Checking out New Kitten


What To Check For When Picking Up Your New Kitten

To a cat fancier, few things are as much fun (and sometimes as frustrating) as looking for the new kitten to add to your breeding program

After much research and hunting, you finally find the kitten you want, a deal is made, money changes hands and you eagerly await the new cat's arrival

Often in the excitement of finally bringing your kitten home, you may forget to do the complete examination of new baby that should be part of your welcome home routine. Failing to double check all the new kitten's bits and pieces can lead to problems down the road if you do finally notice a problem. If there are going to be any surprises, it is best to discover them when your kitten first arrives so that you can discuss them with the seller and make sure you are both communicating well about any differences in opinion or perception you each may have regarding the kitten. Differences do not always mean you will not keep the kitten. It is just important to be sure you are both aware of everything with regard to the kitten

So, what should you be looking for when you receive your new kitten?

Before all else, check your new kitten for the basic signs of good health. Take your kitten to a veterinarian immediately and be sure to ask for complete documentation of any findings.
If you find anything that is questionable, contact the Seller and let them know.
Questions To Ask/Things To Look For
  • a cat's normal temperature ranges from 100.5 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit
Your cat's temperature may be slightly elevated due to stress. If it is only slightly above normal wait a few hours and take it again.
  • Are the eyes bright and clear?
  • Is there discharge?
  • Is the cat squinting?
  • Are the inner membranes red or swollen?
  • If the third eyelid noticeably visible?
Eyes can be a good indicator of general health and well-being. If they look sore or glassy, have them examined by a veterinarian, especially if the kitten also seems sleepy or lethargic.
  • Is there discharge from the nose?
  • Is the discharge clear? Opaque?
  • Is there sneezing? How frequent?
  • Is each nostril the same size?
  • Are the nostrils open? Pinched? Slits?
  • Can the kitten breath easily?
  • Does the kitten breath noisily?
Upper Respiratory Infections are a concern when bringing a new kitten into your home. The stress of changing homes can often suppress the immune system of a kitten.
  • Are the ears clean?
  • Is there wax in the ear?
  • Are there dark brown crusts in the ear? (Ear Mites)
  • Is the inner or outer ear red? Sore? Scabs? (Infection)
Check the ears carefully. You do not want to bring any "visitors" into your cattery.
Check for:
  • Tartar
  • Gingivitis
  • Missing Teeth
  • Correct Bite
Young kitten's bites can change when their second set of teeth come in.
Examine the skin over the entire cat looking for:
  • scabs
  • sores
  • dandruff
  • dryness
  • oiliness
  • swellings
  • hard lumps
Many catteries routinely perform a Ringworm test on any new cats to be sure that a carrier does not introduce Ringworm into the resident cats.
  • Is the kitten drinking?
  • Is the kitten eating well?
  • Is there any vomiting?
While a new kitten may go off its food for one meal, it should be eating by the next. Be sure to feed it the same food it has been fed by the Seller and gradually change it to the food you feed. Always start a kitten on bottled water and slowly switch to your local water.
Watch for:
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Blood in stool or urine
  • Urinating too frequently or straining too hard
  • Little or no urine output
The stress of changing homes may cause some loose stools, but it should resolve itself within a day or two.
When the kitten arrives in its new home, is it:
  • Clean?
  • Dirty?
  • Matted?
  • Thin?
  • Dry Coat?
  • Greasy Coat?
  • Bald Patches?
The general condition of the cat when it arrives is an indicator of the care that the Seller gave it. It is inexcusable for a cat to arrive dirty,or unkempt in general.

& Behavior

Is the cat:
  • Friendly?
  • Shy?
  • Aggressive?
  • Fearful?
  • Active?
  • Playful?
While a cat may feel insecure when changing homes and not put its best "paw" forward, a cat with a good personality will adjust within a few days.
No kitten is perfect. Be honest in evaluating the strength and weakness you see in the kitten
when you receive it from the Seller. Be forthright in discussing them with the Seller.
One of the most important questions you can ask the Seller before purchasing a kitten is "What in their opinion are the strengths of the kitten?". When you receive the kitten, confirm with the Seller what you think to be the strengths of the kitten.
Confirm with the Seller what you think the weaknesses are in the kitten.
To avoid future disappointments, be sure to check your new kitten for anything that would
prevent it from being used in a breeding program.
Questions To Ask/Things To Look For
  • Is the bite straight?
  • Is the bite overshot?
  • Is the bite undershot?
  • Are any teeth missing, especially the canines?
  • Are there any retained teeth that need to be removed?
  • Have the teeth been clipped?
Bites can straighten or "go off" as a kitten grows and develops.
  • Can you feel two testicles?
  • Are the testicles in the scrotal sac or above the sac?
Testicles on young kittens can still go up and down, in and out of the scrotum. If you can feel only one testicle in the scrotum, check to see if the second is higher up.
  • Feel carefully up and down the tail to see if it has one or more kinks, especially near the end.
  • Note the flexibility of the tail
It is important if you feel a kink to notify the Seller immediately. Kinks can occur as a result of trauma during shipping but if that has happened there would probably be swelling and it would be painful to the touch.
  • cross-eyed
  • different size
  • correct eye color for the color of the cat
  • correct hair color, no color faults
  • no lockets or button
Know the accepted eye and coat color for your color of cat along with any coat color faults. For instance, on a Silver check for tarnishing: on a Himalayan check for white toes.
  • Is there any weakness in the hindquarters?
  • Does your kitten stand squarely and willingly or does it prefer to always sit or lie down?
  • When you kitten runs, do the hind legs "hop" like a rabbit?
You cat should show no weakness of the hind legs that may be indicative of Hip Dysplasia
  • Are the eyes the same size?
  • Are the ears the same size and placed equally on both sides of the head?
  • Is the nose straight and level?
  • Is the jaw symmetrical?
  • Is the head symmetrical?
  • Is the spine straight?
  • Are there extra toes?
While no cat is perfectly symmetrical to the 100th of an inch, any unbalance should be noted.



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