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Adopting a Kitten? Make it a Double!

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Kittens Learn From Each Other

If you’ve ever been around kittens you know they are on the move and into everything. Kittenhood is such an important time of learning about emerging skills. When jumping, the kitten is learning about how to gauge distances. When walking along narrow objects, the kitten is learning about balance. This time in a kitten’s life that looks to us to be mere play or curiosity is actually an important part of kitten education.  There are so many lessons taking place as kittens stalk, play, leap, climb, tumble, use their claws, practice posturing, etc. Since they also learn by observation, a pair of kittens will help each other through this education. This applies to everything from using the litter box to what objects are safe to land on and what ones aren’t. A more inquisitive kitten may help a more reluctant kitten to blossom.

Kittens and Life Enrichment

I spend so much time talking with my clients about environmental enrichment and the importance of providing a home environment that encourages playtime, exploration and security. For a kitten, the ability to have a companion for playtime can be one of the best forms of life enrichment. Let’s face it, you have to work and spend time away from home and a little kitten can get lonely and even scared. Many people are under the false impression that cats are solitary and don’t want companionship but they do have a social structure and most truly benefit and thrive when they have a feline buddy.

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The companionship two kittens can provide each other may help prevent future behavior problems from boredom or separation anxiety. Very often, the bond between two cats who have grown up together becomes very strong and special. Watching two long-time cat companions curled up together as they nap in the afternoon sun is a precious sight.

Cost and Care of Kittens

After the initial kitten vaccinations, the veterinary costs taper off in most cases. You’ll most likely just be dealing with routine yearly appointments, until it’s time to spay or neuter. Many veterinary clinics offer multipet discounts as well so be sure and check that out to save even more money. You may even be able to adopt kittens who have already had most, if not all of their kitten vaccinations.

With kittens, you’ll initially just have the expense of one litter box until they grow bigger and then you’ll add a second box. Scratching posts aren’t expensive and if you’re handy, you can even make one for your kittens.  When it comes to food, even as kittens grow, you won’t have the same food expense as you would if you adopted puppies, depending upon the dog breed. Large dogs can go through lots of food. Cats, even the largest breeds, won’t require that kind of food budget.

When it comes to toys and cat furniture, your biggest expense will be a cat tree (I highly recommend that you get one) and you’d have that expense regardless of whether you adopted one kitten or two. And if you’re at all familiar with cats, you know that some of the best cat furniture are empty cardboard boxes. My children made a cat condo by using duct tape to connect several cardboard boxes. They cut holes in the boxes and created a fun kitty playground. Simple and very cheap.

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When it comes to care, such as grooming, trimming nails, and so on, if you start training them to accept the process while they’re young, then the process will be very quick once they become adults. Train your kittens to enjoy being touched and handled and it’ll make life much easier down the road should you ever have to administer medication when they’re older. It’ll also enable you to do nail trims at home. The key is to start the training early, be consistent and be gentle. Make it a quick, fun experience that ends with a treat or other reward.

It’s Easier Than You Think

Whenever people ask for my advice about getting a kitten, they may be looking for me to have a recommendation on breed, sex or personality type. Instead, my best tip is to open your heart up to two kittens. You’ll be glad you did.

Need More Information?

If you’re new to the world of kittens, here’s my New Kitten Checklist

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For more information on cat behavior and training, refer to the articles on our website and the best-selling books by Pam Johnson-Bennett. If you have a question about your cat’s behavior or health, contact your veterinarian. This article is not intended as a medical diagnosis nor is it a replacement for your cat’s regular veterinary care. This article is for general information purposes only.

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