Assisi Animal Sanctuary is Northern Ireland's largest independent animal welfare charity providing shelter for up to 200 companion animals - cats, dogs and rabbits.
Charity Reference No: NIC104594.
Kittens are great aren’t they? It’s hard to resist a cute face… Believe it or not, there is much more to raising a kitten than you would think! Kittens are very active and get into all sorts of mischief, they are known for climbing curtains, hanging from door handles and making as much mess as they can. Could you cope with this?
Playtime is vital for kitten development, it’s how they learn. They learn from their experiences which is why the correct environment is key to having a happy, well socialised kitten. Providing the right variety of toys that encourage different behaviours allows them to develop all of their natural behaviours such as hunting, chasing and climbing. Distance toys such as a mouse on a string are great for teaching them how to chase, these toys also keep them away from your hands and arms. A kitten that has been taught to wrestle with hands or arms will continue with this into its adult life, having a kitten wrapped round your hand is one thing, but a fully grown adult cat doing the same thing is not good.
Exposure to different household noises is important. If a home is too quiet the kitten will only learn to fear new noises and may turn into a nervous or skittish adult cat. At the same time too much noise during development can cause a kitten to become fearful too. It’s about getting the balance right. All of our kittens spend the first eight weeks of their lives in homes with our foster carers. That way they are exposed to normal household noises so they are more ready to move on into a new home as they are already familiar with the home environment. It makes the settling in period much less stressful for both new owner and kitten.
It isn’t just as simple as picking the one who is the cutest or the one you like the colour of, they have personalities and while one kitten may be better suited to your requirements another may not. As they grow their personalities develop, we cannot predict how they will behave as an adult as the things they experience when young will shape their characters. It is important to understand that a cuddly lap kitten may grow into an independent cat who prefers to be outside in the garden, whereas a nervous kitten may blossom into an adorable lap cat.
Young kittens cannot have access to outdoors until they have been neutered. This could mean you have to manage to keep a kitten from escaping for up to three months. You will need to make sure windows are not left open and that doors are shut properly. Could you cope with this?
When bringing your kitten home do not allow it to have full access of the house, this will only frighten it, too much space can be scary and it will take longer for your new kitten to settle in. Start off with one room where it has access to food, water and the litter tray. Spend plenty of time in there with your kitten, after a week you can gradually increase the number of rooms the kitten has access too. If there are rooms you don’t want the kitten to have access to then keep the doors shut. Make sure there is more than one litter tray available and that there are food and water stations throughout the house. Do not keep the litter tray near the food or water. It is also equally important to have water dishes in different locations to the food dishes.
Carefully follow the information you are provided with at the time of adoption, these are to help keep you right. Follow feeding instructions so that you do not over feed or under feed your kitten, incorrect feeding can cause the kitten to become unwell.
We can help you find the right kitten.
Every year ‘kitten season’ is very busy with lots of kittens coming in to find new homes. If you want to adopt a kitten we ask that you call into the Sanctuary and fill out an application form. This is designed to gather as much information about you and your lifestyle so that we can match you with a suitable kitten.
In the early stages of development, 8 – 16 weeks, kittens need a lot of care and attention, this can be difficult for those who are working long hours or if you are going through lifestyle changes such as moving house, going on holiday or having a baby. Please make sure you are ready to have a kitten in your lives before making an application to adopt.