Your kitten will be about 12 or 13 weeks old when he/she is ready to go to his or her new home. They are incredibly curious with little sense of self-preservation at this time.
KITTEN PROOFING: You will need to kitten proof your home before you bring it home. They will chew on electrical cords or any interesting object they find, since they are teething. It may be poisonous, able to shock, or a choking hazard to your kitten. Beware of closing doors, refrigerator doors, open dryers, open toilets, filled bathtubs, full open washing machines, full mop buckets, etc. Closing doors can injure a kitten or break a neck. Look to see where your kitten is before you start to shut a door of any kind. They can get a foot pinched off by sticking it in a closing door crack, or a tail broken by a closing door. A spray bottle of water is great for teaching them to stay away from forbidden areas. They are really more dangerous to themselves than a human baby, and so much smaller.
RECLINERS: Recliners can be death-traps for kittens. They love to hide in small, dark places. There can be no way to know if your kitten has hidden where he or she could be crushed. We have two recliner couches and a recliner. No one is permitted to use our recliners. We watch constantly and block each tiny entrance, but sometimes they still manage to crawl inside anyway. It is best not to have a recliner around cats.
DOGS: If there is a dog around, your kitten will need a place to get away from the dog. Your dog may like, or even love your kitten, but they are much rougher and stronger, and may unintentionally hurt the kitten.
HOLDING KITTENS: Teach kittens to be familiar with you picking them up. Try wrapping the kitten in a small blanket and carrying them around with you. Let them down when you decide to, not when they want down. Do not let the kitten jump down from your arms. Put them down on a safe surface. It is best for them to learn you are in charge.
KITTENS AND CHILDREN: Teach children how to hold a cat and carefully place them back on the floor. I teach children to sit down while holding the kitten in order to avoid injuries to the kitten. This prevents the kitten from jumping from their arms and helps prevent the cat from struggling and scratching the child. Teach your children to handle them gently and treat them with respect. Your playful kitten is not their toy, and they will learn love and kindness by treating your pets appropriately. Their kindness will earn a friend and companion for life.
SUPPLIES: Being prepared for your new baby will help everything go smoothly. You will need a new litter box. Wash out with soap and water before first use. I use one with high sides to give privacy and contain litter to one area. The high sides may be too high at first. The kitten will need a shallow box. Your Ragdoll will grow to be large and you will need a long/wide box so they will have room to turn around. My cats are neat, but as they grew longer, they had some trouble if the litter box was not long enough.
I use a Gorilla litter mat under their boxes to grab the litter instead of them scattering it all over. The litter sticks in between their toes, and they are careful to keep their feet clean. Scoopable litter would solve part of the scatter problem, but can cause an intestinal blockage, which could lead to surgery or other dire consequences because of all the hair and gravel still clumping together. I know of at least two of these instances. That is why I use non-scoopable litter. I remove any solid waste throughout the day, and rake and stir the litter several times per day. This keeps their litter clean and dry for several days. I totally change out litter every three days.
PLAY: Scratching is natural and needed for a cat. Provide scratching surfaces for your cat to use. The smart owner will provide scratching posts or cardboard scratch beds/thrones. They love those and will nap and scratch; nap, stretch, and, scratch while they leave your furniture alone!
PLEASE DO NOT DECLAW YOUR CAT! Declawing a cat is like cutting off the top half of your fingers and will cause them pain for the rest of their life! It can change their sweet personalities forever. It can increase biting, as well as accidents outside the litter box because of the pain of stepping on litter. Instead, train your cats by giving them something to scratch, and use scratch-deterrent sprays on furniture. When all else fails, a squirt from a spray bottle of water will curb their enthusiasm for your belongings. Keeping their nails trimmed will help preserve your furniture. You will need them to hold still if you clip their nails or give them medicine. Sometimes wrapping them in a towel will keep them still any other time when you need their cooperation.
CAT TREES: We have two cat trees, which are great for our cats. When I shopped for trees, I bought wooden cat trees with removable machine washable mats. They are great. If you ever have to throw away a good cat tree because it was not washable, you will really appreciate being able to scrub one down and launder the mats. The one I bought is a Lazy Buddy. Your kitten will be big when full grown. It is important to train them well so you will enjoy them for years to come. Teach them to use the scratching post or other scratching items, and help them learn to climb onto and up the cat tree.
SAFE ENVIRONMENT: Please keep your cats inside the house. They will be easily lost because they have never been outside. They do not know how to defend themselves and if picked up by someone else, they are not likely to be returned. It is a good idea to have your pet micro-chipped in case they get out and an honest person finds them, but is unable to find their owner. It is inexpensive at the vet’s office.
FLEA TREATMENT: Do not use flea treatment unless it is necessary. Flea medicine is a neurotoxin. If you must, only use “Revolution”. Other kinds have killed cats. They probably will not need flea control if pets that go outside are not present. At my house we have a cattio (outdoor cat space) which is built 18 inches from the ground. Unfortunately, fleas can jump quite high. Our short hair would get fleas from visiting the cattio. A suggestion from our breeder was to sprinkle Diatomaceous Earth on our soil. I applied this powder for four feet around the cattio and on the underside of the cattio. After several applications we have never had another flea. I apply more about once a month. Topical flea preventative may be may be necessary in May through August, as that is peak flea season.
FOOD: The best foods for your kitten will be grain free, preservative and artificial flavor free, with added antioxidants and other vitamins. They need bottled water purified by reverse osmosis. Some local water supplies contain parasites or other impurities, which can make you and your pet ill. Please clean their bowls and food dishes with soap and water daily and always provide fresh water each day. Especially if they eat a lot of dry food, they will need to be encouraged to drink. Fresh water in a clean bowl will help them stay well. Fountains breed bacteria and collect trash and hair. They will need canned food two times per day for the first eighteen months while growing. Your kitten will be started on 4 Health Canned Turkey and Giblets from Tractor Supply.
I also feed my little ones dry food, which I leave out so they can eat a little at a time throughout the day. I use Blue Wilderness Kitten chicken with no grains, Nutro Kitten Chicken and brown rice. The brands with the added cranberries, blueberries, sweet potatoes, peas and carrots are good choices.
To change them to a new food, mix a little bit with each feeding of their regular food. After a few feedings, if it agrees with their stomach, see how they tolerate the new food alone. They may want some variety, and Tractor Supply has several other canned foods in the”4 Health” brand.
If your Ragdoll kitten or cat gets loose stool issues, give one teaspoon Activia vanilla yogurt and one teaspoon of canned pumpkin mixed with their canned food. It will help to restore the natural balance in the bowel.
When I order my cat’s food, I always read the labels to make good choices. Good food will help you to have a healthy growing kitten. I also feed them regular canned tuna in water about once a week. The tuna and tuna water are good for their immune system. Good new foods are coming out all of the time. Learn to read the labels. The Tractor Supply has good animal foods, both canned and dry. If you buy from Chewy, there are no-hassle returns in case your cat does not like what you have bought to try. They have never asked me to return a thing, but will ask you to donate the item or food to a local shelter. They will immediately refund your money or replace the item.
BUILDING IMMUNITY: Lysine is a great amino acid to add to their diet for immune benefit, wheatgrass and catnip are good for their immune system as well. Look to make sure that the food you buy contains L-taurine. Raw chicken heart is a good source. Supporting their immune system while they are growing and as an adult will help them develop a strong immune system and will pay off by helping them overcome pathogens.