8 to 12 Weeks | 3 to 6 Months | 7 to 12 Months
Leave the “kitty” table behind
Keep feeding your feline her special kitten formula until her first birthday and you transition to adult food. Again ask your veterinarian for the best natural and high-quality food options now that your kitten is a cat.
Smell has a lot to do with your cat’s appetite. If she can’t smell her food, she won’t eat, which is why she may turn up her nose at cold leftovers straight from the fridge.
Tip: Heat refrigerated leftovers in microwave for 5 or 10 seconds before serving.
Also, watch her health and have your vet treat any upper respiratory infection your kitten gets. If her nose is stuffed up, she may not want to eat even her favorite food.
Fun Fact: Though pups probably have the best smellers, those little velvet cat noses have millions of odor-detecting cells, too!
Staying happy, healthy
Cats are stoic; they’ll go to great lengths to hide signs of injury or illness. Even though your cat will see her vet at least once a year, it’s best to train your eagle’s eye on her body and behavior to catch any issues before they go from minor to life-threatening.
Watch the signs from your cat: Sleep-a-holic kitty: Healthy cats sleep a lot (16 to 18 hours/day); get to know your cat’s sleeping patterns and if she’s snoozing when she usually plays, ignores affection or a favorite toy, her lethargy might signal illness.
Eating, drinking changes: If your cat gets diabetes, she’ll drink lots of water. If she has dental issues, she might suddenly stop chewing her favorite kibble. Track how much your cat normally eats and drinks so you can gauge any changes.
Urination problems: Urinating more, less or not at all, or doing their business outside of the litter box can all be signs your cat may be ill. See your vet immediately, especially if your male cat is urinating abnormally.
Behavioral issues: Acting aggressively can be a sign of pain and injury. Cats will also naturally hide when they’re sick so watch their behavior closely.
Weight loss/gain: Look for protruding ribs and or the development of a pouch. Changes in weight can be difficult to detect because they’re usually gradual so get used to grooming your cat and feeling her body weight and condition so you can sense when there’s a change.
Grooming changes: If your cat’s fur begins to look gnarly or matted, it might mean she’s not feeling well enough to groom, something she usually loves doing. Too much preening could also mean she has a skin infection, fleas or is in pain.
By now, you should have a healthy exercise plan in place to help your cat from becoming obese, which can extend the quality of her overall health. Always check with your vet to see if your cat has any existing issues that would preclude exercise; they can recommend healthy activities specific to your cat’s lifestyle needs.
Tips for healthy play:
Cats love cardboard and paper; leave boxes and paper bags for them to pounce on
Play chase with toys, balls, feathered sticks, flashlight pointers (NOTE: Never shine the pointer in your cat’s eyes)
Get a cat tree or condo and use catnip as an incentive to promote climbing
Have a tall scratch post for her to stretch and scratch on
Set up play dates with other four-legged pals; consider adopting a sibling cat or even pup
Tricks and low-cal treats: Train your cat to run to you from across the room or climb up her cat tree when you shake a bag of yummy treats (that she’ll soon get a taste of as a reward).
Time to switch litter?
If your kitten’s been happy (read: uses) her litter box every day then you probably shouldn’t change litter brands. If you’d like to try a more eco-friendly brand, be sure to transition your cat slowly by combining old and new litters until she adjusts.
It’s not unusual for cats to outgrow their litter and become averse to using the box they’ve been using for months.
Here’s how to tell if your cat craves new litter:
Two of her paws are in the box, two are out
She doesn’t dig to bury her waste
She steps out of the box, shakes her feet
She scratches the floor or carpet outside her box
She goes near the box, but outside of it
First Birthday Come And Gone?
We hope it was a happy one with many healthy treats to celebrate your first year with your best pal.