This post is the final part of a series named Here For The Kittens and is in collaboration with Cats Protection, the UK’s largest feline welfare charity…
You can find all the links for their social media here: Cats Protection’s LinkTr.ee
You can find the first post of this series here: http://www.imnotdisordered.co.uk/2023/05/hereforthekittens-series-intro-managing.html
The second post is here: http://www.imnotdisordered.co.uk/2023/05/hereforthekittens-week-one-all-emotions.html
The third post here: http://www.imnotdisordered.co.uk/2023/06/hereforthekittens-week-two-unseen-baby.html
And the Fourth is here: http://www.imnotdisordered.co.uk/2023/06/hereforthekittens-penultimate-post-week.html
I feel like this past month has been an absolute whirlwind and I know people say it a lot, but I honestly can’t believe how fast the time has gone! Perhaps that saying about ‘time flies when you’re having fun’ is true? I feel like it was ages ago that I paid the deposit for Ruby and that the time between then and getting her went so slowly but now I have her; everything seems to be whizzing by! It’s a notion though, that has made me even more determined to enjoy her being a kitten! And so, I’m really grateful to Cats Protection for helping with this collaboration – I don’t know that I would have been able to document my first month with Ruby so well if this series hadn’t happened! So, a massive thank you to their Relationships Manager and the whole Media Team! Now, for the series finale, I’ll be sharing my top tips to looking after a kitten (learnt over the past month with Ruby), as well as a letter to her, and my favourite videos, photos, and moments with Ruby across this past month (and yes, it was incredibly difficult to choose those!) …
Don’t be concerned or disheartened if the general advice you’re given doesn’t work for your kitten – they’re all individuals and sometimes you need to just adapt to them and their little personality quirks!
Firstly, a bit of a disclaimer; I wrote ‘general advice’ because I wanted to make it clear that I’m not referring to medical advice from your kitten’s Vet – because if that isn’t working then you absolutely need to be concerned! Although, I will say that when my last cat, Emmy, first became poorly with big sores on her face, her Vets weren’t really taking it seriously and I felt really dismissed because I was absolutely 100% convinced that something was genuinely wrong. So, I ended up taking her to a completely different Veterinary Practice who almost immediately and thankfully, completely validated me and prescribed medication for her with the recognition that if I had trusted that original Vet, she could have lost her eye as one of the sores was right next to it! This scary fact left me feeling really reassured that I had done the right thing and it made me feel even more confident that when it comes to my pets, my intuition is pretty much spot on!
Emmy also wasn’t litter trained and so the Vet, a Behaviour Therapist, and numerous websites(!), gave me advice varying from putting her litter tray where she was having all of her accidents, to using soil in the tray instead of cat litter because she was found on the streets we wondered if she’d grown used to going to the toilet whilst on that sort of texture! But even that; did nothing to change things! And initially, yes; I did have all those thoughts and feelings around the notion that these tips not working, meant that I’d gotten a bit of a ‘dud’ of a cat! Well, I swayed between that and considering myself to be a bit inadequate and useless because I wondered whether I was doing something wrong.
A key example of this (advice not working) over the past month with Ruby; is actually also to do with her poor toileting habits and apparent confusion in the idea that she should use the litter tray every single time she has to go! In this instance with Ruby though, I’ve found myself being much more positive and patient with her; and in all honesty, I think that this is largely because I’m in a very different place with my mental health. I mean, in February I had the largest relapse in nine years, and was sectioned under the Mental Health Act and admitted to a psychiatric hospital; and it was actually very much the worst hospital I’ve ever been in. With the staff treating me so poorly and making so many mistakes, I developed the opinion that yes, in the very short-term it was lifesaving, but ultimately; it didn’t help and that meant that even after being discharged, both my mental health and my safety levels were still incredibly low. But I developed the conviction that getting Ruby would help all of that and she really has (I haven’t self-harmed at all since getting her four weeks ago and that’s the longest amount of time since February)!
My two previous cats – Emmy and Dolly – definitely helped my mental health too… It just feels different with Ruby – I think that this difference is because I’m more grateful for that improvement. Having experienced that terrible admission – maybe it did help in a way(!) because it made me more appreciative of my home comforts and more driven to never have to go back there! And so, in the grand scheme of things, Ruby having the odd toileting accident? Well, it just doesn’t leave me frustrated or upset, because I would rather, she be here and me have to clean up poop than me not have her!
Cats Protection have an enormous section on their website full of advice and tips on different things to do if other recommendations aren’t working for your cat:
Don’t be surprised if you find yourself having to do/buy something you hadn’t thought of, because it’s not realistic to believe you’re 100% prepared for getting a kitten!
No matter how much research you do – which I would definitely still advise you to(!) – before getting a kitten, it doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be completely prepared for everything that could happen or even everything that your cat might need.
We all know the basics: food and water bowls, a scratch post, and a litter tray. And yes, a lot of people will buy toys too, but the lesson there for me, was that it’s a better idea to buy several completely different toys e.g., one that moves, one that makes noise, one with feathers, one with a bell, a ball, one on a wand stick… The variety will enable you to discover which your kitten likes best so that you know which type to look for if you go shopping for more. And vice versa! In that, if your kitten seems terrified or put off by the sound of a bell on their toy, then you’ll know what to avoid. This is important because, as a kitten, they’re likely more playful than an older cat and whilst exercise is especially important no matter what the age, kittens have a massive – and completely correct! – reputation for being curious and boisterous. And playing, will actually teach them different skills too, for example, when I first played with a wand toy with Ruby, she would leap in the air and land on her back to the point where I was convinced, she was going to break something! But in the past week or so, I’ve noticed that when she jumps to those heights, she lands on all four paws now. She’s also mastering the act of sneaking up on something, wiggling her bum, and pouncing – when I first got her, she would just run over and jump!
Cats Protection have several articles on play for kittens that you might find useful:
Don’t forget that after I purchased this Hello World sign: £5.99 from Phoenix Cove – to celebrate this series, the Etsy store have offered you lovely readers an exclusive discount code for 10% (now only valid until midnight to mark the end of the series!) off their incredible products, just type in: HEREFORTHEKITTENS10 at the checkout! Also, you should go follow them on Instagram: Personalised Gifts, Decor, Wood Signs & More! (@phoenixcove.co) | Instagram