This section is just to help you prepare for your new family member. I have loosely adapted it from the Activities of Daily Living nursing model by Roper, Tierney & Logan. It is not exhaustive and for those of you who have had cats before you will also know what individuals they can be
Maintaining a safe environment
Do not let your kitten or cat outside. They are in danger of being stolen and more importantly do not have the survival knowledge that moggies are born with. Either keep them indoors or in an enclosed outside run. If the latter, also enclose with a roof as Norwegian Forest Cats are prodigious jumpers and climbers. Your cat contract states clearly that you must not let your cats roam free outside. Norwegian Forest Cats are also amazing hunters and can get lost in their pursuit of prey.
Keep the toilet seat down when not in use
Avoid cut flowers and plants. A great many are toxic to cats.
If you ‘toddler prep’ your house, furnishings and ornaments you will not go far wrong.
Lock away all medications, laundry products and cleaning materials.
Please use earthenware or metal bowls. Plastic in particular gets scratched and supports the growth of bacteria and viruses and therefore the development of disease. Also avoid melamine which when combined with cyanuric acid (found in some disinfectants) leads to acute kidney damage in cats – unlikely but why risk your pet.
Cover your cooker hob following use to prevent burns.
Do not leave the fridge, freezer, dishwasher, washing machine, and tumble drier doors open. When loading them always keep the door in sight at all times. A kitten can climb in as quick as a flash.
Check all rooms in particular garages and cellars for small holes from which a kitten can get stuck or escape. Cats have no shoulder bones and can therefore squeeze through very tight gaps.
Michael Fox theorised that cats have three categories of sound; murmurs, vowels and high intensity sounds. To this you can also add the silent meow.
Murmurs – include all the soft sounds like purring, greetings, attention seeking
Vowels – are the open-mouthed sounds often used for communicating with the owner e.g. hungry, dirty lit tray, begging, no etc.
High intensity sounds – wail, howl, hiss and are mostly used with other cats
The silent meow – is often a ‘cat to human’ bribe noise to enable your kitten to get their own way
You will become attuned to what your bundle of fun is saying to you very quickly. You will be surprised the complexity of their ‘language’ using the above and combinations of the above sounds gestures, taps and up to 27 different facial expressions.
Not much to add other than please remember cats cannot pick their nose or clear their throat. So, they do cough and sneeze naturally – it doesn’t always mean they are ill. Their odd sneezes can be accompanied by a flying bogey which can be a delight when you are having your dinner.
Eating and drinking
Always have a source of clean water that is regularly changed – at least as often as you feed them. Better still get one of the electric water pumps that circulates the water round. They should be emptied and refilled daily and washed every third day at least. Do place the water a meter away from food bowls. We use PetSafe Drinkwell 360 Stainless Steel water fountains together with Petlibro Stainless Steel cat water fountains. They both contain filters in them and stainless steel does not scratch and harbour bacteria as easily.
Cats are obligate carnivores. They eat meat. We respect your own personal preferences and beliefs however we will not sell a kitten to anyone intending to feed it a vegetarian or vegan diet. It is not natural for the cat.
We have returned to feeding our cats and kittens with a raw meat diet. Raw is after all the natural food for cats. The quality of human grade pet food has improved considerably over the last couple of years and we are very happy to return to feeding raw. I make up dried meat to serve as a treat and as replacement for dried food. I will detail what we feed as a dry diet for the kittens. We will also go through raw feeding with you if you wish to continue this. There are a few good companies out there but a lot of not so good ones that have jumped onto the raw feeding bandwagon.
Another boon of raw feeding is your litter tray has more pee but less poo. The poo is also harder and much less smelly.
We have previously stated that we are currently feeding day old chicks. We no longer advocate this as scientific examination has shown infections with Salmonella and Mycoplasma have been found in day old chicks.
You are often warned to change feeds gradually. Variety is what cats would eat in the wild. Cats eat birds, rodents, carrion etc. Change is good for them. However change within the type of food i.e. brand. Do not swap between raw and prepared food quickly. You will end up with a cat with the galloping trots which can last for weeks until the gut bacteria have re-flourished.
Owners do create faddy eaters not cats. I did have a kitten owner who wanted to return her kitten to me after 6m as it would only eat poached chicken and prawns. When I asked what she had been feeding it she stated poached chicken and prawns!!
We feed our kittens raw 2-4 times a day dependent on age. We do feed our kittens and immediate expectant mothers mothers Royal Canin ‘Mother & Baby’ dry food at all times. However we are now experimenting with our own dry meat. Please be aware that some dry food has very little nutritional value and is manufactured out of constituents unsuitable to feed to a person. Avoid dry food that contains corn and abundant grain if you can.
In the end you and your cat will strike a balance with each other. Avoid too many treats. Roast chicken on a Sunday goes down well but NO cooked bones. But be aware that many treats have a high calorific content and can lead to obesity if not controlled.
Always wear gloves when feeding. It can protect both you and your cat. Remember if you have a tummy upset, they can get it from you.
If food smells funky (no scientific word for this) even if out of a can; throw it in the bin.
Avoid melamine and plastic dishes. Stick with metal or china (Ming not essential).
Wash all utensils as often as you would your own.
Our kittens are all used to using a fine clumping clay cat litter. We tend to not use hoods or doors on our litter trays. Please scoop your lit trays at least daily – for the sake of your sense of smell you may want to do it a little more often. Lit trays should be filled to about 10cm in depth and topped up when the level falls. Dependent on which litter you used will dictate when you need to do a total change. This should involve removal of the old lit, washing the tray with bleach, rinsing, drying and refilling. Any problems such as diarrhoea and vomiting should make you increase your litter changing accordingly.
Kittens of the age that we sell them are able to use clumping litter. We have found the best litter to be Golden Grey Master available from Zooplus. BasicForm cat litter scoops work really well, are strong and save a lot of time. They are available from Amazon.
Cats are generally clean animals with the odd exception. Firstly intact males. Most ‘Toms’ are dirty boys. I have known them to take a dump in their food bowl when they have not been partial to the contents. We rarely sell kittens for breeding however as they do mature at different rates do contact us if your kitten is demonstrating different behaviour around the use of their litter tray. Secondly the move. We will never release a kitten to you that has not been fully litter trained. Please place at least one tray within sight of the feeding area but at least a couple of metres away. If they do pee or poo outside of the area then try waking them to eat and placing them in the tray beforehand as this is when they will most likely pee. After they have finished eating place them in the tray again to see if they will poo. This will normally knock them back into synch in a couple of days.
If you have an outside secure cat area then why not get a weather proof outside cat litter box. We find them to be great and no more soggy litter trays. Or dig a trench of sand outside. You can rake this through for solids and use disinfectant like Safe 4 to rinse out liquid waste.
Norwegian Forest Cats are reasonably low maintenance to keep their coats tangle free and looking good. We have brushes everywhere and tend to give all our cats a quick brush when they come to see us. Daily brushes with a good groom once a week is always a good idea. It also gets them ready for the moulting season in early spring. We also have Sara a delightful lady who comes round every few months to do a hygiene trim around the tail end and a general tidy up.
After they are three weeks old a kitten can maintain their temperature in a room that you are comfortable in.
For the most part your kitten will eat, sleep, use the lit tray and play, play, play. If you are out of the house, consider a playmate to keep them company if you do not have one already. Although wild cats are on the whole solitary in nature this is mainly due to the availability of food. Cats and kittens in particular love to play so provide them with lots of stimulus. A tall cat tree is ideal for Norwegian Forest Cats. Other essentials balls and toys they can flick around and carry around. You will need a good supply of these as they will either be ripped apart or will end up underneath an inaccessible cupboard. They can be very expensive so do check out Ali Express. They are cheap but do take a few weeks to get to you. Don’t pay rip off prices! The website is https://www.aliexpress.com. From the same supplier get a cat tunnel or two and a cat ball-track. We will show you when you come and visit us.
Kittens will sleep on average 13-16 hours per day. This is normal. By all means buy them a lovely bed just be prepared for the kitten to sleep somewhere else entirely – usually on a hard floor just next to it.
We rarely sell kittens for breeding. Your kitten will come to you neutered. Cats will still occasionally spray urine. This is to mark their territory. Cats also when neutered can engage is some sexual activity. This is normal. It can also happen as a result of anxiety so see if there are any changes to kitty’s routine.
Find yourself a good vet if you don’t have one already. Ask around. Do internet searches. Keep up to date with vaccinations and de-flea / de-worm as is indicated. A good vet will be your partner in the care of your cat and not a dictator.