THINGS YOU WILL NEED FOR YOUR NEW KITTEN
You need to have supplies of food, toys, grooming tools, litter tray and bedding ready for the arrival of your kitten. Be prepared for them to prefer sleeping on your bed however!
Regular grooming is important to avoid hairballs and keep the coat sleek. A semi-longhaired cat requires more thorough grooming in the Spring and summer season. Even though the Longhair Burmilla has a relatively low maintenance coat and little matting, you will find that mats or knots may occur with winter coat, and particularly under the elbows, the ‘britches' on the hind legs, behind the ears and in the mane area, particularly if you have a full-maned male.
Bathing your cat, especially during the spring moult is advisable to loosen and strip out excess coat. Combs with spinning teeth are also useful. The spinning teeth help to loosen any knots without causing unnecessary pain!. Nail tips should be clipped on a regular basis – and definitely clip them before bathing!
Check and clean ears and eyes regularly with warm water and cotton wool and an appropriate ear solution. If you notice eye discharge, the third eyelid coming up or eye closing over, consult your vet.
HOUSING AND LIFESTYLE
We recommend Longhair Burmillas to be kept indoors, with an outdoor enclosure attached to the house where possible. There are pictures of a good enclose here.
You should also try and teach your cat to walk on a lead to give it some outdoor time. Longhair Burmillas are good on lead or light harness if accustomed to wearing one young.
Statistically, cats kept like this have vastly lower veterinary bills and live substantially longer lives. They do not contract many of the primary infectious diseases or poisoning, are not in danger of road death and do not suffer the large number of injuries and infections from bites and scratches that outdoor cats do. They respond well to this life provided they are not bored and unstimulated.
It is worth considering getting any cat a friend if they will be alone for long periods.
Provide a litter box with clean litter, we recommend Oz Pet litter. It is made out of wood pellets and these pellets break down when they gets wet. Oz Pet litter should be used with a special 2 layered tray. If you would like one of these trays please contact me. I have larger size of these trays available. Oz Pet only sells the medium size trays. I find that my cats prefer a larger try but they all work the same.
A soft bed may or may not be used – cats will generally decide their sleeping place and it will more than likely be your bed! I have several sleeping hideouts for them in my room. Some prefer the cat tree others prefer the donut bed and then there are those that are truly spoilt who prefer to sleep on my bed. If they come and sleep on my bed I wont stop them. Besides they keep you very warm in winter.
A selection of safe toys is important, especially when they are young – bell, balls and feather teasers are irresistible to them. Spend some time playing with your cat each day, it is like bonding time. Most cats love to explore paper bags, chase a flashlight beam or pounce on toys. Mine just love hiding in my handbags. Some even sleep in there!
Well-designed large scratching posts are essential to divert scratching activity away from your furnishings and give them good high climbing, playing and reclining positions. Try and choose cat trees that are made out of real wool carpet. Synthetic carpet tends to deteriorate much faster, not to mention that they are not as nice to scratch on so the cats will find other more fun places to scratch such as your lounge. Try also to avoid the type that is made out of rope! They might be cheap but I promise you the rope will unravel in a few weeks time and you will need to get yourself a new tree.
Do not let the cat tree get too worn out as the fibres can choke the cats if they are left with strings hanging off. It is easy to replace carpet with a staple gun or simply get a new tree. To clean the cat tree, simply wipe the tree with a damp sponge, fur tends to come off quite easily with moisture, otherwise, rubber or metal bristle ‘brushes' are also useful for getting fur off the tree.
If you love pretty designs, check out the Funky Hollow. We have one from 5 years ago and it still looks new today.
Feeding your cat good quality, commercial cat food will greatly aid your pet's chances of enjoying a long and healthy life. A variety of canned and dry food, high in protein from animal sources, will ensure a balanced diet, making supplements unnecessary. You may need to try a number of options if you find that your cat has sensitivities. Cooked or raw fresh meat is always a good option, but make sure it is good quality – there are some excellent pre-packaged fresh minced meats for cats in the supermarket fridge areas. These contain offal, which is useful in their diet. However raw meat is missing certain essential elements and should not be served without using a good quality dry food to supplement. It is also often not sufficiently high in fat.
Make sure your cat has fresh water at all times, and milk is not recommended. Cats are lactose intolerant, feeding them normal milk will only give them runny bums! Special cat designed preparations are good to supplement kittens and feeding mothers. Dry food can be given to your cat throughout the day unless your cat becomes obese.
For dry food we recommend Royal Canin, which has many excellent breed, age and type specific formulations. We feed our kittens the "Baby Kitten" formula but by the time the kitten are rehomed to their new families, they should be ready to eat "Kitten 34".
When your cat reaches around 12 months of age, you can start to give him or her Hill Science TD and other varieties of Royal Canin eg Hair & Skin, Persian, Oral or Furball. We general buy a few of these varieties at the time and then mix them. If you kitten is transitioning into adulthood, it is better for you to feed your kitten the kitten variety for at least the first 12 months then in the next 6 months you can mix kitten food with adult food .Hills TDs are very large biscuits and are great for their gums. I find that most of my Burmillas are quite lazy when it comes to chewing. TDs really help them to keep their gums healthy. If the TDs are too large for your cats, especially if you have a female cat, you can try Royal Canin "Oral Sensitive". These are smaller in size and I find that my Burmilla girls will tolerate these even they might not touch the TDs at all. If they don't want to eat the biscuits alone, try and mix them into the wet food.
Wet Food we recommend Ultimates Nutrition Plus (UNP) and Ultimates Indulgence (UI) - UNP is a new food released only in 2009. I have done some freelance work for this company and know that this product uses the highest quality food source. Both UNP and UI are produced by Safcol which also produces our human grade fish product. A lot of UNP varieties have organic rice and veggies in them and I find that it is not packed with sauce like the cheap brands so you do get your money's worth. UNP is only currently available in Wollworths and the full range (including kitten varieties) is only available in Franklins.
Do remember that cats are fussy but should not rule the home with their likes and dislikes. It will not hurt them to leave their food for a day or two! Many healthy cats have periods where they are just not hungry for a couple of days. Longhair Burmillas are generally not greedy cats and can be allowed to graze on constantly replenished bowls of dry food without a problem.
Scoop out the litter box daily and refresh litter when necessary. Water and food bowls (preferably not plastic) should be washed daily in hot water, along with shaking out your cat's bedding. Wash the bedding as needed.
It is important to keep all areas of your home clean and use anti-bacterial surface cleaners, particularly while training your cat not to jump on benches! Diluted 1-3 high grade bleach is good for serious cleaning like litter trays, but I also disinfect bedding at washing times and keep disinfectant spray handy. Do be careful with it however – steam cleaning is preferable. All sprays can be irritants so keep that in mind – fly spray can be quite distressing if sprayed too near.
Cats and kittens need to be vaccinated against infectious feline diseases. Your kitten will come to you with F3 vaccinations done at approximately 8 and 12 weeks. We and our vets recommend a third injection at 16 weeks for F3 vaccinations. They will also have general worming done.
Find a good veterinarian and schedule annual check-ups and boosters. Be observant and consult your vet if you notice signs of illness or injury such as: a dull and patchy coat; lack of appetite; persistent vomiting and/or diarrhoea; difficulty urinating; discharge from eyes or nose, or sneezing.
Worming and Flea Treament
Remember to check coat regularly for fleas and ticks, especially if you are in danger areas. The top-spot preparations these days are worth looking at for summer prevention in particular. There are also good top-spot products for use in multi-purpose preventions like Revolution's worming/fleas/ear mites preparation.
Anti-freeze, string, yarn, ribbons and rubber bands can be fatal if swallowed by a cat. Remember to put them away safely. There are also many plants that may be a problem if ingested – if you have them in contact with garden areas it may be wise to check up from the good lists of toxic-to-cats plants you can find on the internet.
If you are scratched yourself while playing with, medicating or bathing your cat, do not take it lightly. Treat with a strong alcohol product like methylated spirits.
When administering medications or bathing cats, it is advisable to ‘scruff' the cat quite firmly. This will calm them down, as it is reminiscent of the treatment their mother gave them as kittens, even though it can look quite severe. It should help keep the claws away from you and allow you to open the jaws to insert a pill, with an applicator if necessary. Two people are better than one in this circumstance. Pills should be put as far down the throat as possible, the mouth shut and the throat massaged – cats are notorious for holding them in their mouth and spitting them out or flicking the head at the last minute! Be careful with worming paste, as many cats will throw it up immediately – use the smallest pills you can find in this case.
Thank you to Jann Merchant of Tristone Cattery for helping us compile this very detailed list of kitten needs.
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