Mon & Fri: 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Tues, Wed & Thurs: 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Sat: 8 a.m.-5p.m. Closed Sun.
Call 206-546-2287 (CATS)
Nurture Heal Educate
19203 Aurora Ave. N.
Shoreline, Washington

Introducing a New Kitten to Your Home

Understanding normal behavior helps us:

  • Interact with our cats
  • Create an enriching life for them.
  • Prevent behavior problems

Cats are social animals

  • Learn how to teach your kitten to interact positively with other cats and people.

How cats communicate

  • The importance of smell
  • Reading cat’s body language
  • Attention to the tail, ears, pupils, raised hackles.

Rules for playing with people

  • The queen and siblings teach the kitten to temper their play. Cats that do not experience this will be aggressive with people.
  • People should play with kitten gently. Do not allow kitten to bite or scratch hands or feet. Use interactive toys instead.
  • Adult supervision is advised when kids are playing with kitten.
  • Safe, interactive toys
  • Creative use of boxes, paper bags, tunnels
  • Food treasure hunts and food puzzles

Scratching posts and proper use of claws

  • Scratching is normal
  • Choose scratching posts that are sturdy and made of materials cats prefer (wood, sisal, rough fabric)
  • Teaching kittens to use scratching post
  • Locate the post next to window, sleeping area, or areas favored by cat
  • Many cats prefer vertical scratching posts, whereas some will prefer horizontal surfaces
  • Keep nails trimmed. Consider Soft Paws to prevent damage from scratching.

Home maintenance helps keep cats healthy and less fearful at the veterinarian

  • Tooth brushing
  • Nail clipping and handling of feet
  • Use of a thermometer
  • How to administer medication - this will make it easier when the cat is ill

Normal elimination behavior and promoting good litter box use

  • Litter box should be in low-traffic area
  • Does cat prefer box covered or uncovered?
  • Litter must be kept clean for cat to use
  • Elimination outside the box is not normal; call your veterinarian

Normal feeding behavior and how to feed cats

  • Cats are obligate carnivores; carbs should be less than 5% of cat’s diet
  • Canned food should be emphasized.
  • Kittens can be free-fed until 6 months of age; then switch to portion feeding. Each cat has their own feeding station.
  • Hide food around house to allow cat to hunt.
  • Predatory behavior is well-developed. Owners may confuse predatory behavior with hunger.

Enriched environments, including play and mental stimulation, are key to a low-stress life

  • There is value to routine, including specific allotted quality time.
  • Climbing, perching, and bedding areas
  • Vertical spaces
  • Hiding spaces, retreats
  • Interactive toys; rotation of toys
  • Give cats the feeling of outdoors without the risks (bird feeders on outside of window, window perch, outdoor enclosure)

Pleasant veterinary visits

  • Carrier training
  • Adjusting to car rides
  • Veterinary care to protect physical health: annual physical exams, dental care, vaccinations

Cats can be trained

  • Reward w/treats or positive attention to encourage desired behavior
  • Redirect undesired behavior
  • Much of what people consider “bad behavior” is actually perfectly normal cat behavior.
  • Never punish, swat, slap, or yell
  • Cats can be trained to scratch in appropriate areas

Special situations, if appropriate

  • Getting along with other dogs and cats.
  • Getting along with children.
  • Getting along with visitors
  • Exposure to novel social and physical environments

How to prevent common adult cat problems

  • Obesity
  • Inappropriate elimination
  • Aggression
  • Various expressions of anxiety and fear are among the most common behavior problems

When to call your veterinary clinic:

  • Get help early. Don’t believe that symptoms “will just go away”. Don’t believe that aggressive behavior will go away or that the cat will grow out of it.

*Excerpted from “Feline Behavior Guidelines from the American Association of Feline Practioners.” AAFP, 2004

AAHA Cat Friendly Enviro Star Certified Care Credit