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DCH Foothill Felines Manzanita with her newborn kitten
DCH Foothill Felines Manzanita With Her Newborn Kitten

Feel free to browse through this entire page; or, click on any of the following topics: Finding the Right Kitten;  What to Look for in a Breeder;  How Old Should the Kitten be to Bring Home;  Preparing for Bringing Your Kitten Home;  Potential Household Dangers to Avoid;  Kittens Need Attention!;  Be Sure Your Kitten is Healthy;  Health & Vaccination Plan for Kittens;  Development of a Kitten;  Resources


You will need to really give a lot of thought to the best breed of cat for your home and family. Attending cat shows is a great opportunity to see many different breeds and talk to their breeders. Always be sure you are familiar with how much grooming a particular breed requires, and any other special characteristics. Do you want a long-haired cat (they are lovely, yet they do require daily combing or brushing, and they do shed longer hair than short-haired cats)? Do you want a pedigreed kitten, which is bred from a planned breeding to conform to the best of the breeder's ability to a written breed standard, or do you want a "household pet", which is usually a kitten as a result of a random mating between two cats of unknown heritage? Pedigreed cats usually are more predictable in their appearance and in their temperament, and are much less common than "household pets." Currently, only 3 to 5 percent of the entire cat population on this continent are pedigreed!!

It's possible that the best kitten for you may be…a CAT!! An adult cat has been through all the care and monitoring required of a kitten, the mistakes and the training needed. Adult cats as a rule adjust quite readily to a new home and they bond to humans just as easily as kittens do.

As far as the controversy over male versus female, altered cats of either sex make especially great pets. Unless you have your heart set on a boy or a girl, choose the kitten/cat that best appeals to you, appears alert and healthy, and plan to have them spayed or neutered at the proper age. Both un-neutered, mature males and un-spayed mature females can spray or mark their territory with urine, and the females may also cry and be quite an annoyance when they are in season. Altering your cat will generally prolong its life, and greatly enhance the quality of its life and the time you spend together. Interestingly, some scientists believe that if a female fetus is inbetween two male fetuses in the mother cat's womb, she may develop some slightly more assertive tendencies as an adult due to absorption of some of the hormonal testosterone produced and excreted by the males in utero.

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You should expect that the breeder will guarantee to you that the kitten is in good health and free from the FELV (feline leukemia) and FIV (feline immuno-deficiency virus) viruses. The breeder should insist or strongly encourage you to have your own veterinarian examine your new kitten within a few days of your purchase to confirm this good health. The breeder should require that you have your kitten spayed or neutered at the appropriate age, unless this kitten is purchased specifically to be bred. The breeder should be willing to answer all your questions, and show an interest in your concerns about the kitten, and they should also provide a written sales agreement that describes all the terms of the sale, including the health guarantee provided, the immunizations provided to date, what food the kitten is used to eating, and the spay/neuter agreement. The breeder should also be quite willing and able to provide you with customer and veterinary references.

Whenever possible, it's always best to first visit the breeder's facility, and beware of a breeder who does not encourage this. When visiting a cattery, try to keep the emotional aspect of purchasing an adorable kitten from interfering with your deliberate observations of the facility. Are the rooms clean and odor-free? Are the adult cats given adequate room and do they seem healthy and happy? Are the animals kept in an organized fashion, to keep overcrowding to a minimum, and to ensure that the breeder can easily tell whether the cats are eating and drinking, breeding, etc.?

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It is now widely recognized that the first 12 weeks of a kitten's life are critical not only to the weaning process from its mother's milk, but for the social interaction, and behavioral development. Kittens learn from their natural mothers that the world is a good place, and that humans are safe and comforting. It's strongly recommended that the kitten be at least 12 weeks old before bringing it home, as you can be fairly well assured that it has developed excellent litter box habits, is fully physically and mostly psychological weaned, and has probably been vaccinated at least twice. Many times people don't realize that when the kitten is given their first vaccination, usually at about 7-9 weeks old, this vaccine completely knocks out all the antibodies and protection left from the kitten's mother, and until the kitten receives his second vaccination, he is somewhat more vulnerable to contracting an illness. The second vaccination, given normally at about 12 weeks, is the one to which the kitten's own immune system actually mounts a strong defense, and the kitten is then protected for travel. Usually, the new owner provides the third vaccination at about 16 weeks of age. There may be occasions when it is actually in the best interest of the kitten to go to his new home sooner; such as when he is being ignored or neglected by his natural mother; he's fully weaned, and his new human family has more time and attention to devote to him than at the breeders. Under NO circumstances should a kitten ever leave his mother or the breeder at under 8 weeks of age.

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You'll need to have the following items on hand before bringing home your new kitten:

LITTERBOX, that is the right size for the age of the kitten. Avoid boxes that are too deep and thus might be difficult for your new kitten to climb into; low open pan style litterboxes are best for young kittens.

CAT LITTER for the litterbox…you might be surprised at how picky some kittens can be. Some cats prefer the very finely grained litter, and some prefer the coarser types. Don't give up if your kitten does not seem pleased at first…they will definitely let you know when you have hit upon the right mixture. Again, the breeder can let you know what the kitten is used to.

SCRATCHING POSTS (or some type of cat furniture). Scratching posts and cat trees are invaluable in your training your kitten to avoid harming your furniture. Scratching their claws is a healthy, natural instinct for a kitten and cat, and providing them with the right place to do that will keep you both happy. Be aware that some cats prefer rough surfaces like sisal rope…others go crazy for plain old carpet (the kind on your floor if you don't have a scratching post!!)

GROOMING TOOLS suitable for the breed of your kitten; such as brush and comb for a long-haired kitten/cat, or flea comb or special brush for short-haired cats. You'll also need clippers for their nails, and we don't recommend the "human" kind of scissors. Get the clippers made especially for cats, which you can find in quality pet stores. Trimming the kitten's nails should be a straightforward fact of life, and you certainly don't want to hurt the kitten by cutting into the "quick" or splitting the nails. You may want to talk to your veterinarian about a kitty toothbrush, also!!

FOOD AND WATER DISHES. Believe it or not, there is a difference even in the type of food and water bowls you provide for your kitten!! Certain types of plastic, wood, and even some types of ceramic bowls may contain tiny cracks that can harbor potentially harmful bacteria. Most professionals recommend using glass and stainless steel food and water bowls, and cleaning them regularly (the dishwasher is great!) See our article about Back to Basics: FOOD AND WATER.

FELIWAY COMFORT ZONE PLUG-INS for Cats. These plug-ins provide continuous feline pheromones in the air, which are very soothing and comforting to cats and kittens, and are odorless to people. Get one for every room; order refills each month. These will make a huge difference in keeping your household environment calm for kitty(ies).

TOYS, TOYS, TOYS!! Just as human babies love to play, so do kittens. It is their survival instinct and throughout their lives, kittens and cats emulate hunting in their play. Providing them with suitable toys helps to ensure they fulfill this need. You will need to be very selective in the type of toy as kittens do love to chew and nibble, and you need to be careful to avoid toys with small strings or beads that can be swallowed and stuck in the kitten's throat or intestinal tract. Toys don't have to be expensive…our baby Bengals love good ol' paper bags from the grocery store. My son Wes likes to attach 10 or more of these grocery bags together, cutting out holes as appropriate, to make "paper bag mazes" throughout our living room!! Some grocery paper bags now have carry handles, which should first be removed to avoid a kitty getting her head stuck in the loop. Plastic straws and the plastic rings from orange juice cartons are other favorites of our kittens.

PET CARRIER. You'll need to have a carrier for the safety of traveling with your kitten, and trips to the vet. The carrier should be large enough for the kitten to stand up in and turn around, and do remember that your kitten will not be little for long!! Choose a sturdy carrier with plenty of ventilation, that will still allow your kitten to stand up and turn around in when she is fully grown. We like the carriers that allow you to open them from the top.

HIGH QUALITY WET AND DRY KITTEN FOOD. Remember to check with the breeder and be sure you have the right, nutritious food on hand. Changes in diet and water, even litter and environment can cause minor diarrhea and other problems. We give all our kittens and cats bottled water…then we never have to worry about a different water source causing a problem. It doesn't hurt to pick up a few bottles of Pedialyte liquid to keep in the cupboard in case of dehydration problems that sometimes can sneak up on a kitten, especially when they are very young.

CAT BED. A nice cozy bed is a great idea for the new member of the family. Your kitten will soon know that this is her/his special place. Choose a bed that is well constructed and machine washable.

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Beware of some of the simple, everyday things currently taken for granted, yet when introducing a curious new kitten to the household, could spell disaster. Be sure to keep all sharp objects such as utensils, knives, razors, etc. safely in drawers or holders so they won't get stepped on or chewed. Remember that kittens and cats are attracted to warm areas, and washers and dryers are notorious temptations for furry warm sleeping bodies!! Toilet lids should always be kept down to avoid a kitten falling in and drowning. Watch out for rocking chairs and recliners, which can trap a kitten if you don't know they are underfoot. Household cleaners are poisonous to cats, and antifreeze in particular should be kept in a secured cabinet out of harm's (and kitty's) way.

Speaking of poison, cats naturally like to supplement their meat-eating diet with greens, and indoor cats will usually go after any houseplants that may be about. Be aware that many houseplants are poisonous to cats!! We at Foothill Felines add supplements to our Bengals' wet food to give them the needed nutrients from plants (nutrients that, in the wild, the cat would get from the digestive tracts of their prey.) Learn to enjoy silk plants, but remove the decorative moss that may line the silk plant containers - not only can this moss be dangerous to young kittens as far as them swallowing the thin mossy strands and choking, but this material has usually been extensively fumigated before shipping to avoid pest infestation. These chemicals and toxins may still be present in the moss and cause poisoning. You can also grow catnip and fresh grass indoors for your feline's vegetarian cravings. It's best not to keep real houseplants indoors when you have young kittens as it is unrealistic not to expect that they may want to chew on the plants themselves which may be poisonous, and/or play in the dirt.

Electrical cords are highly dangerous to kittens, yet seem to always attract them for nibbling and teething, which can cause electrocution. When purchasing new appliances such as vacuum cleaners, look for those that have cord retractors, and conceal all wires or encase them in special tubing available from computer and auto supply stores. Even wrapping exposed cords several times with heavy ply plastic tape is better than doing nothing.

If you live in an upstairs apartment, or your home has more than one story, always be careful of open windows…even if they have screens, cats and kittens are surprisingly strong and may push the screen out and fall out of the window.

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Kittens will explore every nook and cranny of your home!
6 week old kittens still need their mother & siblings --
this litter is playing underneath the dining table!


If you're concerned that you won't be able to spend as much time with your kitten as you would like, consider purchasing/adopting TWO!! Cats (and ESPECIALLY active breeds such as Bengals and Savannahs) are extremely social animals, and they need the stimulation and interaction with other felines and with their human family to feel secure, happy and loved. Be sure that you really do have the time available and are willing to commit to spending it with your new feline family member before actually bringing him or her home. Also, for younger adults hoping to add the companionship of a kitten to their lives, it is important to remember that a significant amount of people are allergic to cats, and that lifestyle changes and household moves can be very stressful for felines. Have a back-up plan in mind for what you will do if you suddenly find yourself in a new relationship with someone who doesn't get along with your kitty (or is allergic to them), and if a new job or career will bring frequent changes and moves into your life.

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When selecting your kitten, be sure that the kitten looks well-fed, with a slightly plump tummy, and the eyes should be clear with no watery discharge. Do not purchase/adopt a kitten younger than 10 weeks old, or you may have a more difficult time, especially if it's been awhile since you've been around young kittens. Check the environment carefully where the kitten came from to determine how well-kept and socialized the environment has been for the kitten. It is also very helpful to see and meet the parents of the kitten, whenever possible. The kitten's ears should be clean and pink, and the kitten should not be sniffling or sneezing. Also look out for bald, patchy places on the coat. A healthy kitten should be very alert, and curious, and after a possible initial period of shyness, should relax and exhibit a friendly, playful attitude towards you.

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(12 WEEKS)

(16 WEEKS)

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At birth, a kitten usually weighs approximately 3 ounces, and gains about a half an ounce a day of muscle, bone, organ development, and body systems.

Around the 7th to 14th day, the kitten's eyes open (the eyes may open separately, and one eye may open as much as a week later than the first eye), and they are fully functional at 2 weeks of age. In the second or third week, the kitten's outer ears straighten, and by the third week, the kitten begins to crawl, gradually learning to straighten her/his legs.

By the fourth or fifth week, the kitten has developed enough curiosity as well as mobility skills to really begin to explore her/his environment. The mother cat is beginning to encourage and teach her kittens how to use the litter box. Make sure that there are several litter boxes available throughout the area where the kittens are, that are small enough for your kitten to easily climb in and out of (small cake pans work quite well for these first training litter boxes!)

By the sixth week, the kitten can retract its claws (which have previously been extended!) and has a very keen sense of smell and sight. At this time, the kitten will also start serious playing and grooming, although it may struggle to keep its balance at first!! This is also the time when the baby teeth have come in, and is a clear signal when the kitten is ready for a solid food diet. Get the kitten used to chomping down on heavy duty plastic drinking straws for their biting and teething needs, and be sure to teach the kitten the difference between toys and straws and human hands -- toys and straws are for biting, NOT human hands or body parts (which are reserved for giving and receiving love).

At 8 weeks of age, kittens will start to lose the natural immunities they have received from their mother's milk. This is the best time to begin vaccinating them, and will allow their own immune systems to mount a proper response to the vaccinations.

At around 10 to 12 weeks of age, the blue kitten eye color gradually settles towards the permanent eye color; however, this can vary tremendously with each kitten, and their full eye color pigmentation may not be achieved until the kitten is from 1 to 2 years old.

At four months of age, the kitten may begin "teething" again as she will begin to lose her baby teeth and grow her permanent ones, a process which will continue until the age of eight months. Plastic drinking straws make great, inexpensive teething toys and training aids to teach kitty that straws and toys are for biting, and human hands are for giving and receiving love!!

Kittens can officially be called "teenagers" from the age of 6 months to 1 year, and by the eighth month, these teens are sexually mature and will have behaviors such as calling, mounting and possibly spraying (even females can spray when they are kept whole) - so it is very important that you will have already had your female spayed or your male neutered at around 4-6 months old - BEFORE they become sexually mature and start those hormonal behaviors.  P.S. Check out our "FELINE FUN FACTS" for more interesting information about feline development!!

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Look Here!  RESOURCES Look Here!

While there are many resources available to you, we are pleased to offer the following on-line services through our website for your convenience:

Foothill Felines uses NuVet Feline Nutritional Supplement. Click here for our order code and more product and ordering information.

~ Click on image above to order this uniquely powerful nutritional supplement for felines at our Foothill Felines breeder discount. Used and recommended by Foothill Felines, for vibrant results with all ages, weights and breeds of cats. Developed by scientists, veterinarians and formulators to enhance the health and lives of cats, this unique Nu- Vet supplement contains many important minerals, antioxidants, enzymes and vitamins INCLUDING taurine, calcium, blue green algae, brewer's yeast, and much more.



~ Click on links above to order these exceptionally calming products for felines. Used and recommended by Foothill Felines!! Wonderful for cats of all ages, weights, and breeds of cats. Contains natural cat pheromones for stress relief and eliminating need for cats and kittens to mark or exhibit other unwanted behaviors.

VIDEO CATNIP A wonderful, 25 minute video tape (and the 2 hour DVD version) that remains the best and most popular entertainment video for felines made!! Terrific, lively entertainment for your kittens AND adult cats!! CLICK HERE.

HELP IN NAMING YOUR KITTEN OR CAT! We have hundreds and hundreds of great name ideas right here, with more being added daily!! CLICK HERE.

BOOKS on Cat & Kitten Selection; Specific Breed Information; Health Care; Managing Multiple Cat Households; Understanding Feline Behavior; Cat Breeding; Humor; Wonderful Feline Stories, and MUCH MORE!! CLICK HERE.

TERRIFIC CUSTOM CAT FURNITURE from two unique and artistic manufacturers. Select from whimsical pieces from 4 to 10 feet tall that look like real trees, to solid wood creations, to special cat trees just for kittens ... each one is hand made by the artist just for you. CLICK HERE.

TOYS!! TOYS!! See which toys our Bengals at Foothill Felines pre-furr!! Unique toys you won't find in regular stores for kittens and cats (including toys made from real fishing flies), carefully selected for safety and enjoyment!! CLICK HERE.

CAT WALKING JACKETS!! Simply the best cat harnesses made, for leash-training your kitty, or helping keep her secure when traveling with you. Experience what hundreds of thousands of cat owners are raving about!! CLICK HERE.

LITTERBOX QUESTIONS ANSWERED HERE!! The more you understand about your kitten's natural instincts and marking behaviors, the better you and she will be able to live together in harmony!! CLICK HERE.

SCAT MATS & OTHER PET TRAINING AIDS ... Safe and Effective Electronic Training Aids for Pets!! CLICK HERE.

PLANNING ON SHOWING? your new kitten or cat?? CLICK HERE.

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Simply the best made, best priced cat exercise
wheel on the market, the Toy Go Round wheel!

~ Click on image above to learn about the incredible new exercise wheels for cats; the Toy-Go-Round wheels!! They're simply the best designed, best built and best priced wheels we've found anywhere!!






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