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7 tips for new cat owners


By Theresa Spohn

Like many new cat owners, I had no idea what to expect when we suddenly had two 10-week old kittens in the house. We arrived home with Romulus, the orange tabby, and his black and white sister, Remus, to discover they were like most adolescents, always testing the limits. Here are seven tips that will hopefully help you with your kitties.


1. Teething

Kitten’s teeth are formed by their fourth week. But that doesn’t prevent them from wanting to test out their tiny teeth on everything they can find. Ours decided the doorbell cord was the best chew toy in the house. Each time we discovered the doorbell wasn’t working, my husband would splice the cord and put it back together. That worked fine until he ran out of cord.


Romulus also chewed the phone cord. We had a dial tone, but the electronic part of the phone was kaput. So much for call display. One evening I was sitting on the couch using my work laptop. Romulus was lying beside me, when I discovered the mouse wasn’t working because he had quietly chewed through its cord. Thankfully, I had an understanding boss.


TIP: Keep all cords out of your kitten’s way by permanently covering all cords.



2. The Dresser

Many nights I would come home from work and the nine drawers of my dresser would all be pulled out onto the floor, each on top of the other. I would find Remus sitting in one of the top drawers. She used her claws to pull the thin metal handles. I never was sure how she kept them all from landing on top of her.


TIP: Always remember the value of a closed door. Kittens don’t need access to every room, especially when you are not home.



3. Windows and Curtains

Our kittens were always climbers, especially Remus. My husband would often pluck our meowing black and white kitten from the top of the living room window screen. She could get up but would have no way of getting back down.She and Romulus, would also climb up the curtains in the back den. Any overnight guests, sleeping on the pull out couch below, would wake up startled, with small felines peering down at them.


TIP: Keep an eye on your kittens and when possible, limit any potential climbing opportunities in your house. Remember they love to climb up put can rarely get down again.



4. The Closet

One night we lost the orange tabby. My husband was upstairs in the den and swore he heard meowing coming from the bedroom directly below. I looked in the closet to see a scared little kitten perched on top of the closely hung hangers.


TIP: Always double-check cupboards to make sure your feline is not inside before closing the door.



5. The Bag

One night the kittens got in a tussle while playing with a string-handled, paper shopping bag. Remus went tearing down the stairs. Romulus gave chase but had gotten the bag handle caught around his neck. The terrible racket it made terrified them both. Romulus managed to rid himself of the bag and they spent the rest of the evening under the old oil drum in the basement.


TIP: By cutting the string handles of a paper shopping bag your cats can safely play with this cost free “toy.” When letting your cats play with any bags, especially the plastic kind, supervise them and remove them from the kitty’s reach when you are not around.



6. The Bulletin Board

Remus decided anything on the bulletin board in the kitchen, just above the shelf with the cookbooks, had to go. She would get up on the shelf and systematically pull out every tack with her claws, getting up on her hind legs to get the higher placed items. She’d also use her teeth on any of the tacks that were hard to pull out.


TIP: Kitty-proof your house and keep small, possible choking hazards out of reach. We decided to move the bulletin board to where it was no longer accessible by climbing felines.

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