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home : features : pet corner August 29, 2016


5/1/2009 4:56:00 PM
Kittens 101
The Verde Valley Humane Society “Pet of the Week” is “Leo,” a beautiful Chow mix. Leo is a well behaved boy with a manners and love for all. Leo’s adoption fee has been discounted by $40 thanks to a generous donation from Sparky and Dewey.
The Verde Valley Humane Society “Pet of the Week” is “Leo,” a beautiful Chow mix. Leo is a well behaved boy with a manners and love for all. Leo’s adoption fee has been discounted by $40 thanks to a generous donation from Sparky and Dewey.

Sandra Trautman
Verde Valley Humane Society


Last week I talked about needing foster parents for the multitude of kittens and puppies that will be heading our way.

Many of you have been in to fill out the paperwork and are excited about getting started with your babies.

I can't tell you how eager we are that so many of you are interesting in fostering these infants outside of a shelter environment.

Our Kitten 101 class that will also pertain to puppies will be held on Tuesday, May 5th at 6:00. It will be held here at the shelter located at 1502 W. Mingus.

This class is necessary to have a successful experience. No it won't guarantee that everything will turn out perfect, but it will give you the necessary information to make you well informed as to how to care for the babies.

People keep asking me, "When will the kitten season begin?" Oh it has, but it isn't in full swing yet. It won't be for another month or so.

For the next few weeks you will need to practice your skills in patience. Soon kittens will come in all colors, all sizes and each have a different personality all their own.

Being a foster parent will give you good insight as to what living with a cat is all about, just in case you are thinking about adopting a kitten.

It doesn't matter if you are going to foster or adopt, there is no fair way to put it other than a kitten can be a challenge.

They are going to need attention, lots of love and some training. Don't ever assume that because it is a cat that they can totally fend for themselves.

These precious creatures also need care, love and attention. They also need a human to help make their life fun and stimulating.

The good news is, the rewards you will receive from your kitten are worth all of the challenges that can come up.

All you have to do is teach your new furry friend the rules of the house. It will just take some of your time mixed with tons of patience.

Your hard work will pay off. As your cat matures using the skills you have given him he will be much more self sufficient.

No, that doesn't mean that at this stage he won't need attention. It just means he'll know the rules.

Even foster babies will need socialized and learn some rules of the house. The whole idea of fostering is to get the "kids" ready to live in a home without complications.

Now remember, puppies and kittens won't have manners until you help them out a little. It's not a bad thing; we had to do the same thing with our children.

When you get young animals, I believe that it's important to know sort of what to expect happen when you take your new kitten home.

It's going to be fun and exciting, plus you have just guaranteed your family a lifetime of laughs and love.

Now I would like to share some of the stages of life you never see when you adopt from VVHS. As a foster parent you will experience many of the stages you have never seen before.

Our kittens are placed for adoption after they are weaned from their mother and eating on their own, so things have already been handled during the "newborn stage."

I am also sharing what to expect during the stages you will see after adopting your new best friend.

The first six weeks of life

A kitten of this age depends totally on its mother and should be with her at all times. They are under the constant watchful eye of mom.

Many times this is when a foster parent is needed so desperately. The kittens come in without a mother and need someone to replace her to the best of their ability.

Up until the age of two weeks, these tiny creatures can't see or hear. They can smell somewhat, which is the way they locate their mothers to nurse.

These animals at VVHS are isolated from the public during this period. They need the special care that only mom can provide under ideal circumstances.

At birth kittens normally weigh in between 75-120 grams. By the end of the first month, they will gain about 400 grams.

Socialization should begin during this period of growth. The level of comfort that a cat has with humans is formed at this time.

By the age of six weeks contact your vet to see what age is normally recommended to begin vaccinations, plus a health checkup is in order. You will also find out at what age your vet will want to spay/neuter your kitten.

Month two

"Social play" starts and now the fun begins. Rough housing with littermates, biting at mom's tail and ears, pouncing and hiding all become part of the daily routine.

At this time, you will begin to see the predator skills that come natural to our feline friends.

Hunting will become a part of playtime for your new friend. Hide some toys under a stand or behind the couch and observe what you new friend already knows how to do.

Try this, turn off the television, unfold an empty paper sack and put it close to your feline friend.

Have a seat in your favorite chair and you will see more entertainment than any show you would ever watch.

It is very important to socialize and stimulate your kitten during this time. He will learn quickly that humans are friends.

Month four

By now your new friend may be in the need of another vaccination against diseases. Please keep with the schedule from your vet.

Your feline friend has also been to the vet to be spayed or neutered. This prevents bad habits, such as spraying, in the months to come.

Kitty is very inquisitive at this age and is very apt to get into trouble. Try to keep things that may harm him out of his way.

Have you ever walked through the door after work to see that he can "TP" the house as well as any teenager can do?

It's important to continue the human contact on a daily basis. Hold him, brush him, and touch his mouth to teach him that he can trust you.

You will notice that his eye-paw coordination has greatly improved. It's important that you provide him with things to keep him entertained. Words of advice would be, if you don't he will.

Try offering him one of the cat fishing poles with the feather on the end, he'll play forever.

You'll find a suction cup at one end, so you don't have to be the constant form of entertainment. Sit back and enjoy.

Eight months

By this time you have noticed that your kitten's frequency and intensity of playtime has diminished somewhat.

At this time you incorporated an abundance of human interaction and stimulating things for your best friend to do.

Your kitten is now also bigger and more agile. He's very capable of getting himself into all types of trouble.

Remember to reprimand him only when you catch him in the act of doing things such as drinking from your coffee cup.

Never strike him, as he will become afraid of you and other humans. Make sure you reward him when he does things to please you.

Eye-paw coordination is very developed at this stage and he will be a great hunter.

Jumping will be one of his favorite things to do, so valuables should be placed out of his reach. This is where the extra patience comes in.

An open fishbowl on a shelf can become one of his most interesting things in your home. A bowl of water with moving objects is like a game in an arcade to a cat.

It may sound strange, but I would suggest putting a cover on the bowl while manners are being learned. There is nothing better to a kitten than a moving object.

"Happy Birthday," your feline friend is 12 months old.

Now your kitten looks like an adult cat to you. Don't let his looks fool you; he is still growing emotionally and physically.

He will actively seek things that stimulate him and will also remain very curious. He may look all grown up, but he's still a baby in many ways.

A scratching post will help with the desire to claw and climb, but he will need other toys to keep him active.

Keep your "best friend" busy and happy. Provide the human interaction that he needs, feed him a healthy diet and take him for his regular vet visits.

In return you will receive a lifetime of laughs and companionship from your new best friend.

Even if you never decide to adopt, being a foster parent will stay in your heart forever.

You will never have to give back the memories, pictures or the soft spot for the helpless animals in this world.

Are you wondering if I have forgotten about the information about the new building and how you can help?

If you know me very well you already know that I absolutely have not forgotten anything about the new facility!

The only thing holding back the column with information for you is just a few more costs for product. It's coming, I promise!

Everyone at VVHS would like to thank the Verde Valley Dog Agility Club for including us in their event last weekend.

We had a fantastic time and met many wonderful people. The donations that came in for our Building Fund were fantastic!

Just one check alone from the club was for $1,000 with almost that much more coming in from their fees and raffles.

Thank you isn't enough to say to this spectacular, caring group of people, but thank you so much.

With their help and help from others our new building will be completed before the New Year.


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