Coming at ya from Michigan on this beautiful Friday morning. I feel like I’ve been “coming at ya” from a different city/state/country every week for the last two months. I’ve got one more trip after this in November and then I’m hibernating. I’ve actually got a lot of great stuff coming to the blog and tons of things to share with you, but before I get there, I wanted to share some big news. Our kittens are now officially cats.
In related news, I’m now a cat lady. Which is cool because I now have a reason for my nerdiness. That’s not to say that every cat owner is a nerd, but like, you know what I mean.
So how did we come to this conclusion that our little babies are all grown up? A trip to the vet of course for a very minor, non-issue, issue. Cheese had a cut on his lip and being the new parent that I am, I turned to google and was convinced he had some rare form of cancer. Low and behold, he’s Cheese and most certainly just bit into something that he wasn’t supposed to.
His cut, and ego, are fully recovered but something the vet said echoed with me. If you watch my Instagram stories, you’ll see Cheese, our orange Tabby, often creating mischief and acting like a diva while his sister Roni sits nice and pleasantly on my shoulders. But there’s something else about our cats’ behavior that our vet pointed out, he said they’re extremely social and well-adjusted. #Proudmommoment
Being a first-time cat foster, I had no clue what I was really doing while raising them. I read so many (perhaps too many) articles and blogs about cat behavior and how to make sure they were nice cats. I was trying my best to prepare them for any environment they might encounter when they got adopted.
Little did I know then that I was raising them to be my own.
So for this post, I thought I’d share what worked for us and our kittens, in hopes that it’ll help some other first-time cat parent out there. Obviously I’m not a professional cat trainer (very far from that) so be sure to consult your veterinarian.
Hold em like you’ll never let go – If there’s one thing we did with our kittens, it was this. We snuggled the heck out of them. We wanted them to enjoy (or at least tolerate) being handled. It comes in handy when you’re at the vet and they’re getting poked and prodded. If you do have a kitten that doesn’t love being held, wrap them up in a blanket like a little burrito with their head sticking out and pet their head.
Make some noise – You obviously don’t want to startle them, but we did want to make sure they would generally be okay with loud noises and not scaredy cats. As they grew, we graduated from normal household sounds to banging around pots and pans and eventually the dreaded vacuum.
Spa Nendick – Knowing we wouldn’t declaw our cats (more about that at another point) I knew we had to learn how to trim their nails and keep them short so they didn’t (totally) destroy our furniture. I played with their toes when they were little and squeezed their feet while they were chilling so that they wouldn’t hate getting their nails clipped when they grew up. While I can’t trim them when they’re super active, they’ll tolerate it when chilling.
Water is your (and their) friend –They’re weird and I’m not sure this was their genetics or our guidance but they’ve always been fascinated with water. I let them explore sinks and showers and placed them in the tub with running water all to their delight. Now, I’ll fill up the bathtub every so often, throw a ball in and let them play.
Get them social – When they were kittens, we had so many people wanting to visit them that the really had no choice but to be around all sorts of individuals. I made sure everyone held them as kittens and they were rewarded handsomely for their group playtime.
Bring them places – Chris and I travel quite a bit so we wanted to make sure they could enjoy different babysitters and environments while we were gone. I brought them to the office, to the burbs and even on a weekend getaway so that they would be comfortable in all different types of places. Last weekend they were at my brothers’ and they had an absolute blast.
Those are the main points I remember from their cute kitten days. I can’t guarantee that every kitten will react the same to these tips and who knows, maybe we just got lucky with their social predispositions. One thing I absolutely recommend though is to make sure you are ready to adopt or foster when bringing them home. They take time and care to mature into loving and happy cats.
What tips would you give first time cat parents? Let me know in the comments below!