How can you help your kitten live a long and healthy life? Although you can’t predict the health of your cat with certainty, you can increase the probability of both her general health and a long life through proper care that begins as soon as you bring her home. Your veterinarian can advise further on these five key considerations for taking care of your kitten.
How to Care for Your Kitten
1. Feed a High-quality Diet
Feed your kitten high-quality food designed to meet nutritional needs during specific stages of her life. Your kitten’s nutritional requirements will depend on her life stage and lifestyle. No matter the life stage, cats are carnivores and require nutrients from animal protein and fat for optimal health.
2. Encourage Exercise
Prevent obesity with prudent portion control and frequent play activities. Exercise relieves stress, reduces aggression and keeps cats alert. Just 15 to 30 minutes of play a day can help keep your cat in shape and strengthen the bond between the two of you. In addition, getting your kitten used to playtime early on will help you get used to playing with your cat routinely.
3. Provide Safe, Clean Living Conditions
Keep your kitten inside to help reduce the risk of illness or injury from accidents, fights and disease. As your kitten gets older, you can help avoid the stress of harassment from other animals by keeping your kitten inside. You should make your home safe by protecting your cat from environmental dangers, such as household cleaners and secondhand smoke. Cats frequently groom themselves with their tongues, and over time, even small amounts of harmful chemicals can have adverse effects.
4. Schedule Regular Medical and Dental Checkups
Groom your kitten early and often to get her used to brushing. When brushing, check for bumps or abnormalities, and promptly seek veterinary advice if you discover anything suspicious. Take your cat to the veterinarian at least annually for a complete physical exam, and follow your veterinarian’s advice regarding preventive health care measures.
Your veterinarian may also recommend periodic professional cleaning of your cat’s teeth, which may preserve years of her life.
5. Give Them Lots of Affection
Last but not least, give your cat lots of love! Despite some cats’ aloof demeanor, all cats thrive on affection. Both you and your cat will reap the benefits of spending quality time together.
Cat Aging Chart
It was once thought that one year in the life of a cat was equivalent to seven years of a human life. Below is a revised way of looking at how a cat year stacks up to a human year.
|Cat Age||Human Age|
|6 months||10 years|
|8 months||13 years|
|10 months||14 years|
|1 year||15 years|
|18 months||20 years|
|2 years||24 years|
|3 years||28 years|
|4 years||32 years|
|5 years||36 years|
|6 years||40 years|
|7 years||44 years|
|8 years||48 years|
|9 years||52 years|
|10 years||56 years|
|11 years||60 years|
|12 years||64 years|
|13 years||68 years|
|14 years||72 years|
|15 years||76 years|
|16 years||80 years|
|17 years||84 years|
|18 years||88 years|
|19 years||92 years|
|20 years||96 years|
|21 years||100 years|
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This article is part of a series on how to spot signs of a healthy cat. You can learn more about the key signs here.
Cats don’t lack personality; that’s for sure. They can be shy, outgoing, snuggly, independent, energetic, relaxed and everything in between. Yet some breeds tend to exhibit certain traits more strongly than others. Here are our picks for what we’re calling the Cat Personality Awards.
The friendliest cat breed:
This larger cat has a big heart to match. They’re often very social and happy to chat with you, whether they’re curled up on your lap or following you around the house. They make excellent family pets because more family members means more people to snuggle and play with.
Also outgoing: Ragdoll, Siamese, Burmese
The most laid-back cat breed:
Gentle and calm, this soft and silky-furred feline is friendly without being demanding. Ragdolls are usually totally cool sharing a house with other pets and kids. They don’t stress much about routine changes or even being carried around. Their motto? It’s all good.
Other cool kitties: Scottish fold, Birman, British shorthair
The most playful cat breed:
Making up around 90% of cats in the U.S., with more than 80 colors and patterns, domestic shorthairs are a melting pot of different breeds. They were originally working cats used to hunt mice and other critters on farms. They still love to stalk, hunt and pounce on toys and play games with their owners — so expect to spend lots of energetic playtime together.
Also ready to play: Siamese, Maine coon, Manx
The most independent cat breed:
This popular breed has been around humans since the 1600s, but is satisfied doing its own thing. Gentle, docile and quiet, Persian cats don’t insist on a lot of attention. They’re just as content sitting on your lap or observing what’s going on by themselves from a sunny perch across the room. They can be discerning in who they give their affection to, but you’ll be on their good side once you earn their trust.
Also fine on their own: Russian blue, American shorthair, Norwegian Forest cat
The most trainable cat breed:
The idea of training a cat may seem hilarious, but the curiosity and intelligence of Abyssinians make them highly trainable. Some can even be taught tricks or to walk on a leash and harness. Training and playing games are perfect ways to direct their affectionate energy.
Also eager to learn: Bengal, Siamese, American shorthair
The cleanest cat breed:
Owning this affectionate, hairless breed means you can spend more time cuddling and less time lint-rolling your clothes. They do require regular baths, but that just means more time to hang out together.
Other neat freaks: Siamese, Russian blue
The best cat for first-time owners:
it’s a toss-up!
Thinking of getting your first kitty? It’s hard to pick just one breed, so we’ve got three:
- Maine coons are super friendly and charming, and adapt well in a variety of living situations.
- Siamese are clean, love to talk and are very loyal.
- American shorthairs are smart, playful and independent.
Remember, most cats — especially those found in shelters — are a mix of breeds, which just means they often combine the best of all cat personality traits! Whatever personality you’re looking for in a cat, you’ll know it when you find your fuzzy soulmate.
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