It’s not uncommon this time of year to be dealing with vomit, runny poos and lots of socialising.
Maybe you got it on gumtree, rescued a reject or just got it gifted to you.
If you don't have one, I bet you've been seeing them in friends posts on facebook, or adoring them on instagram, you want one, you want all of them, you're definitely justifying it to yourself and maybe even your partner.
For some it’s a kitten, others a puppy, there’s even those whom are bequeathed the bedlam of both.
Whatever your back-story, whatever your reason, you’ve now got paws for thought.
Kittens are the prelude to cats, provided to us by other cats. Notably, there are some cats who’ve grown up to become famous the world over, not so notably, most other cats only have aspirations to control your little world and feast upon the rewards of your unfamous attempts at getting rich. Kittens look to you for guidance and a set of legs to climb, you need to be a pillar of strength and gritted teeth. They’ll be asleep for 18hours a day, leaving just enough time to wreak havoc in your house, hair and heart.
Play - Everyone knows, kitten claws were used in the first hypodermic syringe. Whilst we generally don’t recommend syringe-play, it can be as entertaining and exhilarating as it is dangerous, so use caution and sterilise your kitten paws by dipping them in the litter tray first. You could choose to reduce your exposure and supplement your hands with toys and things on strings. Cameras are a must during play time, but not as important as learning to push your hand towards them when they claw you (Jackson Galaxy is the cats messiah), as opposed to the instinctive recoiling that turns dermal layers into thin skin ribbons with surgical ease.
Feed - Food is a thing often represented in pyramids, but the pyramids are oddly devoid of food, so we suggest feeding kittens in something round, like a bowl. It’s important to understand the basic dietary requirements of a growing kitten. It’s entirely up to you what you feed them, but we recommend considering raw meats, as they contain a lot of the essential elements and even moisture that a cat needs. Cheap dry food and water is not the most nourishing, and can lead to skin problems, blindness and all manner of nasties as a result of nalnutrition.
Rest – They need to loads of rest, they’ll decide where and when. You can buy beds, but boxes suffice as much as open drawers, piles of laundry and your own bed. In some downtime between productive contributions to the economy, I found myself crafting a cat castle of inter-connected boxes, peppered with decoupage and kitty-centric artwork that rivalled the Collarsium, it put the cat back in cathartic for me. If you’re time poor (and smugly employed), buy these.
Heal – Whilst much of the healing required is to the skin of your hands and arms and perhaps even your temples, little moggy sprogs will be running around in places your vacuum cleaner (or efforts) may never have gotten to, not to mention the great outdoors that awaits. You’ll be wise to vaccinate, cats often have overlapping territory boundaries in urban settings, so fights are possible, too.
Groom – Much is done by the critter itself, making them the perfect temporary tea towel, for quickly drying wet or messy hands when in the kitchen. You can wash a cat, we sell things for that, there are tales telling of such feats in the annals of the interweb. We stand by the products we sell, but can’t guarantee your safety when administering them to your cat. A couple of shots of tequila, some sedatives for the cat and a chain-mail suit are the only accessories you’ll need to complete this task by yourself.
Treat - Training your cat with treats is well worth the effort if you have lots of effort in you. Be prepared to be trained by your cat, though, as we are on a lower evolutionary plain in their superior minds.
It’s argued that all cats should be locked up, but I’d make the same argument for locking up every human on the weight of odds and damage caused to the environment , but responsible ownership is equal parts you, your local council and the cats discretion and you have as much control over those elements as you think. If you want an indoor cat, exercise it, if you want to allow it outdoors, then limit the time it spends out there for the sake of the wildlife. Above all, desex your cat as they breed like cats otherwise.
Over the next 18-24 months your little puppy will grow up to 20 times its size as it navigates the world into adulthood. For best results, start early and:
- Socialise them at puppy pre-school, often available through your local vet
- Learn how to look after them properly and take responsibility for them, it’s as much about the owner as it is the dog
- Train them, establish some rules, boundaries and limitations. Rewards work wonders, but ‘no’ is just as important to learn
- Identify and manage behaviour problems so that you don’t have to worry when you troupe your hound
- Educate yourself about all aspects of living with puppies to continually enrich both of your lives
- Have fun and enjoy every moment, as they pass by so quickly
We evolved with dogs running alongside us hunting and foraging for food, but that’s changed dramatically over the last century as our hunt is now partaken in something resembling more a battery farm, not an open range. With most dogs now spending at least 3hrs a day holed up in your crib as you toil for your supper, separation anxiety has become prevalent and in the UK alone, it affects over 80% of dogs. A dog that is healthy, exercised regularly and has their mind stimulated is far less likely to have these issues. It’s imperative you begin to train you dog to start accepting time alone as early in their development as possible.
Play – Depending on the breed, personality and prior issues, play will be integral to socialising and exercising your dog. They’ll need toys to play with while you’re slaving for dosh, toys for the park and a whole heap of guidance and tips from you, other people and most importantly, other dogs. I’ve asked lots of dogs the same question and they all say the same thing, “woof”. Not knowing dog, I can only hope they’re saying, Play is the most important part of their day.
Feed – Where to start and how to explain the smell of puppy farts? Don’t underestimate the value of a decent feed for the garbage-guts in your crib. Sure, you can feed them anything, but that anything is processed in a digestively different gut than ours. Get them on a premium food and you’ll sleep better and won’t need to buy the special doona. There’s been a lot of uncertainty about the quality of dog foods, which was one of the main reasons we stock the brands we do. Look at the first 2 ingredients and generally speaking they should be a specific meat, meat meal and or meat by-product meal for the best nutritional benefit. Premium foods cost more, because you don’t need to feed the dog as much. The weight of the bag, divided by the daily recommended feed amount gives you the number of days that bag will last for. Premium dry foods can provide up to 3mths worth of food in a 20kg bag. Feeding happens lots of times over the course of their lives, so learn the basics, it’ll save you more in vet bills that any other thing you can and will do for your dog.
Rest – Once you’re exhausted, the puppy will need rest. Dog beds are recommended by many, as your bed will otherwise be allocated. We personally offer our dogs every available surface, but acknowledge many would prefer their bed/couches/coffee tables to be dog-free. Set your boundaries, find your compromises and don’t be surprised if hard floors and seemingly dislocated contortionism is more comfortable than the bed you choose for them. They will eat beds, you’re going to consider a Buddhist approach to things and let go of your attachment…you’ll certainly try. Puppies will dream, twitch and make all kinds of cute noises as they do, don’t be embarrassed at yourself for the softness that puddles up in your heart as a direct result.
Heal – Not heel, fools. Heal, as in heal-thy. You’ll reduce your vet bills dramatically by not buying a pup in the first place, but let’s assume you’ve got one/many anyway. They get ill, we get ill, you’re starting to see the lazy link there. Get them vaccinated, get them jacked on supplements and learn to treat minor things yourself. Cuts, contusions, skin issues and even travel sickness, they get that too, so don’t be afraid to look at natural alternatives, there’s no placebo effect on dogs and they don’t suffer brand loyalty, it either works or it doesn’t.
Groom – Not even Kelpies shower every day before work, so it’s natural for some scents to come from your pup’s coat. A good rinse in Kerosene will take the oils from the coat, so we recommend shampoo and conditioner instead. These days, you can find a dog wash in the same place you preen your car, so don’t feel you need to risk splitting your head open in the bath at home. Some dogs love water, some don’t, some cold, other’s warm thanks…you’ll be wise to sing to them if they’re a little anxious, it soothes them and amuses them, old nursery rhymes are fine, they won’t judge your vocal range. Many advocate minimal washes to preserve natural oils in the coat, others lather up on the naturals which work to minimise this issue.
Treat – Training your dog is the most important part of your day, as you only need to spend a few minutes at a time, a couple of times each day, setting some rules, boundaries and limitations, that will allow your dog to find order in the chaos of it’s gorgeous little head. There’s so much in the human world that the dog needs to learn, but the most important lessons are also ones we need to learn ourselves. Learn to sit and be calm. Walking should be a joy, not a chore. The rewards are worth the effort. Like children, there’s so much you can teach them, but good manners and a genuine respect for others is paramount. If there are behaviour issues, consider moving beyond a dog trainer to animal behaviourists. Dogs spend an increasing amount of time alone and separation anxiety affects the majority of dogs. For some, fear and/or aggression will be an ongoing challenge and the worst outcome could be fatal. Don’t be disheartened, many of these issues can be dealt with when you seek and find the right help. You’ll both benefit in the end if you’re patient and persistent.
You’ve chosen to take the responsibility for that life in your hands, possibly even the life of your curtains, carpet and favourite shoes. Remember how much you need others to be patient with you as you continue to discover all that’s wondrous in this wide, wild world and extend that same perspective to your new addition. You’ll grow and learn together, you’ll learn as much about yourself as you do about that animal, so be active and interactive and you’ll both reap the benefits of a friendship forged with love, patience and trust.
We could go on and on about Kittens and Puppies as long as the internet will stay open, but we’ve got other things to do. You do, too…cute little soft-padded feet that need prodding, games to be played and careful-not-to-crush-it cuddles to be had.