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Home Eminent Columnists Amala Akkineni

Amala Akkineni

Amala Akkineni

Amala Akkineni, a name that is now synonymous with animal welfare. A gentle, kind and warm human being, she is always there for the needy animals and birds; beings which are often neglected. Thanks to her team of dedicated, animal-loving people; a considerable difference has been made in the world of animal welfare around the state and especially so, in the city of Hyderabad. The co-founder of Blue Cross of Hyderabad, a registered non-profit animal welfare organisation, here she talks about things close to her heart.

For the love of cats and kittens!

This is the second and concluding part in a series of two articles on How to take care of a cat and kittens. The first part of this article was featured in the December 2013 issue.

For the love of cats and kittens!

Feeding

Always feed a new kitten the same food it has been used to. A sudden change of diet combined with the stress of adapting to a new home can cause stomach upsets and diarrhoea. If you want to change the diet, do so gradually by mixing it with the kitten’s usual food. Kittens have small stomachs and have to be fed little and often, like babies. It can be very difficult to put together a homemade diet which provides all the nutrients required by growing kittens - it is a great deal easier to feed a good quality commercial kitten food and spend the time playing with the kitten instead! Cats and kittens go blind on purely vegetarian diets, so if you are hung up on vegetarianism, we suggest you don’t keep cats.

There are foods which have been specially formulated for kittens because they have different nutritional needs to the fully grown cat. Read and follow the feeding instructions on cat food bags or boxes carefully. If the food is marked ‘complete’ it contains everything the kitten needs to stay healthy. If it is marked ‘complementary’ it does not supply all the kitten needs and should be fed with other foods. Fresh drinking water should be available at all times.

Toilet Training

Cats are very clean and fussy about their toilet habits and kittens will usually have learnt to use a litter tray by copying their mother. You may just need to show your new kitten where the litter tray is and place a trace of its old litter in the tray and lift the kitten onto the tray on waking up from a sleep and after meals, or when the kitten is sniffing, scratching or beginning to crouch and looks as if it is about to go! Give it some time and privacy and the smell should do the trick.

Instincts & Health

All animals have instincts that are strong. For cats and kittens, their claws are sharp and by instinct they need a scratching post or pad or they will destroy your furniture. So is their instinct to hunt, so don’t be mad if they kill a bird or a rat. Just prevent the access if you want to avoid this. Cats are prolific breeders and male cats will roam and fight, while strange male cats will invade your home if you have a female cat. So neutering by the age of 6 months is absolutely a must for both male and female kittens. Annual vaccines, as for dogs, are a must for cats along with routine de-worming and grooming schedules with anti-flea treatment.

Entertainment

Kittens love to play and in the company of other kittens they will play for hours together. So ideally two cats are better than one, they play with each other and care for each other, even when you are not home. Give them an assortment of toys to keep them occupied and exercised - these need not be expensive - every kitten loves a cardboard box to play in. They love to chase objects – felt mice toys at the end of a string, or pointer lights. They love to dive into shredded or scrunched paper balls. Play is also a good way for you to get to know and trust your cats.

A word of caution: Don’t leave any toys lying out with string attached as they could tie themselves into knots and choke or strangulate.

Month: January 2014

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