Adopt and save a life
consider adopting rather than buying a kitten. Shelters like
SPCAs are usually flooded with litters of unwanted kittens
desperate for a loving home.
Apart from saving a kitten in a shelter, adopting is usually a
far less expensive way than paying for a kitten and then paying
again for all the initial vet care as well. Shelter adoption
fees normally include desexing, vaccination/s to date,
deworming, defleaing and health checks. Some even include
microchipping and microchip registration. Hundreds of shelters
and rescues throughout NZ list their pets for adoption with us
on Petsonthenet – see our
Cats and Kittens for Adoption.
However if you have your heart set on a pedigree like a Bengal,
Birman or Burmese, we recommend you always deal with a
registered member of the NZ Cat Fancy (NZCF). This means you can
meet the parents of your kitten, get their papers and know that
your kitten has been bred to be a healthy example of the breed.
While very little kittens are cute, the
NZ Code of Cat Welfare recommends that the youngest a kitten
should be removed from its mother to be rehomed is 8 weeks of
age. However they recommend the best practice is 10 weeks of
age. Kittens do not wean from their mother until approximately
4-6 weeks. The exception is of course abandoned kittens with no
mother who will require regular syringe feeding every few hours
with special orphan kitten milk from the vet (not cow’s milk).
If you have found, or are caring for a young orphaned kitten,
please discuss care urgently with a vet, vet nurse or SPCA.
Desex your kitten
A female kitten can become pregnant from 3 - 4 months of age (12
- 16 weeks). So SPCA and the NZ Vet Association and Petsonthenet
all recommend early desexing. Most shelter
kittens are already desexed, however if your kitten is not yet
desexed, please ensure he or she is desexed early (by the age of
3-4 months ideally) to prevent unwanted litters. There are also
numerous health and behaviour benefits for desexed male and
female kittens. For example a desexed kitten/cat is far less
likely to wander, so less likely to be injured in fights or be
run over by a car etc. There is
financial assistance to assist desexing
available throughout New Zealand if required. Healthy kittens
are happy kittens! Talk with your vet or SPCA about the booster
vaccinations and other treatments your kitten needs now. Also
ask them to help provide a written plan/booklet for ongoing
annual vaccinations and preventative treatments such as worm and
Ensure your kitten is eating the right food for their age as
kittens have specialised nutrition needs that are different than
adult cats. See the
Kitten Care Guide from Royal Canin for more on kitten and
Don’t lose your kitten!
and register your kitten with NZ Companion Animal Register
(NZCAR). Take regular pictures as your kitten gets bigger and
turns into a cat just in case your kitten goes missing and you
need pictures for lost pet fliers or a
lost pet listing here on Petsonthenet. Of course desexing your kitten
helps to greatly reduce the chances of your kitten going missing.
Kids and Kittens
It’s lovely for kids to grow up with a kitten. However children
need to be taught how to handle the kitten very gently. And just
like a baby – don’t wake kittens up when they are sleeping.
Kittens need lots of sleep! On the other hand regular handling
and socialising with children, people and other pets means your
kitten will be settled, confident and happy in normal day to day
situations and will grow into a lovely companion pet. Remember
kittens (cats) are for life. Your kitten will be with you for
many years to come through many different life stages and
changes like house moves, new babies, other new pets etc. There
will be ongoing costs that will need to be met over the life of
your cat like food, annual vaccinations, monthly defleaing,
deworming, vet bills, possibly pet insurance, cattery or cat
minder services when you go away on holiday etc. Purrs help us
humans live longer happier lives, so please have a look at our
kittens and cats for adoption, or call in to your local shelter
or SPCA and get ready to fall in love!
For much more information on caring for a kitten, we recommend
you download the
Kitten Care Guide from Royal Canin with much more
information to help you on many more topics such as...
Preparing your home for a kitten
Kittens and other pets
Children and kittens
All opinions discussed are soley the opinions of