Thursday, 25 August 2011

Notes for buyers of Vieuxtemps kittens

This is the information we hand out to the buyers of our kittens:

Thank you for choosing a Vieuxtemps kitten!  I would like you to understand that you are buying a “package” which means you are always welcome to ring or email me with questions at any time, and if you ever need help I will do my best to provide it.  I would like to stress that should you have any problems whatsoever I’d like to know – and if in future you cannot keep your Vieuxtemps cat, please tell me first and I will assist in rehoming.

Your kitten has been reared on a variety of top quality foods, with the mainstay being Iams Hairball (dry) and Lily’s Kitchen organic food which can be bought on-line.  I always give away some food when the kitten leaves home.  This dry food should be available at all times along with a constant supply of fresh water (not milk).  I recommend stainless steel or porcelain bowls, not plastic.  In addition, you can give your kitten cans or sachets of Hills Science Diet, fresh white fish, cooked boneless chicken and other quality foods of your choice including any canned foods that list really good quality ingredients.  (Tesco, Sainsbury and ‘Pets at Home’ do some nice ones with only chicken/meat or fish.) However the basic dried food and water mentioned above is all the kitten really needs, and is great for teeth and gums, so other things should be considered as treats.  Adult food entirely should be given from the age of 8-12 months (depending on how fat or thin your Forest Cat is!).  My adults eat raw day-old chicks twice a week, and you might or might not want to try that! (It’s very good for them.)

At first, packets of Iams and Lily’s Kitchen food may seem expensive if you are used to feeding cheaper supermarket cans, but remember you are not paying for the added water of the cans, and there are better quality ingredients.  If you have a ‘Pets at Home’ supermarket near you, that often has bargains, or you can try buying Iams in normal supermarkets.  I find the Hairball Iams very good as it contains healthy fibre.

Please also make sure that a litter tray and scratching post are available at all times.  I find litter ‘pearls’ are super at reducing odour, and very easy to use (eg Bob Martin or City Cat which you can get from Tesco, Asda and Pets at Home).  Catsan litter is good too.  On the kitten’s first day, restrict him/her to just one room with everything s/he needs so that s/he is not overwhelmed.  It is better to block areas that the kitten can hide under/behind and remember to keep toilet seats, washing machines and windows etc carefully closed.  If introducing him/her to existing pets, please do so sensitively and very gradually and always be present until they have made friends.  This can take from hours to weeks but is always successful in the end.  It helps to make a fuss of your older pets so they don’t feel usurped.  Although many people buy their cat a bed it’s not strictly necessary – a cardboard box is often preferred and also makes a good plaything, with strategically cut holes.

The kitten has had full inoculations (flu, enteritis, leukaemia) so will not need these renewed until a year hence.   Please do keep up the inoculations, as they are very important!  You may want to consider pet insurance, especially if your cat is to go outside in future.  I provide cover from Pet Plan for the first four weeks in the new home – the most vulnerable time in a kitten’s life.  After that, shop around to see which insurance suits you best. In any case keep your kitten indoors for the first few months at least.  S/he’s only a baby, even though s/he seems so competent.

I always neuter the boys before they leave home; girls should be spayed at around five months.

Your kitten has also been microchipped, which means that they may be returned to you if they stray.  You will receive documentation from the microchip central agency in a few weeks.  They have been wormed with Panacur at 7 weeks and Drontal at 11 weeks.  It is a good idea to give them a Drontal tablet once every 3-4 months, just to be on the safe side.  I always give kittens a back-of-the-neck Stronghold anti-flea treatment just before they leave home. (These can be obtained from your vet.)  If you continue with this every 6 weeks or so, you will never be troubled by fleas, and it’s easy, so do try to remember to do that, or switch to another make as advised by your vet.  However over-the-counter preparations for fleas or worms from general pet shops do not always work well.

Norwegian Forest Cats are both sensitive and sensible cats and are passionate about those they love.  They are robust and hopefully will give you trouble-free pleasure for many years to come.  To groom, I suggest using a metal comb (a longer-toothed flea comb type) and go over the coat once a week.  In the main moulting time, as spring approaches, combing every day will save excess hair in the home and the cat’s stomach.  Mostly they can look after their own coats.

I hope you enjoy your Vieuxtemps kitten as much as I have.  And please remember to let me know if there are any queries – I’d love to keep in touch for as many years as you want!  (Adult photos would be much appreciated so I can check on my lines’ development and I would also like details of their health record.)  Above all, I would like to emphasise once again that if you need to rehome your cat for any reason at any time, do please tell me first as I will help.

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