Perhaps the most endearing characteristic about kittens is their propensity for play; every kitten seems to be hard-wired to appear especially cute and to play unabashedly. It isnt until youve been awakened at midnight with little kitty claws batting at your toes, however, that you begin to realize the very real need kittens have for play. Its not just something they do to fill the time; they will set their alarms two hours early to ensure that they have plenty of play practice time! And, just like any small child, if a kitten is not given plenty of appropriate ways to play, he will find even more inappropriate ways. Dr. Julia Albright, Resident in Animal Behavior at Cornell Universitys College of Veterinary Medicine, explains why play is essential for kittens. "It provides social interaction, exercise and appropriate expenditure of energy. Cats are very good at finding inappropriate means of expending exuberance (i.e. attacking your leg!) if not given object play. It also allows them to learn bite inhibition; orphaned kittens are often very aggressive and bite very hard as adults." Dr. Albright relates that, "Play involves components of adult behavior such as hunting (stalking, pouncing, biting, etc.) and is hypothesized to be practicing of these skills." So it is extremely important to provide appropriate outlets for a kittens seemingly endless desire to play if you want a well-adjusted addition to your family.
Consider this: One cat and her offspring can produce a whopping 420,000 cats in just seven years. Yikes, thats a lot of cats. Each year, from April to November, hundreds of thousands of kittens are born - often to feral or stray moms that eke out a meager existence on our city streets, in the suburbs and in rural areas across America. Without human intervention, most of these newborns will die or, at best, lead short, miserable lives. The moms that are not killed by cars, other animals or disease, will repeatedly become pregnant, adding to the already crushing pet overpopulation problem. Aside from ensuring that your own cats are spayed and neutered, consider fostering a litter of homeless kittens. Sadly, many animal shelters dont have the staff or resources available to care for kittens that are ill or too young for adoption. Newborn kittens that have lost their mom must be bottle-fed around the clock and their tiny bladders and bowels must be expressed on a regular basis. Animal shelters that have kitten foster programs in place need dedicated people who are willing to welcome kittens into their home and nurture them until they are old enough to be placed for adoption.
For cat lovers, few things are more pleasurable to witness than the astounding progress that a kitten makes in terms of physical development during the first year of its life. Typically weighing about three and a half ounces at birth, a kitten - if properly fed - will gain as much as a half-ounce per day; its birthweight will double in the first week; and it will have tripled its birthweight by the time it is three weeks old. As the weeks pass, the little creatures rate of growth rate will gradually slow, but it will reach its adult size by the it is 10 or 12 months old. Passage through the first year - transitioning from total dependency on its mothers milk to the cutting of its baby teeth and its introduction to an adult diet - can present a formidable challenge to a young cat. Throughout this period, during which the kitten's weight increases 50-fold, it can use all the loving care and attention it can get from its owner, especially in meeting its nutritional needs.
The ancient Egyptians revered her in the form of Bastet, the feline goddess of fertility and protector of women and children. Other ancient peoples kept small statuettes of her with suckling kittens throughout their homes to bring good luck. Modern science has studied her, attempting to explain her ways. Who is she?
It is well known that few can resist the winsome charm of the teeny, tiny kitten. He is loving, playful, downright adorable and a wonderful companion. I remember, as a child, bringing home two beautiful kittens.
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Question: I am a veterinary technician at an all-cat clinic. We have a healthy kitten at our hospital that has been here since he...