A SMOOTH LANDING
INTRODUCING YOUR KITTEN TO OTHER PETS
CHOOSING THE RIGHT FOOD
CHOOSING THE RIGHT PRODUCTS
SPAYING & NEUTERING
PLAYTIME & EXERCISE
TRANSITIONING YOUR KITTEN ONTO NUTRIENCE
KEEPING YOUR KITTEN HYDRATED
TEETHING, DENTAL CARE & FURBALLS
TRANSITIONING TO ADULT FOOD
CONGRATULATIONS ON BECOMING A PET PARENT
“WHAT GREATER GIFT THAN THE LOVE OF A CAT.”
A new cat is tons of fun. But, while most people regard cats as independent creatures requiring minimal attention, we can guarantee you that for the first couple of weeks, your new cat, whether a kitten or full grown adult, will need a lot of gentle guidance and attention to get fully settled into their new home. Although we don’t claim to know it all, we do have a few tricks up our sleeve that may help you get a head start.
First things first – if you have any questions or concerns regarding the health or development of your new cat, contact a trained professional (e.g. a veterinarian or certified feline behaviourist) right away. While independent research can certainly be helpful, they are the only people who are qualified to give you accurate and current advice regarding the physical and mental health of your new pet.
We sincerely hope that the days to come are as fun and exciting for you as it is for your newly adopted family member. By taking good care of your new friend, their unconditional love and affection will be your reward!
A SMOOTH LANDING
Transitioning from one home to another can be confusing and stressful, especially for a cat – they are creatures of habit and can become upset when their routine changes. What we call the “smooth landing” factor is all about making your pet feel at home in their new surroundings as quickly as possible. Ensuring a “smooth landing” can be fairly easy:
INTRODUCING YOUR KITTEN TO OTHER PETS
How to Introduce a Kitten to Another Dog or Cat
We all just love the thought of bringing home a new kitten. But there is one area of concern: you already have a pet. How will your dog or cat react when you introduce them to your new kitten? You have no idea how your other furry friend will feel about the addition of a new kitten to the family. It’s hard to predict our dog’s or cat’s behavior, but in fact, just like bringing home a newborn baby to a toddler, your resident pet will likely feel jealous and neglected for a short period (which is normal), while you try to get the kitten familiarized to your home and your everyday routine. Here are some helpful insights on how to help introduce your kitten to another dog or cat.
It is better to introduce the new kitten at a time when you will have at least a weekend to be home. You will want to observe and supervise closely at first. If your resident dog does not know the basic commands such as” sit”, “down”, “come” and “stay”, you should teach them prior to the introduction or as soon as you can. These basic commands will be helpful to ease the introduction and ensure your kitten’s safety.
It is recommended to opt for a slow desensitization method when you introduce your kitten to your dog. Place the kitten in a room with a tall baby gate across the door. The room you choose should be one the dog cannot access and does not need to access. Let them get used to each other’s presence and smell. Little by little, open the gate and let them interact with each other with supervision. Be patient, this may not happen overnight. The dog should be praised and rewarded if they remain calm around the kitten. You should also praise your kitten for good behavior as well.
Some cats are more territorial and need to be introduced slowly to a new member of the family. Cats feel calm and happy in a stable environment. Never immediately introduce them face-to-face without a period of adjustment. Let the kitten adjust to their new room, allowing your resident pet to become familiar with your new kitten’s smell through the door or gate.
When you are ready to introduce the two, slowly open the door to the kitten’s room and let the resident pet look inside and smell the room. They will probably sniff and stare at each other. If the contact goes well, reward them with treats. If one or the other does not react well, separate them, and try again later. It might take a couple of meetings before both remain calm.
Also, it is important to note that cats do not usually like to share their belongings. You should try to purchase separate toys and bowls for your kitten and your cat. Start by creating a new room for the kitten with everything they may need such as food bowls, a litter box, toys and a bed.
Once your new kitten feels comfortable and safe in their room, it is time to make a first introduction – through scent! Your pets feel safe when surrounded by their scent, and they will start to learn about each other through smell. You can start by swapping toys or a blanket, this way they can get used to each other’s scent.
Remember that your resident dog or cat may show signs of possessiveness and territorial behavior to assert their place in your home and around their space to show your kitten who is in charge. You can slowly let them play together while supervised so that they can begin to build trust in one another.
Make sure they each have an area where they can have personal space. Feed them in separate bowls, even though they might end up sharing later on!
It could take up to 3-4 weeks for your kitten and older pet to get along and play comfortably without needing supervision or any type of intervention. Once you have noticed full days where there is no “rough play”, you can start leaving them together for short periods of time during the day.
When you introduce your new kitten, keep in mind that introduction is new to both your kitten and your dog or cat. Your resident pet has been the only pet in the house for some time so it is only natural that it will take some getting used to. Your kitten will eventually learn their place in your household. Give them both time to adjust to each other and try not to stress as they will feed on your energy. Enjoy the new addition and take it one day at a time, it’s all worth it!
CHOOSING THE RIGHT FOOD
Nutrience Kitten Food: How to Pick the Right One
Nutrience has a variety of kitten foods to suit kittens of all breeds and activity levels. Here’s a little guide to help you choose the right Nutrience kitten food to match your kitten’s needs and specific growing requirements.
Our Infusion Healthy Kitten formula is a grain-inclusive chicken-based formula. Our infusion recipe is infused with freeze-dried chicken liver throughout the kibble for a superior taste your kitten will love! Infusion Healthy Kitten has a moderate level of crude protein at 36% which is the perfect amount for a moderately active kitten.
Nutrience Original Healthy Kitten is a tried-and-true classic. This recipe uses chicken meal and brown rice to provide your kitten with the nutrients and energy they need! Like all Nutrience formulas, this recipe includes salmon oil to promote a healthy skin and coat, prebiotics for a healthy digestion, and is made from Canadian sourced ingredients.
Nutrience has many options that are suitable for all life stages, including kittens, in our Grain-Free and SubZero lines. When a food is suitable for all life stages it means that it is rich enough to cater to the dietary needs of a growing kitten, but also fall within the AAFCO recommended guidelines for adult maintenance. With an all-life-stages food, it is important to correctly follow the feeding guide, as the recommended quantity will change and eventually plateau as your kitten grows.
Our Subzero Fraser Valley, Prairie Red, and Canadian Pacific formulas in the SubZero line contain an elevated level of crude protein, perfect for a kitten that is always on the go. Mixed in with our kibble are freeze-dried Nutriboost cubes. Nutriboost is a mix of animal protein and 4 superfoods: pumpkin, for its digestive properties, cod liver oil which is rich in omega-3, green-lipped mussels for their anti-inflammatory properties, and Acadian kelp, rich in antioxidants. These cubes are freeze-dried to ensure minimal nutritional degradation and provide a taste your kitten will adore!
Our Grain-Free Turkey, Chicken and Herring or Ocean Fish formulas are a great choice for any moderately active kitten. These formulas use multiple different sources of animal protein, providing your kitten with a complete and diverse amino acid profile. With a 36% crude protein level, this food will satiate your kitten and meet all his or her energetic requirements.
Most of these formulas are available in a wet format as well! Should you need guidance on which Nutrience kitten food to choose for your kitten, please do not hesitate to reach out to us on Facebook or Instagram.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT PRODUCTS
Of course, having the right feeding and grooming tools, as well as toys on hand will make this transitional period much more enjoyable for everybody.
There are literally thousands of pet products available on the market today for cats of all personalities and breeds – but don’t let the vast array of choices overwhelm you; just ask a sales associate at your local pet store for help. They’ll be able to point you in the right direction.
• Breakaway collar
• Food and water bowls
• Litter box and litter
• A bed or a box with soft blankets
• Cat food, treats and catnip
• A variety of toys – choose a
few to find out what your new friend likes best. Often, cats enjoy toys that mimic their natural hunting and stalking behaviors
• Scratching post, stand or block
• Kitty first aid kit (ask your vet for a list of essential items)
• A harness and tie-out to allow your cat to enjoy the outdoors without wandering
• Grooming tools: brushes,
nail scissors, etc.
• Kitty toothpaste and toothbrush (or tooth cleaning finger mitt)
• An “accident” kit – enzymatic cleaners, extra litter
• A carrier (useful for vet visits)
• Window perch or cat
One of the first things you’ll want to do is ensure that your new cat has a place to relax and sleep. This will mean choosing amongst a wide array of cat beds. They can be as simple as a cardboard box with a soft blanket inside (after all, as proven by endless youtube videos – cats love boxes!), or you can purchase one from a pet store in an array of shapes and sizes.
Although pricier than a regular bed, you can also purchase a cat tree or “kitty condo” that often has hammocks, beds or caves built into them – if you have more than one cat, or simply wish to spoil your new friend, it can be a great option that can also provide your cat with a place to sleep, a playground, and a perch to observe their surroundings.
How to Ensure My Kitten Uses Their Litter Box?
Training a kitten to use the litter box is typically easier than potty training a puppy to go outside, regardless of whether they are domesticated or not. Most kittens will instinctively use the litter box at the young age of 3-4 weeks old by observing and imitating their mother, so by the time you bring your kitten into their new home, they may already be trained. However, if your new kitten has not been trained, you will need to begin training them as soon as possible. If you are unsure how to train your kitten to use the litter box, follow our list of suggestions below to ensure that your kitten develops good habits.
There are two main types of litter boxes: open and covered. We suggest using an open litter box with a shallow lip since this makes it much easier for your kitten to enter and exit the box. Make sure that whichever litter box you pick, your kitten can easily go in and out without having to jump. Should you decide to go with the covered option, be sure that the opening is not too small or out of reach for your kitten.
As your kitten grows older, we recommend switching the litter box for one with higher sides, especially if you have a cat that kicks up a lot of litter when covering their leavings. Once you have chosen the box, it is essential to choose a litter that is safe for your kitten’s health. Make sure that the litter you choose does not contain any fragrances or harsh chemicals. Once you have your litter, pour about an inch of litter in the pan. Do not make it too deep, or your kitten might not use it. Avoid changing the litter and box type because a sudden difference in texture or smell might upset your cat and cause them to avoid their litter box.
Tip: A good rule of thumb is to provide one litter box per cat plus an extra box.
Like us, cats enjoy their privacy, so it is best to set up your litter box in a quiet and remote area in the house so that your kitten may use it comfortably and privately. Areas that are too noisy such as near laundry appliances might startle your cat and create a negative association with their litter box. In turn, this could make them stop going in the litter box altogether. If you have space, it is also best to offer multiple litter boxes so that your kitten will always be close to a litter box. Be sure to place your kitten’s litter box far away from their feeding area since cats do not like to soil beside their food.
Tip: Make sure that you keep the litter box in the same location to avoid any confusion. If you have more than one cat, avoid putting litter boxes side by side as litter boxes can be territorial for cats.
Any new cat or kitten should be introduced to their litter box as soon as you bring them to their new home so that they will be aware of its location. Once you have everything in place, you are ready to teach your new kitten how to use the box:
Tip: As mentioned previously, avoid moving the box to a different locationonce you have shown it to your kitten.
Cleaning your kitten’s litter box should be done daily. If you are pregnant, make sure to avoid changing your cat’s litter yourself if possible, to diminish any contact with your cat’s feces which can carry toxoplasmosis. Kittens are at the highest risk of carrying the Toxoplasma parasite. If no one else can change the litter for you, be sure to wear gloves and wash your hands immediately after.
Cats will often refuse to use the litter box if it is not kept clean. Not only does a clean litter box keep your cat happy and healthy, it is also less likely to harbor bacteria, viruses, parasites, or other microorganisms. Ensure to clean the litter box with mild soap and avoid using any disinfectants or harsh chemicals such as ammonia. Make sure to completely replace the litter with fresh litter every week.
Finding a single cause for inappropriate elimination outside the litter box can be quite challenging. Even with the best training, kittens can sometimes have accidents outside their litter box. If your kitten persists in soiling outside the litter box, make sure to first rule out any medical conditions before concluding that the reason is behavioral. Schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to identify if your kitten has any underlying medical conditions and how to manage the problem. You may also need to experiment using different strategies, such as changing the litter box’s location or switching the type of litter you use, before finding the right combination that will make your kitty feel comfortable.
PLACE YOUR CAT IN THEIR DESIGNATED LITTER BOX:
• FIRST THING IN THE MORNING & LAST THING BEFORE YOU GO TO BED
• 10 MINUTES AFTER EACH MEAL
• RIGHT AFTER ACTIVE PLAY
SPAYING & NEUTERING
Everything You Need to Know About Spaying or Neutering a Cat
Sterilizing your pet is an important responsibility as a pet owner. Overpopulation of cats is a prevalent and devastating problem across North America. Because cats have such a short gestation period and the ability to produce many kittens in a single litter, their populations grow exponentially in a very short period of time. If one intact female cat gives birth to a litter of four kittens and those kittens reproduce, we end up with 67 cats over the course of two years. If those kittens reproduce, one year after we end up 376 cats. If we take this a step further and calculate the reproduction potential after 5 years, we can have as many as 11,000 kittens! With these alarming statistics, it is easy to understand how rescue centers end up with so many abandoned or feral cats to look after. TNR efforts are starting to become more and more common, where organizations Trap, Neuter and Release feral cats to help control overpopulation. Every year, millions of cats, including kittens, are euthanized. The good news is that responsible pet owners can make a difference. By having your cat sterilized, you will do your part to prevent the accidental birth of more kittens.
Many pet stores across Canada have taken the initiative to help alleviate some of the overcrowding in rescue centers and are putting rescue cats up for adoption. In most cases, these cats are already sterilized before finding their forever homes. While it is often recommended to only sterilize your pet once they have reached their predicted adult weight, rescue centers, however, do not have a choice and need to neuter or spay at a young age to help put an end to the reproductive cycle and overpopulation.
Sterilization of your pet has health benefits as well. Reproduction of a cat that is too young can be associated with physical risks such as kittens getting stuck in the birth canal. Gestation also demands a significant amount of energy. If the cat’s higher energy needs are not met, a pregnant female is at risk for malnutrition.
Sterilization of cats also reduces the risk of hormone related cancers. A hysterectomy completely eliminates the possibility of pyometra, a fatal uterine infection, as well as both uterine and ovarian cancer in female cats. Spaying females before their first heat also eliminates the risk of mammary cancer. Neutering of male cats eliminates the risk of testicular cancer.
Most vets recommend sterilizing your cat when they are between 6 and 8 months old. Hormones play a role in growth and development of kittens, and sterilization will alter these hormones. To help prevent overpopulation, it is strongly recommended to keep your cat indoors until they are sterilized.
Pet owners have reported a decrease in hyperactivity after sterilization. Male cats who are neutered are also less likely to demonstrate behavioral issues such as aggression, roaming and urine spraying.
Is weight gain a side effect of sterilization?
The short answer is not really. Weight gain occurs when there is an energy imbalance; the animal is taking in more energy than it is expending. The age at which cats are neutered typically corresponds with the natural decrease in growth and energy requirements. Caloric intake should decrease after sterilization. If pet owners continue to feed the same amount, their pet will gain weight. Because dogs and cats are often spayed or neutered just before maturity, the change in reproductive status is often blamed for weight gain, when the reason is usually a change in energy requirements due to age. Regardless, there is a hormonal component that will affect food intake. Sterilized females tend to consume more, as they do not experience estrus, during which the animal will naturally consume less. The metabolism of sterilized animals also tends to slow. This lower metabolic rate along with overconsumption will lead to an energy surplus and weight gain.
Is there a correlation between sterilization and urethral blockages?
It has previously been hypothesized that early spaying or neutering could result in a smaller urethra size leading to a higher risk of blockages, however, there are no statistically significant studies to support this hypothesis.
Studies demonstrate that both cats and dogs who are sterilized have an overall longer lifespan.
Please consider doing your part in preventing overpopulation by neutering your kitten.
Is It Safe to Let My Kitten Outdoors?
As a pet parent, trying to decide whether you should let your new kitten explore the outside world is a difficult choice to make. While the outside world might seem like a fun and exciting place for your kitten, unlike us, your kitten will not be able to tell the difference between what is dangerous and what is not. Therefore, it is only natural that you would want to ensure that your kitten is kept as safe as possible while they enjoy their newly extended world. Here is our checklist of insightful tips and safety measures to take into consideration before letting your kitten go outdoors.
Kittens should be at least six months old before they can go outside on their own after they have been neutered and had their full course of vaccinations. This period will also allow them to get used to their home and make it easier for them to track their way back after adventuring outdoors.
Being naturally inquisitive, it is likely that your kitten will want to explore the garden and beyond. However, there are a few essential things to bear in mind before letting your kitten out into the outside world. Consider the following suggestions to ensure a smooth transition to the outdoors:
Tip: If you have moved to another address, remember to update your contact details.
The most harmful plants to cats include Lilies, Tulips, Mistletoe, Daffodils, Azalea, Ivy, Chrysanthemum, Cyclamen, Kalanchoe, Oleander.
For a full list of toxic plants for cats, click here.
Tip: Always ensure that the products you use on any of your plants are non-toxic and organic.
The big day has come, you have covered all the steps above, and now your kitten is ready to explore their newly extended world. Now you can follow the steps below to acclimate your cat to the outdoors:
Optional: Use a leash or a harness at first to prevent them from running off. Over time, once your kitten feels comfortable enough outdoors, you will be able to stop using the harness or leash entirely.
Remember, prevention is better than a cure. With your love and care, you can help your kitty avoid any potential dangers and make their first outdoor experience a positive one.
PLAYTIME & EXERCISE
Because cats are active, curious creatures, they need plenty of mental and physical stimulation.
The amount of play & exercise your cat needs will depend on the age, breed, and personality of your cat. Giving them the proper amount of physical and mental stimulation will ensure that your cat is fit and stays out of trouble.
Playtime is all about stimulating your cat’s natural predatory instincts.
Chasing a toy such as a cat teaser or laser pointer stimulates their need
to hunt and stalk small prey by mimicking the erratic movements of natural prey animals. Other toys, such as stuffed mice, also stimulate this instinct by allowing your cat to “hunt” them as if they were the real thing.
Scratching stimulates the natural urge to keep claws sharp; also serves to mark territory. Provide a variety of attractive surfaces for your cat to scratch on, in a variety of configurations. Having plenty of designated scratching surfaces can prevent them from destroying your furniture.
Helps improve mental acuity and relieve boredom. For example, a hollow ball filled with treats that has to be moved a certain way to release the treats can keep them entertained for hours on end. By incorporating food, you ensure your cat stays interested, as hunting and eating are closely linked behaviors in the wild.
Are games that allow your cat to hide and pounce on things, for example, by allowing them to play in paper grocery bags (avoid the plastic ones!), boxes, or cat towers with multiple levels and hideout spots stimulates your cat’s natural stalking instincts.
During play, your cat may become overly excited, and can cause minor injuries. For this reason, make sure that there is plenty of distance between you and your cat to avoid any accidental injuries. Once in a while, you might still get scratched – make sure to clean the wound thoroughly and consult a medical professional if it appears to be infected or not healing.
Cats are opinionated, expressive companions who are not shy to let you know how they feel in a given moment. Contrary to popular belief, cats will let you know how they feel by using a combination of various vocalizations and body language.
Did you know?
While a dog can only make around 10 types of vocalizations, cats can make over 100 different types of sounds – for example, research shows that they meow at a pitch that imitates human infants to tell their owners they want something.
Happy cats are generally relaxed, without any signs of tension. They might hold their tail still, or with a slight curl at the top if they’re greeting you. They’ll often purr or look as if they’re daydreaming. They might also give you “head bumps,” or rub against your ankles. A cat blinking their eyes languidly at you is a very happy cat (it’s the feline equivalent of kissing and letting their guard down).
This is how most cats spend their waking day. There is no tension in the body, and they appear to be content to watch what’s happening in the environment. Depending on the cat, they may appear to be almost smiling or simply indifferent.
Anxious or Annoyed
When cats are anxious, their eyes will be open and unblinking. Their pupils may dilate. Sometimes, cats may tense up, and get ready to run. When they are annoyed, they may pull their whiskers back and start swishing their tail.
Scared or Angry
If you see the “Halloween cat” posture – flattened ears, tensed body, puffed up tail & fur, whilst hissing, spitting and growling – your cat is letting you know they’re scared. When this happens, it is wise not to pet your cat, even if your first instinct is to physically comfort them. Avoid staring at the cat and any sudden movements to avoid injury.
When cats are interested in something, they may make small chirping or chattering sounds, stare intently, and point their body towards the object of attention. They might get ready to pounce, or start stalking the object. Their head and tail will often be held low, and swish slowly from side to side to enhance their sense of balance.
Often, while cats rely on body language and subtle vocalizations to communicate amongst each other, they will use less subtle vocalizations (a variety of meows) to get your attention instead. As time goes by, you may recognize various types of meows – they may use a different one to let you know they want food, and another one to let you know they want to play.
If some of these signals are unfamiliar to you at first, don’t worry – with time, you’ll become more and more comfortable with the way your cat expresses themself.
TRANSITIONING YOUR KITTEN ONTO NUTRIENCE
Congratulations, you’ve made the decision to transition your puppy or kitten onto a Nutrience formula! As with any food, it is important to gradually transition your puppy or kitten from one food to another to reduce the likelihood of digestive upset. Start with a proportion of 25% of the new Nutrience food and 75% of the old food. Slowly change the proportions over the next 5 to 7 days by gradually increasing the amount of the new food and decreasing the amount of old food.
Some pets may require a longer transition time depending on their sensitivities or when changing to a new formula that is drastically different from the current one. In cases where your pet has a sensitive tummy, or the ingredient panel or macronutrient content is radically different between formulas (namely the protein, fat, and/or fiber content), we recommend a 10-to-14-day transition period to give your pet’s digestive system time to adjust.
Pet obesity is a serious problem that is becoming more and more common. Did you know that up to 60% of the dog and cat population are considered overweight or obese?
Simply filling up your pet’s bowl when it is empty is often referred to as “free feeding” and can result in overeating and obesity in dogs and cats. Weight gain occurs when an animal consumes more energy than it is burning. Dogs and cats may overeat when free-fed if they are being offered an irresistibly tasty diet. While there is nothing wrong with wanting to provide a diet that is not only nutritious but also delicious, portion control is critical to prevent overeating. There are some external factors that influence food intake as well. The timing and the environment in which your pet is fed can have an effect on how much they eat. Dogs and cats who eat multiple meals a day and those eating in presence of other animals tend to consume more.
Whether your animal’s bowl is left out or they are fed in intervals, it is crucial to follow the daily portion recommended which can be found on the ‘feeding guide’ of every bag to prevent excess calorie intake. If your pet is at their ideal body weight and body condition score, continue to feed them according to their current weight. However, if your pet is overweight, in order to help them lose the excess weight, their food should gradually be cut back to the feeding recommendation for their ideal body weight, as continuing to provide enough food for their current body weight will provide enough calories for them to stay overweight. You may also want to use our Feeding Calculator for a more tailored feeding recommendation.
Also, interactive feeders are a great way to stimulate your pet. While our domestic cats and dogs are cozy at home, their ancestors and cousins spend up to 80% of their time foraging for food. An interactive feeder such as a feeding tree or puzzle will stimulate your pet’s natural hunting instincts and make them work for their food. Animals who are fed through interactive feeders are less likely to eat out of boredom and tend to eat only when they are hungry. Interactive feeders should be filled with your pet’s recommended daily portion of food.
It is highly recommended to use a small kitchen scale to measure your pet’s daily ration of food in grams, as this will allow you to control the amount of food provided with much better accuracy. Everything with regard to dog and cat food is calculated first by weight, then converted to volume (cups), for which the numbers must be rounded and are therefore less precise.
Be sure to check out our Feeding Calculator on the Nutrience website!
APOP. 2018. Association for Pet Obesity Prevention. Available from: https://petobesityprevention.org/
KEEPING YOUR KITTEN HYDRATED
It’s important to have fresh, clean water available at all times. In addition, canned food is another way to help keep your pet hydrated – while it doesn’t replace drinking water, it’s high in moisture (about 75-80% as opposed to about 10% in dry food) and can be a tasty option for pets that have a low thirst drive.
TEETHING, DENTAL CARE & FURBALLS
Teething Kitten: What To Do
Kittens, just like kids, go through a teething process where they lose their baby teeth. At around 4 months of age, your kitten’s adult teeth will begin to push on the baby teeth. Cat owners generally notice more teething symptoms during the adult teething stage at around six months. You might observe some behavior changes, like biting, chewing more, loss of appetite. Gingivitis may also begin during teething, causing gum inflammation and bad breath. These symptoms will usually go away once your kitten is no longer teething. Remember that teething is uncomfortable for your kitten so you’ll want to make sure to diminish any discomfort that you can. Here are some tips to help you soothe your kitten during their teething stage:
As your kitten is teething it will be difficult to keep them from biting everything in sight, including your fingers! Hide everything that can be dangerous like electrical cords, wires, and toxic materials. Also, keep all your valuable items out of reach. To help with pain relief, make sure they have chew toys, braided rope, or a cold wet washcloth can do the trick. These items provide an outlet for chewing needs and relieves some of the tenderness. They will also prevent your kitten from chewing on your furniture.
Your kitten might have difficulty chewing their dry food due to the pain, therefore giving your kitten wet food may be best until their adult teeth come in. You may also want to avoid brushing your kitten’s teeth during its teething process as brushing can lead to sore gums and may cause additional discomfort.
Moreover, you’ll want to keep an eye on your kitten’s tooth growth to make sure all their teeth are growing in properly and that they aren’t too close together or far apart. Your kitten will likely swallow any teeth they lose, so there’s no need to worry about finding them!
Once all their adult teeth have grown in, it is important that you brush your cat’s teeth regularly to maintain good oral hygiene for the rest of their life.
How to Maintain Good Oral Health for Kittens
Some facts to make your teeth chatter!
Did you know that some form of periodontal disease is reported in 80% of dogs and 70% of cats over the age of 3? It is one of the most common diseases observed by veterinarians and is reaching epidemic proportions. Small dogs and cats are more prone to periodontal disease due to their small mouth size and overcrowding of the teeth. Small dogs also have a lower ratio of bone to teeth in their lower jaw when compared to large breeds, therefore the deterioration of the bone in small breeds has a larger impact. Although smaller breeds are more prone to dental problems, all cats and dogs are at risk without proper oral care.
Why do so many dogs and cats have periodontal diseases?
Most pets have periodontitis due to an accumulation of plaque on their teeth that is not removed. Plaque deposits are caused by bacteria and allow the bacteria to proliferate. These bacteria not only cause bad breath but damage the gum tissue, connective tissue, and eventually the alveolar bone. Plaque can be removed most effectively by abrasion and with the help of chemical agents, however, if left untreated will calcify into tartar. Tartar can only be removed by a tooth scaling at your veterinarian, a process for which the animal will need to be anesthetized.
Prevention is key with regard to periodontal disease, and getting your puppy or kitten used to good oral health practices when they are young makes teeth brushing much easier when they are older!
The importance of brushing
Kibbles are a great way to help maintain healthy teeth due to the abrasion on the teeth that removes plaque. However, dogs and cats often only chew with their molars making it hard for kibbles to target the canine teeth, located at the front of their mouths. Brushing will benefit your puppy or kitten by removing plaque from all teeth but is especially important for those teeth that a kibble does not get to.
How often should I brush my puppy or kitten’s teeth?
Ideally, you should brush your pet’s teeth every day for 2 minutes. Kittens and puppies love to have a routine, so if you can establish a routine to brush your pet’s teeth at the same time every day, they may be more receptive.
It is best to get your pet used to the toothbrush and toothpaste by introducing it slowly. Start by showing your cat or dog the toothbrush and touching it to their mouth. Don’t forget to reward them with treats after each step!
How do I brush their teeth?
Place a small amount of toothpaste on your finger or the toothbrush and let them lick it off. It is important to always use toothpaste specifically designed for pets and not for humans. Human toothpaste can be toxic and is never recommended for companion animals. We recommend using a cat or dog toothpaste containing an enzyme to help fight plaque-causing bacteria. There are a variety of toothbrushes available on the market. Use a toothbrush that is easiest and most convenient for you to manipulate.
Gently brush your cat or dog’s teeth by moving the toothbrush in circular motions on the teeth, paying special attention to the gum line. The abrasive rubbing action is what will remove plaque and prevent periodontal diseases such as gingivitis.
You may give your cat or dog breaks, as not to overwhelm them, rewarding them for their patience with positive reinforcement including kind words, pets, and treats.
It may take time for your cat or dog to adjust to brushing, but don’t give up! Two minutes of brushing per day is much more agreeable for your pet than suffering through periodontal disease or anesthetized teeth cleanings at the vet.
Unlike human toothpaste which contains fluoride and detergents, toothpaste intended for animals does not need to be rinsed away, so once you’re finished brushing, you’re all done!
How to Groom My Cat to Prevent Hairballs?
Hairballs occur when cats groom themselves and ingest loose hair. Most of this hair is excreted in the feces, however, occasionally it will clump together and form a hairball when the ingested hair cannot move easily through the digestive tract and is instead regurgitated. Luckily, some grooming techniques can help prevent your cat from regurgitating hairballs.
Some cats may be more prone to hairballs such as long-haired domestic cats, Maine coons, Persians, Himalayans, and Norwegian Forest Cats, while others are not, such as the Sphynx, Cornish rex, Devon rex, and Oriental. There are specific grooming techniques and customized diets that can be helpful in reducing the number of hairballs your cat regurgitates.
Brushing your cat daily is one of the most effective ways to reduce the amount of hair they ingest. Plus, many cats enjoy being groomed by their owners. More grooming by you means less self-grooming and fewer hairballs for them. It’s a win-win! On top of daily brushing, you may also want to bring your cat to get professionally groomed to remove any loose hairs. If you don’t have time for daily brushing or grooming, you can always use a wet paper towel or wipe to remove any excess loose hairs as well.
Bathing your cat is another great way you can prevent hairball regurgitation and shedding. The most important thing to note is that not all cats have the same bathing needs. Cats with longer coats as well as outdoor cats require more frequent bathing than short-hair and indoor cats. On average, a cat should be bathed and blow-dried no more than every four to six weeks.
Prior to bathing your cat, make sure you have purchased a cat-friendly shampoo and have set up a safe space to bathe your cat. Bathing can be a stressful activity for your cat so ensure that you make the process as relaxing as possible.
Here are a few tips on helping your cat relax during bath time:
Another way of reducing hairballs is to keep your cat busy with some activities. Less self-grooming time means fewer hairballs!
Case et al. Canine And Feline Nutrition. 3rd ed., Mosby, 2011, pp. 437-449.
Royal Veterinary College University Of London, 2020, https://www.rvc.ac.uk/review/Dentistry/Shared_Media/pdfs/perio_print.pdf. Accessed 10 Nov 2020.
“STAY-C 50, Special Form Of Vitamin C In Support Of Dog And Cat Oral Care | Home – DSM Animal Nutrition & Health”. Dsmanimalnutrition, 2020, https://www.dsm.com/anh/en/feedtalks/petfoodtalks/stay-c50-vitaminc-oral-care.html. Accessed 10 Nov 2020.
This is a period that many first-time cat owners don’t anticipate for their kitten as they often expect cats to only go through 4 life stages: kitten, adult, senior and geriatric. However, cats go through 5 distinct life stages: kitten, junior, prime, mature and senior. The junior stage, or adolescence, for cats, begins at approximately six months old. During this period, your teenage kitten will continue to grow physically and cognitively until they reach the age of two years old. Like human adolescents, cats will experience a shift in personality. Throughout the transition, cat owners will notice behavioural changes that will need to be addressed. Understanding and managing your teenage cat’s behaviour will not only help you deal with their antics but will set both of you up for long-term success. Here are some tips and tricks to get you prepared for your kitten’s adolescence.
Even though your kitten may not yet be fully grown, adolescence is when your kitten will reach sexual maturity. During this stage, the most notable signs of a cat reaching puberty are behavioural. If unsterilized, most cats will become very affectionate, even demanding, by persistently rubbing against you (or objects such as furniture), rolling on the floor, and constantly wanting attention. If you have a male kitten, expect them to exhibit signs of spraying or urinating in particular corners of the house to mark their territory.
Female cats will also urinate more or even spray urine on vertical objects when they are in heat. This heat cycle is referred to as estrous. If your female cat is urinating or spraying on objects, she is trying to inform other cats of her reproductive status. Another sign of sexual maturity is that most cats will also become very vocal; crying, meowing, and yowling are often loudly heard from cats in heat. Getting your cat spayed or neutered is the best way to prevent or eliminate these unwanted behaviours. Additionally, getting them spayed or neutered can also help reduce the risk of uterine infections, testicular cancer, and breast cancers while also decreasing hormonal stress and behaviours associated with unsterilized cats.
Tip: If you have an outdoor cat, ensure that your cat is microchipped and has a proper means of identification with an ID tag. Cats who aren’t spayed/neutered are more likely to roam away from home to find a potential mate, especially male cats. Do not let your cat outdoors until they are spayed or neutered first.
During adolescence, your cat will begin to have stronger and longer claws, which can result in injury to you and your furniture. Scratching is not only a natural act but a necessary one as well. There are a few reasons why a cat scratches:
Because this behaviour is instinctive to cats, you don’t want to discourage it entirely. Instead, the goal should be to get your cat to scratch acceptable objects such as a scratching post. We recommend providing your cat with multiple scratching posts in different areas of your home. You may want to sprinkle some catnip and reward your cat when they use the scratching post to encourage them to use it. This will increase the likelihood that your furniture and carpeting will be left alone. In addition to getting a scratching post, trimming their claws every two to three weeks can also help enormously the scratching problem. Make sure to give your kitty a tasty treat whenever they use the scratching post correctly.
Play aggression is the most common type of aggressive behaviour that cats direct toward their owners or household items. Typical predatory and play behaviours include stalking, chasing, attacking, running, ambushing, pouncing, biting and more. It is usually in this stage where adolescent cats will begin to test their independence (and your patience!) from time to time. To better endure their teenage attitude, it’s essential to get them to exert all their energy through play and training.
Similarly, adopting another kitten may also help by keeping your kitty company while also allowing them to have a playmate. They’re more likely to burn off their energy by playing together than destroying your furniture out of pure boredom. If getting another kitten is not an option, we suggest using lots of interactive toys to keep them busy. Regular interactive play not only burns off their energy but also decreases many unwanted behaviours by keeping them mentally stimulated. Remember to praise your kitty whenever they show any interest in the toy you give them. Don’t tantalize your kitten with your fingers or toes; always place a toy between you and your cat during play so they do not pick up unwanted behaviours.
It’s not uncommon for cat owners to feel frustrated when their cats wake them up at night by meowing, scratching or knocking objects off the table and shelves. Cats are crepuscular, which means they are most active at dawn and dusk since nighttime is when their prey is most active. Fortunately, there are a few ways to manage your kitty’s nighttime antics:
Hang in there!
Kitten adolescence requires patience and dedication— Remember, your kitty will outgrow this. When in doubt, you can always contact your vet for further professional advice.
TRANSITIONING TO ADULT FOOD
How and When Should I Transition my Kitten Onto An Adult Cat Food?
Wondering when and how to transition your kitten onto an adult cat food? Unlike dogs, which can vary hugely in size and therefore grow and reach adulthood at very different rates, all kittens reach their full adult size at approximately 1 year of age and can be transitioned onto adult cat food at this point. While some kittens start to calm down with age, others keep that “kitten energy” for a little while into adulthood. If this is the case for your kitty, we recommend starting them on adult food once they reach 1 year of age, while following the feeding recommendations for a more active adult to supply adequate calories for the energy they are burning. As your cat matures, monitor their energy level and body condition, and switch to the normal adult cat feeding recommendations when your cat starts to have a calmer behavior (is burning less energy) or gains excess weight.
It is important to gradually transition your kitten from one food to another. Start with a proportion of 25% adult food to 75% kitten food. Slowly change the proportions over the next 5 to 7 days by gradually increasing the amount of adult food and decreasing the amount of kitten food. If your cat has an especially sensitive stomach, we recommend prolonging the transition period to 10 to 14 days.
Nutrience has many options that are suitable for all adult cats. Many have even been recommended as “first pick” by Protégez-Vous.
Our Subzero Fraser Valley, Prairie Red, and Canadian Pacific formulas in the SubZero line contain an elevated level of crude protein, perfect for a cat that is always on the go. Mixed in with our kibble are freeze-dried Nutriboost cubes. Nutriboost is a mix of animal protein and 4 superfoods: pumpkin, for its digestive properties, cod liver oil which is rich in omega-3, green-lipped mussels for their anti-inflammatory properties, and Acadian kelp, rich in antioxidants. These cubes are freeze-dried to ensure minimal nutritional degradation and provide a taste your cat will adore!
Our Grain-Free Turkey, Chicken and Herring, Ocean Fish or Indoor Turkey, Chicken & Duck formulas are a great choice for any moderately active cat. These formulas use multiple different sources of animal protein, providing your cat with a complete and diverse amino acid profile. With a 36% crude protein level, this food will satiate your cat and meet all his or her energetic requirements.
Our Infusion Healthy Adult and Healthy Indoor Adult are best suited for moderately active cats, especially indoor cats, who prefer a grain-inclusive formula. This protein-rich kibble is infused with freeze-dried chicken liver for a superior flavour that even the finickiest cats will crave.
If your cat is experiencing itchy skin, diarrhea, vomiting, hives or swelling, he or she may have a food allergy or sensitivity. Our Care Sensitive Skin and Stomach formula is a grain-free food suitable for all life stages. Nutrience Sensitive Skin & Stomach is made with fresh salmon and hydrolyzed fish protein concentrate. This recipe is free of all common allergens including chicken, beef, lamb, dairy products, eggs, meat meals, gluten, and grain (including soy, and wheat). Compared to poultry, beef and lamb, fish is the most easily digested animal protein and is the least likely to trigger an allergic reaction. Going the extra step of hydrolyzing a protein ensures that this formula is hypoallergenic and caters to the gastrointestinal sensitivities your cat may have.
Our Care Urinary Health formula is suitable for all life stages and is a great preventative diet even if your cat has never had crystals. Male cats, and those who have already had urinary health issues, are most at risk for developing crystals and can benefit greatly from this diet. Our Urinary Health formula relies on a balanced pH and low levels of dietary magnesium (0.08%) to prevent the formation of both struvite crystals and calcium oxalate crystals.
Long haired cats are especially prone to hairballs. Hairballs occur when cats groom themselves and ingest loose hair. Most of this hair be excreted in the feces, however occasionally it will clump together and form a hairball. Hairballs occur when the ingested hair cannot move easily through the digestive tract and is instead regurgitated. Providing your cat with a diet specifically formulated to prevent hairballs like our Care Hairball Control formula will give your cat all the nutrients it needs in adulthood while keeping your floors hairball-free at the same time.
You may also want to consider putting your cat on a good dental kibble to prevent the development of any periodontal disease, such as our Nutrience Care Oral Health formula. This cat food is designed to promote good dental and oral health for your cat. The Oral Health kibble is formulated using Denta Crunch™ technology: an oversized kibble, made with a unique blend of insoluble fibers, designed to encourage your cat to chew thoroughly. This mechanical action will help clean your cat’s teeth, maintain good oral hygiene, and fight plaque and tartar build-up. Many dental foods rely on sodium hexametaphosphate, a chemical that prevents plaque from calcifying into tartar. Our Oral Health formula does not contain any sodium hexametaphosphate and instead uses Stay-Clean-50, a Vitamin C derivative that inhibits the growth of plaque-causing bacteria. By targeting plaque rather than tartar, Stay Clean-50 is also attacking the root of the problem.
If you’re looking for something other than kibble, you may also be interested in our new Air Dried food, which is available in two flavours: The Rancher and The Farmer. This recipe is showcasing our country’s fresh, high-quality ingredients. Handcrafted in small batches in Canada, we air-dry our foods at low temperatures to preserve all the nutrients & flavours those ingredients have to offer, resulting in a highly digestible, highly nutritious, and, just simply, a really good-for-them food.
Similarly, our SubZero Raw food is prepared with fresh, locally sourced ingredients including sustainably-caught salmon and herring, as well as hormone-free and antibiotic-free chicken and meat. All our raw foods are prepared with human-grade food. Our grain-free raw food is available in two formulas: Raw Praire Red and Raw Fraser Valley.
For a full list of Nutrience adult formulas, click here.
Most of these formulas are available in a wet format as well! Should you need guidance on which Nutrience cat food to choose for your cat, please do not hesitate to reach out to us on Facebook or Instagram.
You can also use our Feeding Calculator on our website is you are uncertain about how much you should be feeding your cat daily.