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Cat in the Box

Kittens like to explore and will get into everything, according to PetSmart manager Lindsay Brower.

SIOUX CITY | Few things are more exciting than adopting a new kitten. It can be hard to resist their cuteness and silly behavior. But the fact that it’s a real, live creature and a potential 15- to 20-year commitment should not be overlooked.

According to Lindsay Brower, Sioux City PetSmart manager, expect the unexpected when bringing home a kitten.

“Kittens are going to be little explorers,” she said. “They will want to jump on anything like counters or furniture.”

Be sure that all the basic necessities are purchased ahead of time so everything is prepared. Kittens require food and water dishes, food, treats, a litter box with litter, toys, cleaning supplies and a collar with an identification tag if it will spend time outside.

Optional purchases include scratching posts and cat trees to keep the kitten entertained when its owners aren’t home.

Kitten-proofing the home by reducing potential hazards is vital to keeping the kitten safe and happy.

Cleaning supplies are essentially a poison and can be deadly to an unsuspecting kitten.

“You want to make sure they can't get into them,” Brower said. “Keep them locked up just like you would when you have a toddler.”

Also, keep an eye on doors that lead to the outside. Kittens seeking adventure will often try to sneak outside, she said.

Electrical cords are another potential hazard for chew-happy kittens.

“They like to go to warm areas like refrigerators by the vent area, so make sure the vent is on tight so they can't get into it,” Brower said.

Despite popular belief, kittens and cats should not be left alone for a few days if the owners go on vacation.

“They need to be checked on just like any other pets,” she said. “If an owner is going to be gone for more than 12 to 14 hours, someone else should be assigned, or hired, to look in on and take care of the cat.”

This is because cats that are left alone for long periods of time can get into trouble, become depressed, and even get sick.

“For example, a cat that develops a urinary tract infection can become critically ill in less than 24 hours,” Brower said.

Cats are also mislabeled as low maintenance, she noted. While they don’t require the same amount of work as dogs, they are still social animals that need daily interaction, feeding and grooming.

“Kittens are just learning how to do everything,” Brower said. “They need lots of attention.”

She also noted that cats need to see a veterinarian regularly even if they aren’t outside cats.

“All animals are different and require lots of work,” she said. “You have to make sure you give them everything they need so they have a happy, healthy life.”

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