Your Kitten: What to Expect at 4 to 6 Months

Before adopting a cat, you should think through the consequences of their natural tendencies and be sure that it is the right pet choice for you and your lifestyle. If you are considering declawing your cat, your veterinarian may recommend performing this procedure at the same time as the spay or neuter. A declaw procedure is the surgical removal of the last bone of each toe. Many veterinarians offer it only as a last resort. Once declawed, there is no going back. Your cat will have limited defense if engaged in a fight or attempting to escape up a tree. Declawed cats must remain indoors only. Discuss your options with your veterinarian as you make your decision. Alternatives to declawing include nail caps, nail trimming and diversions such as scratching posts.

Depending on your cat’s breed and hair coat, he may need regular or even daily brushing to remove unwanted hair and prevent mats. Choose a brush designed for cats and use this grooming time to bond with your precocious feline. A bonus: Brushing your cat can reduce the number of hairballs you find in a gooey glob on the carpet later.

Your cat’s teeth also need special attention, and now is a good time to create a tooth brushing routine. You can gently massage his gums with gauze or purchase a toothbrush and toothpaste designed for cats. Just don’t use human toothpaste. Your cat will likely swallow it instead of spitting it out, and the fluoride in your toothpaste can make him sick. At around 6 months your veterinarian will likely examine your kitten’s teeth to make sure all of the deciduous teeth have fallen out naturally. If your furry bundle has a retained deciduous tooth, your veterinarian will likely remove it to prevent breakage and infection and allow the adult teeth to emerge naturally.

Training Tips

Your kitten’s tiny needle claws carry a little more punch as he gets older, and his scratching may go from uncomfortable to painful and destructive. So if you haven’t already, it’s time to invest in some heavy-duty scratching accessories and practice a regular nail trimming routine. Nail caps can also help dull your kitty’s claws' sharp edges.

Remember, scratching is a natural behavior for your furry feline. He’s stretching his spine, shedding the outer sheath of his claws and marking territory. So provide an appropriate outlet so this necessary ritual doesn’t come between you and your fuzzy darling.

Your kitten is growing up! And while he’s getting bigger, he’ll still sport that frisky kitty attitude for some time. So enjoy your play sessions together as you watch your kitten grow.

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