Category Archives: kittens

Why Are Kittens and Puppies Deaf and Blind at Birth?

kitten daisyreeBy Linda Cole

There’s no denying the cuteness factor of a newborn kitten or puppy. The miracle of birth is an awesome process to witness, as is the incredible bond that quickly develops between mother and babies. Puppies and kittens are born with their eyes shut and ear canals closed, which makes them functionally blind and deaf for their first few weeks of life. It seems odd that nature would deny these predator species access to two major senses – sight and hearing – at birth. However, there is a good reason why kittens and puppies are born deaf and blind.

The evolutionary process is a complex series of experiments that over time improves the survival chances of a species. At a time when the different mammal species were adapting and learning the best way to live in their environment, they had to make a choice about reproduction and development of their young. It was an evolutionary decision that would give their offspring the greatest success of living.
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5 Tips for Litter Box Training a Kitten

cat box abbamouseBy Julia Williams

Teaching a young kitten to use its litter box is generally not a long or complicated process. For starters, learning to use the box is largely instinctive for a feline. Further, if the kitten lived indoors with Mom for its first few weeks, it may have already been “shown the ropes” and will adjust to a new box in a new home almost immediately.

That being said, there are some things you can do to make the process go as smoothly as possible. Make no mistake, proper litter box training is very important, because establishing good habits early on is the best way to avoid future issues.

The Box

Most litter boxes are made from heavy duty plastic, which is easy to clean and very durable. I recently also came across a disposable litter box made from recycled paper. It was on the small side and had a low entrance, which is perfect for a little kitten to be able to enter and exit comfortably. A small cat box is fine for a kitten, but just be aware that they will outgrow it and you’ll eventually need to get a larger one for your adult cat. The cat box will need to be big enough for your cat to turn around in and scratch around in it comfortably.

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How to Bond with Your New Puppy or Kitten

By Langley Cornwell

The bond you have with your puppy or kitten begins the moment they come home with you, and continues to grow throughout their lifetime. Ways to strengthen this bond include affection, training, grooming, playing, exercising and participating in a variety of activities with your new puppy or kitten. What you do in the early stages of your union sets the proper foundation for a solid, lasting connection; a connection that will benefit both of you in more ways than you can imagine.

Bonding with a new puppy

The first week or ten days of a puppy’s life consists of nursing, sleeping and not much else. During that time, the puppy’s mother is his source for everything. If he gets separated from his mother, she finds him and leads or carries him back to the litter. If he gets hungry, she feeds him. If he cries, she comforts him. The bond between a puppy and his mother is the first and most important relationship of his little life.   

Once the pup’s eyes and ears open, he begins to notice things beyond just his mother. As the puppy ages and is able to fend for himself, his relationship with his mother becomes less dependent—more like a friendship. When the pup is between three and six weeks old, he begins to develop relationships with his littermates and learns basic social skills from their interactions.

According to noted veterinary behaviorist Dr. Nicholas Dodman, a puppy’s distrust of unfamiliar people starts developing at around eight to ten weeks of life. At this time, it’s essential that the puppy is introduced to others.

At about eight weeks of age, most puppies are available for adoption, and that’s when a puppy’s new human enters the picture. Early separation anxiety is almost unavoidable at the beginning of the relationship, because the puppy misses his mom and littermates. It’s at this time that you must become ‘everything’ to your new puppy—so if he whimpers or whines, you tend to him.

If you’ve ever heard or read that you’re supposed to let your puppy cry through the night, ignore that advice. That’s incorrect. You are now substituting for the puppy’s mother, and mama dog doesn’t ignore her babies. By meeting the puppy’s demands you will keep him on the right track for appropriate social development. Additionally, the puppy will gradually re-attach to you, his new provider. This is when your connection begins to really take shape.       

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Fostering: C’mon, You Know You Want To Try It!

By Sue Hayes

Have you considered it? Fostering makes an incalculable difference not just for the animals you provide with a temporary home thereby freeing up space at the shelter, but to your community at large by helping to decrease the number of unwanted pets through spaying and neutering. And I’ve heard tell that fostered animals make some of the best, well-socialized pets. 

What’s not to like? I mean really. In my case it’s orphaned, underage kittens. What warm-blooded person in their right mind wouldn’t want a continuous loop of the cutest babies ever to cuddle and care for while they grow into adoptable little muffins? And yes, every single one is the cutest one ever. Never fails. You’ll see. 

You might feel a connection with adult cats, puppies, dogs, bunnies, maybe even hamsters or guinea pigs! The need is out there. Go to your local shelter. Go ahead. Tell them you’d like to foster. I’m betting you’ll get a warm, grateful smile along with whatever guidance and training is required to start you on your way. You may never look back.

This vice of mine, this sweet tooth for sweeties was born the moment I decided to bring home my first foster family – a mama kitty with her 3 newborns. I had no earthly idea I’d be r-e-e-led in to the point of it being 5 years and 175+ kitties later with no end in sight. It’s become such a natural part of life for me; I have difficulty remembering life before fostering. As vices go, not a bad one to have, I’m thinkin’.

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