A cat is mature at twelve months in terms of body size, bone devel-
opment, and weight. Only its coat may still be changing in length and
color. Its diet should continue as it is described above.

Feed once a day
and provide as much as is necessary to keep your cat lean, neither plump
nor skinny. Try 6 to 7 ounces a day of whichever diet you have decided on,
with a little extra fat, small amounts of milk (if digestible), an occasional cooked egg (or raw yolk). Make certain that all basic needs are met, but do
not overfeed. Make sure that your children are not feeding their pet on the
This has been a long chapter full of do's and don'ts. I will ran through
the major points, and you can use this summation as a checklist.
1. Prepare a draft-free area for the newborn kitten (or kittens I.
2. Have on hand some basic equipment. For the new kitten with-
out a queen to nurse it: doll's baby bottles, a plastic eyedropper, doll's
baby nipples, a measuring cup with ounce gradations, a mixing bow!,
perhaps a baby scale.
3. Later on, for the growing kitten, get some toys made of hard
rubber and a scratching post for the kitten's developing claws.
4. Do not let children play too hard with the young kitten.
5. Clip the kitten's nails at about eight weeks, and thereafter
whenever you see growth. This will protect
it from scratches and your
possessions from destruction.
6. Do not take the small kitten outside unless it is very mild
7. Keep all items used by the kitten sanitary. Make sure the litter
box is kept clean of bowel movements, and keep it dry by adding new
layers of litter.
8. Periodically check the kitten's stools for signs of worms or other
abnormalities diarrhea or blood. If you see such signs,
call your ve-
9. Start weaning by the end of the third week and definitely
in the
fourth. Finish it by the sixth week. This is for owners who have the
queen present and nursing.
10. Even if you do not suspect worms, take a stool sample to the ve-
terinarian at four to six weeks. Never attempt worming with home reme-
1L Be careful of the unclosed spot on the top of the kitten's head.
12. Do not bathe a young kitten. By brushing and combing, you can
keep it clean, and if the queen is present, she will do the job herself.
13. If you have doubts about your kitten's health, take its tempera-
ture with a rectal thermometer. Normal is 101 to 102F.
14. Whatever diet you choose should be complete. The young kit-
ten requires proportionately larger amounts of protein and fets. Give a
vitamin-mineral supplement.
15. Your kitten receives colostrum from the dam. That gives
it a
temporary immunity to feline distemper.
Inoculations are necessary for for permanent immunity. Follow the schedule outlined on page 57. See
also the chapter on ailments.
16. During teething, from three to six months, have your ve-
terinarian check to see if everything
is going correctly.
17. At about two months or sooner, work on naming. Walking the
cat on a leash, if you plan to do it, should start at about three months.
18. If you plan to have your female spayed or your male neutered,
follow the schedule on page 38.
19. The young kitten may become carsick. It usually passes.
20. Accustom the kitten to a carrying
case in the event you need to
use it.
21. Even if nothing seems wrong, your kitten needs a checkup
every six months. The mature cat should be examined every year. Main-
tain the boosters.
22. Do not let your kitten or cat become overweight. It shortens
their life. The ideal appearance
is a slender, muscular, and lithe animal.
23. If your kitten has not been altered, expect the female to go into
her heat period at 6 to 7 months; the male will show sexual interest after
a few months.
24. Maintain daily grooming, brushing, combing, and so on.