Animal Hospital of Statesville |

of Statesville


“Where Pets are Family, Too”



Pet Health


Finding the Right Kitten

Adopting a new kitten can seem like a daunting responsibility, especially if it’s your first. This guide will help you determine exactly which kitty will be a good match for your lifestyle.

Considering the fact that your prospective feline roommate could be with you for over 15 years, it makes sense that you should put a lot of time and thought into your choice. Do you really want the responsibility of a new kitten? Is now the right time? If so, what kind of kitten really suits your lifestyle? These are the types of questions that you should address before you decide to take the plunge. While it can be tempting to run out and adopt, it’s important that you do your research before you bring your cute kitten home. That way, you can be sure that you’ve got a friend for life.

Consider Your Kitten’s Age

While kittens have usually been weaned before 8 weeks of age, most experts
agree that they should stay with their mother and/or littermates until 12 weeks of age. This allows for optimal social development. If a kitten has been taken away from her mother before the weaning process is complete, she may develop troubling behaviors like suckling on fingers and other objects.

Check for Personality 

No matter how bad you want that one with tiger stripes on her back, don’t choose your kitten based on looks alone. Instead, watch how the kittens play and interact so you can get a glimpse into each one’s personality. Most kittens get sleepy after a feeding, so try to pick a time to visit the litter when the kittens are active. Here are a few things to keep in mind when watching kittens.

Animal Hospital of Statesville - Check for Personality while buying a kitten

Look for playful, confident kittens if you have young children. A timid kitten may not feel comfortable in a home
where young children want to play.

Get down on the floor. See how the kitten reacts to your presence. Well-socialized kittens should be comfortable
and unafraid.

Play with the kittens. Using something other than your finger or hand, entice the kitten to play. She should express an interest.

Pick them up. After playtime, try to hold a kitten. A little squirming is perfectly normal, but she shouldn’t bite or hiss.

Ask questions. The way a kitten was raised can have a huge impact on her personality. Learn everything you can about her history. Kittens that weren’t introduced to humans by 7 weeks of age sometimes have trouble bonding with them.

Pre-Adoption Checkup

To avoid any unpleasant surprises, it’s always best to have one of our veterinarians check your kitten’s health before you adopt, rather than afterwards. Many kittens have fleas, ear mites or intestinal worms. While this may not prevent you from adopting, it’s important to understand what you’re getting into and what it might cost. Here are a few important spot checks that can help you select a healthy kitten.

Check the skin and coat. A healthy kitten should have soft fur and no bald spots. Her skin should be free of scabs or rashes. Tiny specs of black dirt in the fur and on the skin may be flea dirt (excrement), indicating a flea infestation.

Inspect your kitten’s body. A normal kitten shouldn’t feel particularly fat or skinny. Her ribs should not be visible. Check the kitten’s belly. If it feels hard or swollen, the kitten may have worms.

Check the ears. Clean ears are a good sign. Head-scratching, shaking, or gritty brown or black debris may indicate ear mites.

Watch for runny noses, coughing, or sneezing. These may indicate a respiratory infection that’s treatable, but contagious
to other cats.

Do a dental check. A kitten’s teeth should be white and her gums should be pink, but not red or pale. Ask questions about what your kitten has been eating. She should be eating solid food by the time you adopt.

Be wary of dirty rear ends. Your kitten’s anus should be clean and free of any signs of diarrhea. Gauge the kitten’s energy level. If a kitten sleeps constantly or doesn’t want to play, this may be a sign of illness.

Quarantine Your Kitten

Bring your kitten to the Animal Hospital for an examination as soon as possible, preferably before you even bring her home.  Your kitten’s doctor may record recommend a period of quarantine, when she is separated from your other household pets.  This way, you can be sure she’s free of any infectious diseases before introducing your new kitten to the rest of your pets.

Consider Two Kittens 

Animal Hospital of Statesville  -  Consider getting 2 kittensMany experts recommend adopting two kittens at the same time for a couple of reasons. First, these kittens can continue to socialize and learn from one another after leaving their littermates. Also, it’s important to remember that adult cats can be territorial. So it may be easier to adopt two kittens rather than trying to introduce a new one later down the road. With that under consideration, don’t agree to take home more kittens that you can care for.

Make Special Plans for Special-Needs Kittens

If you decide to adopt a kitten with special needs, it’s important to understand the increased level of time and veterinary care involved. Kittens with health problems may not live as long as healthy cats and can cost exponentially more to care for. Talk to your vet about what to expect if you’re considering a special needs kitten.

Bringing home a kitten can be a wonderful addition to your life, just make sure that you’ve done everything in advance that you can to prepare yourself and make sure that you and the kitten are a good fit.

Kittens are so cute, it’s understandable that cat owners sometimes wish their kittens could stay kittens forever. This is the when you, as the pet parent, lay the foundation for your cat’s future health and behavior. Not to mention, it’s the stage where you have to decide what food to buy, what vet to visit, and where to place the litterbox. Fortunately, all of your hard work during these first few months is compensated by loads of snuggling and adorability.

1. Verify Your Kitten’s Age

Though it’s not something you have any control over, your kitten’s age is more than just a number. In fact, it’s crucial that you learn it. Kittens have very specific developmental needs for the first 10 weeks of their lives in terms of nourishment, warmth, socialization, and excretion. For this reason, most breeders and shelters typically wait until their kittens are of age before they’re put up for adoption. If you, by chance, find yourself in a situation where you need to care for an orphaned kitten under 10 weeks old, consult your vet for special instructions.

2. Your Kitten's First Visit to the Vet 

One of the first things you should do with your new cat, if not the very first, is take him in for a thorough exam.  This trip is almost as important for the owner as it is the kitten, because it not only tests for health issues like birth defects, parasites, and feline leukemia, but it allows you to ask those all-important questions, including advice on litterbox training your kitten. 

Our technicians and doctors will give you recommendations on the best food for your kitten.  Advice on how often to feed and portion sizes will also be given. Your kitten will be checked for intestinal parasites and will be dewormed accordingly.  We’ll give you signs of illness to watch for during your kitten’s first few months.  We can help you introduce your kitten to his new housemates with as little conflict as possible.  Your kitten’s doctor will give appropriate vaccines for your kitten’s age and discuss future vaccine protocol with you.  It is important to follow this vaccine protocol closely to best protect your kitten from disease and parasites.  

3. Shop for Quality Food

Feeding a kitten isn’t as easy as grabbing a bag of cat chow at the nearest convenience store. Growing kittens need as much as three times more calories and nutrients than adult cats. That’s why it’s important to find a good quality food designed especially for kittens. A name brand food, formulated for kittens, is the simplest way to ensure that your kitty gets the proper nourishment without supplements. Also, check to make sure your kitten’s food includes a statement from the Association of Animal Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) displayed on the packaging, ensuring the food is nutritionally complete.

4. Set Up a Feeding Schedule

To keep up with your kitten’s appetite, you’ll want to establish a daily feeding routine.   Up until 3 months of age, we recommend feeding your kitten three times a day.  Once he’s reached 3 months, you can scale it back to twice daily.  Keep stocking your pantry with kitten food until your baby reaches adulthood, 9-12 months old.  In addition, don’t forget to keep his water bowl fresh and filled at all times.  But hold the milk.  Contrary to popular belief, milk is not nutritionally sufficient for kittens and can give them diarrhea.

Get advice on the best way to litterbox train your kitten.

5. Be Sociable

Once your vet has cleared your kitten as free of disease and parasites, it’s safe to let your new kitten explore its new surroundings and other pet roommates. Handling and playing with your kitten at least once a day will help him form a strong emotional bond with you. If you have children, monitor their introduction to the new kitten to make sure it’s a positive experience for both the kitten and child.

6. Prepare a Room

Before you bring your kitten home, it’s best to designate a quiet area where the kitten can feel comfortable and safe. In this base camp, you’ll need to put a few essentials like food and water dishes, a litterbox (preferably one with low sides), and some comfortable bedding. Tip: Remember, cats don’t like their food and litterbox too close together. So place the food dishes as far away from the litter as possible within the space.

7. Gear Up

Here’s a list of the most essential items you’ll want to have before bringing your kitten home:

  • Quality food, specifically formulated for kittens
  • Collar and ID tags
  • Food bowls, preferably metal or ceramic
  • Litterbox and cat litter
  • A comfortable, warm cat bed
  • Cat carrier
  • Scratching post
  • Kitten-safe toys, no small pieces that your kitten can swallow
  • Cat brush
  • Cat toothbrush and toothpaste (get him started at a young age)
8. Watch for Early Signs of Illness

Young kittens are more susceptible to a number of illnesses, and it’s always best to catch a health issue in its early stages. Contact your vet immediately if your kitten displays any of the following symptoms

  • Lack of appetite
  • Poor weight gain
  • Vomiting
  • Swollen or painful abdomen
  • Lethargy (tiredness)
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Wheezing or coughing
  • Pale gums
  • Swollen, red eyes or eye discharge
  • Nasal discharge
  • Inability to pass urine or stool

Clinic Hours:

Monday  7:00 am to 7:00 pm

(Closed every Mon. 12pm-2pm for CE training)

Tuesday 7:00 am to 7:00 pm
Wednesday 7:00 am to 7:00 pm
Thursday 7:00 am to 7:00 pm
Friday 7:00 am to 6:00 pm
Saturday 8:00 am to 2:00 pm
Sunday Closed


        Emergency Contact Info


Pet Resort Hours:

Monday 7:00 am to 6:00 pm
(Closed every Mon. 12pm-2pm for CE training)
Tuesday 7:00 am to 6:00 pm
Wednesday 7:00 am to 6:00 pm
Thursday 7:00 am to 6:00 pm
Friday 7:00 am to 6:00 pm
Saturday 8:00 am to 12:00 pm
Sunday Closed

After hours lodging check out Sat & Sun    

        4:30-5pm excluding holidays

Connect With Us

Animal Hospital Of Statesville
181 Mocksville Hwy
Statesville NC 28625

Telephone: 704.872.3625

© 2015  Animal Hospital of Statesville   |   All rights reserved.