I have kittens! Now tell me what to do.

Hmmmm, I forgot to give some advice with my anecdotes.

Cats and kittens LOVE boxes. Keep a couple of boxes around the house at all times, just for the kitties to sit in. For some reason, sitting in a box is very satisfying for cats, so let them sit in them. Cats also like paper bags and laundry baskets and all sorts of containers…which leads me to my next point.

Get a couple of adult sized cat carriers now, and leave the doors open so the kittens can come and go in the carriers. You WILL need to take the cats to the vet every now and then, and if they already think of the carriers as “neat places to hang out” instead of “PRISON!!!” then everyone will be much happier.

Start brushing both kittens now. Let them get used to it. Most cats enjoy being brushed if they’ve experienced it as kittens and they’re used to it. It will help reduce hairballs, and it will reduce the amount of cat hair on your furniture. Some cats even like to be vacuumed, which is the ideal solution.

Start clipping their claws now. It’s actually pretty easy to do, though I find that having two people do it helps a lot. One person holds the cat, while the other person does the actual clipping. Be very, very careful not to clip into the blood vessel in the claw. I just clip off the very points of the claws, which causes my female cat to get aggravated at me, as she had JUST gotten those claws sharpened to a nice point…

Personally, I don’t think that cats need to be bathed by humans, unless the cat in question has gotten itself really filthy, or is covered with a toxic substance (soap, or gasoline, or some other chemical which they shouldn’t ingest). Some people feel that cats need to be bathed regularly, but I have never bathed my cats except for those unusual circumstances that I’ve noted. Since you are keeping your babies inside, you probably won’t need to bathe them. Some cats like water, and like being bathed. Most object to it quite strenuously.

Anything not nailed down is a cat toy. Anything that IS nailed down is a scratching post. Oh, get them a scratching post NOW and show it to them. Put it wherever you want to keep it, as cats like to have their food, water, litter box, and scratching post in the same place all the time. Take the kittens, one at a time, and hold their front legs. Move their front paws against the scratching post while making sounds of approval. This will encourage them to use the scratching post. If you catch them scratching anything else, grab them and take them to the post, and again move their paws against the post while giving them praise.

Re: spaying/neutering at 14 weeks
Yes, it’s possible and is in fact beneficial to the cats. It’s called “juvenile neutering” or “pediatric neutering.” Kittens can actually be spayed/neutered as young as 8 weeks or 2 lbs. The difference in healing time is unbelievable - because the incision is so small, they heal extremely quickly. They barely notice that anything happened. Juvenile S/N used to be an unusual procedure but has become more and more commonplace. In my area (Boston), just about all the vets do it - also, very few or no shelters around here will adopt kittens out without their already being spayed/neutered - thus, juvenile neutering is a must. Years ago there were uncertainties about anesthetizing very young animals; that’s why the recommendation was to wait until they were 6 months old or more, but advances in veterinary medicine have made this into a non-issue. Perhaps it depends on what area of the country you live in: in Boston we have some of the top vets in the country working and maybe they are more “ahead” of things than other areas (but juvenile S/N has been around for many years - it’s not a “new” procedure by any means). I know for a fact that Boston is not the only area by any means that practices juvenile S/N as a standard practice: it’s done all over.

I have been present at or been the foster caregiver for hundreds of kittens who were spayed or neutered at approximately 8 weeks and have never once had any problems with any of them. There is no medical reason to wait until they are 5-6 months old. And cats can go into heat and get pregnant as young as 5-6 months.

Re: wet food vs. dry food
The reason the vet says to give wet food is that cats - particularly males - who eat only dry food are prone to urinary blockages. Wet food contains water and helps to prevent these blockages. A lot of cats won’t drink enough water on their own to make up for the lack of water in dry food; that’s why some vets say to also give wet. As long as your cats drink a lot of water, they’ll be fine. It’s making sure they drink that can be a problem.

Re: litterboxes on every floor
That’s pretty much a standard recommendation. Check any cat book and they’ll tell you the same thing. Kittens can have trouble making it to the right place in time; older cats can have trouble making it up and down stairs.

If you don’t like your vet’s petside manner, then change. But his recommendations are nothing unusual and are for the benefit of the kittens.

As to the biting – one of my kitties was a chomper as a kitten, when she was being lovey. She’d lick us and then nibble on our fingers a bit. It was gentle, and so cute! We didn’t discourage it, except when she bit too hard. She stopped doing it for a while, but she’s started again and we’re letting her. She seems to know how hard is okay, and she purrs up a storm as she’s doing it: lick, lick, purrchompchomppurr. It makes it easy for us to brush her teeth, so we don’t mind. It’s so cute!

I’m not saying it’s “right” or “wrong” – it’s just what we do, and it’s worked for us so far. Just another opinion. :slight_smile: