SOUTHERN PAWS & CLAWSHome of Havapoos, Portipoos and Ragdoll/Himalayans
Taking Your Southern Paws and Claws Kitten Home
Here are some suggestions/recommendations for caring for your new KITTEN:
- If going forward, you choose to feed your kitten a different food than what is currently being fed by Southern Paws and Claws, you need to ease them into the new food. This is done by mixing your preferred food with the food we have been feeding to alleviate any digestion or intestine issues.
- Your new Ragdoll kitten doesn’t mature until one-year, and normally takes another full year to fill out. Because of that, it’s recommended to feed high-protein canned food [over hard food] because Ragdolls need a high amount of protein to thrive, and it is easier to get that high level of protein through canned food. You can supplement with dry food, but for the Ragdoll Group it is recommended their diet be primarily canned food.
- Look at the label on your canned food to best figure out the amount to feed your kitten. Usually, the label will indicate how much food your kitten needs a day depending on its weight and age.
- If you are still unsure, you can rely on using a body condition score chart to help once your kitten reaches adulthood; as well as your veterinarian is always a good resource.
- And, again while your new bundle of joy is a kitten, it is best to leave out the suggested amount of wet and dry kitten food, and once your kitten has finished its food, give it a little more.
- Avoid food with a lot of grains as ingredients for your Ragdoll. Grain-free is best, as too much grain can affect a Ragdoll’s overall health.
- Keep fresh water available at all times.
- Use deeper solid stable bowls as there are some kittens that like to play ‘in the water bowl’.
- We do not recommend feeding your kittens prepared, store-bought treats. However, if you decide to, please make sure they are prepared in the United States.
LITTER–BOX and TRAINING
- Your kitten will have been introduced to a litter box
- However, when you bring your kitten home, it will have to be re-introduced to the litter box within your home. Keep it in a somewhat open space, like a closet that’s always cracked open, so your Ragdoll/Himalayan can use the litter box when necessary.
- Ragdoll types are a bigger breed, so opt for a larger, deeper litter box.
- A covered litter box sometimes doesn’t work for this large breed. It is the ‘cat’ that decides this.
- As with food, it is best to use the same litter that we are using at Southern Paws and Claws to start…and if you prefer a different litter, it will have to be introduced slowing by mixing the two types together.
- Due to the Ragdoll/Himalayan kitten’s long coat, they need to be groomed regularly. Use a slicker brush, brushing the full length of the fur. And, if you do this regularly, the coat should brush out smoothly without a lot of mats and/or tangles.
- Southern Paws and Claws recommends that when you take your kitten home that you brush it each day to get them familiar with you, now, completing this practice. Because these type of kittens do not mind handling, the kitten should be tolerant and become familiar with you doing the brushing very quickly. Your new kitty may be nervous at first, so reassure by talking in a soft voice to the kitten as you are brushing.
- Ragdolls/Himalayan cats are VERY clean about themselves. So, they do not need to be bathed very often. But, if you believe you will be wanting to bathe your adult cat on occasion, you need to start the practice when they are a kitten. Here is a good step by step list to follow:
- Start bathing your kitten, or rather rinsing it, using lukewarm water. You want to create a pleasant experience so use lukewarm or warm water for just a couple of minutes without applying any shampoo.
- Before starting this with your kitten, always make sure you have a bath towel and dryer ready. When you dry your kitten [and even when it matures to be a cat], there are some things you should ensure:
- Do not burn your cat with too high a temperature.
- Do not frighten your cat with too much noise. You can find quiet dryers especially at pet shops.
- Don’t direct the flow of air towards sensitive areas, such as the eyes, nose and inner ears.
- Once your Ragdoll cat is an adult [and has gradually become accustomed to having a ‘rinse’, and everything that comes with it], it is time to apply a special shampoo for cats. Avoid those containing parabens, since they are usually the worst quality and contain the most amount of chemicals. Never use shampoo meant for humans on your pet. Try not to get soap in your cat’s eyes and/or inside the ears. After rinsing your cat, dry it thoroughly.
- The inside of the ears can be wiped gently with a damp cloth if you notice they are not clean. BUT, be careful that droplets of water do NOT go down into the ears. The ears need to be clean to avoid any ear infections.
- Follow your veterinarian’s recommendation for your kitten/cat’s teeth. They should be examined by your vet yearly [or if you notice something abnormal about them like discolored teeth or bleeding gums], which is normally done when they are in for their annual exam.
- You may need to trim your kitten/cat’s nails if it is not very active or doesn’t use scratching posts often. If so, you may need to trim the claws once every few weeks.
- When trimming the claws, [using a pet specific nail trimmer], make sure that you only trim the WHITE tips, not the pink [‘meat’] parts that you will see further down the nail.
- This could also be done by your veterinarian or a groomer.
- When your kitten becomes an adult, it is very important to continue getting them some exercise. Pretty much kittens exercise on their own, but strive to play WITH your kitten about 20 minutes a day, so that as the kitten matures you can still exercise it by that 20 minutes of direct playing. The Ragdoll breed group seems to take a fancy to balls, and may play fetch if you start working with your kitten soon enough.
BREED SPECIFIC POINTS
- Although your kitten comes with a certified health certificate, when your kitten matures to a year-old, it is recommended to have your veterinarian do bloodwork. The Ragdoll group are prone to certain concerns as they mature, and early detection is key to treating these conditions effectively. Your vet will use this blood work up to rule out breed-specific health concerns.
- It is not uncommon for cats under the Himalayan group to have bladder and kidney concerns.
- This group can, also, have heart conditions due to their size. Again, if this is caught early on in your cat’s life, your vet can slow the progression of the heart condition with treatment.
Actions and Items we suggest for you to do and have on hand prior to your kitten coming home are:
- Prior to picking up your kitten, you’ll want to do some ‘kitten-proofing’ at home – because kittens are notoriously curious and mischievous. You will want to tie up or put away:
- Plants – some plants are very toxic to kittens and puppies
- Cords on blinds or curtains
- Electrical cords
- Any low hanging [dangling] decorations – the key word is ‘dangling’.
- If it is the Holiday Season, be careful about the Christmas tree
- If you are already a home with a cat, prepare a room where your kitten can reside for two weeks. This is strongly recommended, so that your kitten can acquire the smells of YOUR house. This will help your resident kitten/cat accept your newest ‘bundle of fur’.
- Importantly….the litter pan
- Scratching post(s) – preferably made from cardboard or rope.
- Cat tower(s) are good as it is natural for a kitten/cat to climb, jump and it can aid toward that behavior not happening with your home décor.
- A bed for your new kitty. Kitties like empty boxes with a small towel in the bottom of them, or you can always buy a round cat bed. Kitties love to sleep in round beds.
- Carrier – to put your kitten in to bring home, and then for any other times you travel with your kitten/cat.
- Some toys – the Ragdoll group typically like size appropriate balls, and kitten size appropriate stuffed toys.