to put our shoes on.  It comes in a light beige color also.

    

There are also ready to order disguised litter boxes.  We have one of these plant boxes in our  guest bedroom.  I went to the local craft store and found a much more realistic plant to replace their palm-like plant.

 

 

 8. Cat food

Your kitten is fully weaned and is eating both dry and wet kitten food.  He is currently eating Royal Canin or Natural Balance Kitten to Adult.  Any well balanced food that is fromulated for kittens will work.  Ideally, if you will not be using what the kitten is use to a gradual transition of a week or two would be the easiest on your little kitty.  We recognize there are many different belief systems when it comes to what and how to feed your Ragdoll, including the argument of only feeding "raw".  I see both sides of the discussion and am currently landing on the non-raw, but that is just my opinion.  We suggest working with your veterinarians and follow their advice.   

      

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As I said, there are many articles and lots of controversy over the best foods for your kitten.  I thought this snippet was useful.  For the full text:  http://www.catfooddispensersreviews.com/cat-food-reviews/

What is the best type of cat food?

It is recommendable to feed your pet Super Premium types of foods. This means they are “meat based” and also more nutritious and good balanced, with a higher quality of proteins than “meat meal” and including a package of “vitamins and minerals” that has been designed to be more thoroughly absorbed by your pet’s body.

What to absolutely avoid in the main 5 ingredients:

  • Proteins from corn (“corn gluten meal” “corn meal”) 
  • Proteins from soy (“soybean meal”, “soy flour”, “soy meal”)
  • Grains such as wheat, white rice. They are high in gluten.
  • Rye. It is very harsh to digest and pets don’t like it.
  • When 3 of first 5 ingredients are grains
  • Potatoes (except sweet potatoes). They are high-glycemic, causing peaks in sugar blood.
  • Tapioca, is high-glycemic.
  • Artificial preservatives and colorants

Important Points to Consider About Grain in Cat Foods and Grain-Free Cat Foods

A grain-free dry cat food does not mean is healthier than a cat food which contains grains.

Some grain-free cat foods use starch such as tapioca or potatoes in the main 5 ingredients and that means they have as much carbohydrates as the food which contain quality grain sources (and sometimes even more).

For example, some cat foods contain grains such as peas, oats or barley in the first 5 ingredients, while a grain-free cat food might contain sweet potatoes and potatoes or tapioca in the main 5 ingredients, which means the grain-free recipe has as much carbs as the recipe containing grains.

Finally: Does the “perfect cat food” exist? 

There is not a “perfect cat food” because there are so many factors involved when it comes to nutritional needs for cats. The best cat food will depend whether the cat is indoor or outdoors, age, medical conditions, even depends on the breed and genes.

Some cats do very bad with dry foods containing any grain while other cats live until an old age eating foods with grains with no problem. The important point here is to choose ameat based dry cat food with no by-products or fillers such as corn or soy, wheat, white rice, artificial flavors or colorants, etc.

Also, you need to find: 1) a good balance between dry and wet food, 2) a price that fits in your budget, and 3) a cat food that will make your cat healthy and happy. Most likely you will need to go through the trial-and-error method to find the best dry cat food for your cat.

Sometimes, even with an excellent cat food, cats still get diseases. Cats, as people, get sick and you need to try to do your best to keep your cat healthy but nothing can be guaranteed, even stress can get your cat sick to the point of serious illness (Ohio State studies).

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9. Nail trimming - While this isn't necessary, it keeps kitty from getting her nails caught in fabric which can be painful to both the fabric and the kitten.  When the kitten is quiet, we gently massage her feet (usually just the front) to get her use to being handled.  Then we gently push the claw forward and use ordinary people nail clippers to nip off the end being careful not to get too close to the quick.  

10.  Compressed Air - At some point your adorable little kitten is going to do something that you don't want him/her to do, like jump on the dining room table when the in-laws are over.  One of our favorite ways of dealing with this is using a can of compressed air.  It comes with a thin straw that directs the air much like a squirt gun does full of water.  Whether it is the sound, smell or stream of air coming at your little trouble maker, the identity is not with you going after the kitten but the compressed air.  Costco sells compressed air in the computer/office supplies section.  Other stores like Office Max or Home Depot also sell it.

 

Picking up your kitten from Hawaiianair Cargo in Honolulu