Ask Ms. Kitty: A Christmas kitten
By Carole Galloway
Dear Miss Kitty,
My 10-year-old daughter wants a kitten for Christmas. I’m not sure this is a good idea. What is your opinion?
Well, there are many things to consider before giving your daughter a kitten as a Christmas gift. You want to make sure she understands adopting a kitten is a big commitment and not just a gift that can be returned. Kittens are live beings with emotional and physical needs and your daughter needs to be at least partially responsible for the care so she values him/her as a member of the family.
We usually recommend you adopt two kittens together, if possible. They will have a lifelong buddy and provide many things to each other that we can’t provide.
Speaking of Commitment
If you plan to travel during Christmas you may need to wait before adopting. Kittens are pretty dependent on their caregivers for the first year of life. You cannot leave them home alone even with a friend or pet sitter that comes by every day. Kittens are extremely curious and too many dangers lurk around the corner including toys that aren’t really toys, i.e. tree ornaments, ribbons, the Christmas tree itself!
Kittens can become bored or very lonely. They do not have the emotional maturity or experience to understand that you are returning home. If you do have a kitten please be sure to have him/her stay with a responsible friend who watches out for the safety and well-being of your little one.
Boarding at a reputable cat only facility is another good option. Check with your veterinarian for recommendations and tour the facility to make sure you are happy with where your kitten will be staying.
A Little Ball of Fluff
A kitten can give your daughter a lot of love and affection. She can be a wonderful addition to your daughter’s life and help with everything from self-esteem to teaching responsibility, which are so important in raising a well-adjusted young person.
Peer pressure and demands of a school schedule are ever present in a pre-teen’s life. The bonding and love a new kitten can bring may help relieve school pressures. She will look forward to coming home to her little ball of fluff and forget the issues from the day at school. In turn, her confidence grows and she is better equipped to handle the pressures in her life.
Responsibility is a Life Long Lesson
Teaching a child the responsibility of caring for a live being is a huge benefit of adopting a kitten. Make it your daughter’s job to take care of daily feeding, fresh water, and keeping a fastidious litter box. Kittens also need lots of attention and interactive playtime with safe kitten toys throughout the day, not just when it’s remembered.
I remember the valuable lessons my son learned when he was responsible for his kitten. We set up a schedule of daily tasks that needed to be done. Teaching the many responsibilities of caring for another living being will help your daughter grow into a more caring, thoughtful, and responsible person.
Good Homes are Always needed for Kittens and Cats
As you may know, there is always an abundance of kittens and cats that need caring, loving homes. Adopting a kitten, juvenile, or adult cat from a shelter, like Happy Cats Haven, is a wonderful way to help save homeless kittens or cats.
Knowledgeable and caring individuals from a reputable shelter can help guide you to the kitten that best suits your family. They can also help you find a wonderful pair of kittens so they have a buddy for the rest of their lives!
Happy Cats Haven is a valuable resource for you to use in the future as well. They can give advice about toys, cat trees or even behavior issues.
Their Kitten Kindergarten class is a must for all new kitten owners. Classes are held the first Tuesday of the month at the Manitou Art Center at 513 Manitou Ave. Please go online (see below) to sign up for the next class on Dec. 4.
Ask Ms. Kitty is a free helpline offered by Happy Cats Haven, managed by Colorado CATS, and sponsored by Maddies’s Fund. If you need help with your cat’s behavior, go to HappyCatsHaven.org.
Carole Galloway is the owner of Colorado CATS, a luxury cat only boarding facility in Colorado Springs. She opened this one of a kind facility in 1995 and it has prospered ever since! Carole has cared for thousands of cats over the years and developed a keen interest in their behavior. She is uniquely qualified to understand and solve cat behavior issues. Carole has worked as a professional Feline Behaviorist for the past 15 years.