Cats live for many years, so do not offer a home to one unless you are prepared to love and care for it all its days. Kittens, like babies, need plenty of sleep. They should have their own cardboard box, or basket, with a piece of blanket inside where they can sleep in peace, well away from draughts, and they should not be picked up too often. Nor should they be squeezed, for their bones are very soft and easily damaged. And never try to pick them up by the back of the neck; only their mother does this, when they are very tiny. Also, for both kittens, and cats it is most important to remove all bones from chicken and rabbit, as these sharp bones can cause great suffering and death by piercing the intestines, or catching in the throat.
Above: Love, and the opportunity to play, are essential to all young creatures. Observe the antics of kittens and you will see the preliminaries of hunting, fighting and sexual behaviour.
The kitten’s happy future
Cats are probably one of the most popular companions for the elderly, and have the added advantage that they are self-exercising – an important point for invalids or those with infirmities. In any case, the keeping of a pet often motivates the senior members of the community to go out to shop for food, thereby also encouraging them to eat, and to make provision for adequate heating at home, thus lessening the all-too-frequent risk of hypothermia. For those who fear that they might pre-decease their pet, or are concerned that a stay in hospital would be an insoluble problem, charitable schemes are run in most areas of the country to deal with this problem. Speak to your vet if you have any fears, or a representative of the Cats’ Protection League in your area. You’d be surprised how many people love cats!