Kittens should be given milk

Once a kitten has been weaned from his mum’s milk, there is no need to keep giving him milk. This is because lactase, the enzyme kittens need to digest milk, is only present in their digestive systems during the first few weeks of life.

Older kittens, (over seven weeks of age) do not have this enzyme.  Feeding milk to kittens who have been weaned can do more harm than good, as they will be unable to digest it properly, so it can upset their tummies and cause diarrhoea.

Indoor kittens don’t need to be vaccinated

If you decide to keep your kitten indoors and have no intention of letting him access to the outside world, it’s still important that you vaccinate him against diseases, and regularly worm him and check for fleas.

There are many reasons for this.  Unvaccinated kittens can become exposed to infectious diseases, not only by direct contact with a sick cat, but in some cases, by contact with objects which have been in contact with a sick animal.  Unvaccinated cats who visit the vet will be at a much higher risk of catching a viral infectious disease while being in a place which sees many ill animals.

Kittens can also become infected while still with their mum and carry the virus with them throughout their lives.  For example, the herpes virus resurfaces during times of stress.  A vaccination may not stop the disease completely but helps the cat by reducing the severity of the clinical signs.

Female kittens should have one season before they are spayed

Sadly, this is a widely held belief which is completely untrue.  Some people also believe young cats should have a litter of kittens before they are spayed, but this is also not true, and the sort of ignorance which could contribute to the ever-growing cat population that sees rescue centres packed to the rafters.

It is advised that kittens are spayed before they reach sexual maturity, between the ages of four and six months. You should be able to tell when your female kitten approaches puberty, as she may call loudly and be more restless and affectionate.

Siblings will not mate

Unfortunately, in the animal world, there aren’t any social boundaries to prevent family members from mating with one another.  If you buy or adopt two different sex kittens from the same litter, they will almost certainly mate, and the female will become pregnant at some point if they are not neutered.

Inbreeding increases the chances of a kitten being born with genetic defects and diseases, so it’s really important that you’re a responsible owner and don’t let this happen.

Kittens are low maintenance

Although it can be argued that a kitten isn’t as demanding as a puppy, don’t take on a kitten thinking it will be a breeze!  Bringing your new pet home will require a lot of planning and preparation.

You’ll need to kitten-proof your home; equip him with all the essentials, including a bed, bowls, grooming equipment, toys, litter tray and food; keep a constant eye on his whereabouts; train him to use the litter tray; possibly introduce him to other pets; make sure he has regular handling; and so much more to ensure he grows up to be a happy and sociable kitty.

A new kitten will be great company for an existing cat

Although sometimes this can be the case, introducing a new kitten into the fold isn’t always of benefit to an existing cat, especially if he is elderly and enjoys the quieter life.

Being descended from a species that lived a primarily solitary existence, cats do not need the company of other cats to be happy.  However, the domestic cat does have the capacity to be social with members of its own species, and close social bonds between cats who live together are not uncommon.

Such relationships are far more likely to exist between cats who have grown up together, and less likely to develop between cats introduced as adults.  For anyone who wants to have more than one cat, it’s often best to buy two kittens of the same age, preferably from the same litter, and allow them the grow up together.

An indoor kitten won’t need to be microchipped

Kittens are at their most inquisitive when they’re young, so are much more likely to sneak through gaps and be curious about gaining access to the outside world.  Even the most vigilant of owners may be caught off-guard if they open the door to a visitor and the kitten slips between their legs.

Although it’s not a legal requirement for cats to be microchipped, at the moment, having it done when they’re young will give you peace of mind that if he ever goes missing, he’s more likely to be reunited with you.

You can’t train kittens

Not only is it possible to train kittens, it’s strongly advised.  Although most kittens learn to use the litter tray by watching their mothers, some can still soil in the house when they arrive home.  If you lift him into the tray early in the morning and in the evening when you think he wants to go, and praise him each time he uses the tray by giving him a gentle stroke and a treat, he should soon associate the tray with positive rewards.

Similarly, you can train kittens to come to you when called, accept medication, accept a cat carrier, be more sociable, and much more.  Just be patient and give him praise and a treat when he does something you want him to.  He’ll soon get the hang of it.

 

A Cats Purr

"Cats make one of the most satisfying sounds in the world: they purr ...

A purring cat is a form of high praise, like a gold star on a test paper. It is reinforcement of something we would all like to believe about ourselves - that we are nice."

Roger A Caras