Chapter 15: Cat Tree for your kitten

Your kitten is enjoying exploring his new forever home, jumping up and down from the sofa, the chairs, the chest of drawers etc… basically the whole forniture in your house, so you just start wondering…Does my cat need a cat tree? Is it a good idea buy one? What do I need to look for when I buy a cat tree?

When we got Otto, initially we bought a small scratcher but after a couple of months, because he was growing up, we realised that we neede to buy him a bigger one.

We decided to buy him a cat tree so he could play with it, stay active and healthy and at the same time scartch his claws on in and not on our furniture!!!

Cats, in the wild, don’t only explore the horizontal side of the world but they make use also of vertical aspects of the enviroment. They love to have vertical space, for safety, comfort and hunting.

In the wild, infact, they climb up trees to be able to observe what’s going on around them from a safe place and they use trees to target prey or get away from predators.

So for an idoor cat, a cat tree is the best option to follow his natural instincts!

But there very solid and good reasons why you should buy a cat tree for your fur baby:

  1. Keep your cat active and fit: cat trees allow to your kitty to get exercise encouraging him to jump up and down which it is great for keeping his muscles in top condition, without walk him on a leash outside.
  2. Give him a safe personal place: The tree will provide your cat with a safe space that it belongs to only him, where he can groom himself and sleep without being disturbed.
  3. It’s an excellent way to keep them amused and entertained: It can provide hours of endless fun. Especially if you’re not at home for long periods of time, the tree and all its extras will keep your kitty occupied and engaged, keeping him from taking out his boredom by scratching couches and chairs! Your kitty will be happy to be able to jump from perch to perch and play with attached toys of the cat tree!
  4. It will avoid your furniture to be scratched: a cat tree will redirect the desire of your kitty to scratch his claws to a place that is acceptable. Cat trees are typically completely covered in carpet. Most cat trees also come with special locations that have either sisal or rope for your cat to scratch!
  5. Give to your cat a control point: Cats feel like the king of the castle and they like to climb onto high-raised furniture where they can sit for hours looking down and keep an eye on what’s going on in the house. A cat tree with an high spot will give a sense of control and will avoid your cat jumping around on your furniture t reach the highest point of the house!
  6. Increase your cat’s territory: a cat tree is a great way to increase vertical territory. If you have more than one cat it’s a really good opportunity for more than one cat to share a close space while maintaining any sort of pecking order. Infact, the different levels of the perches allow cats to be close together but not right next to each other.

So, it’s defenitly a smart and good choice investing in a cat tree!

On the market there so many different options that you can purchase but there are some few factors to keep in mind when you choose a cat tree:

  1. Wide and sturdy base: Make sure it has a wide base. The base of a cat tree needs to be sturdy enough to keep it from tipping over or wobbling when your kitten climbs on even because when your cat will be fully grown, he will weigh between 7 and 20 pounds and a wide sturdy base will make sure the cat tree won’t fall when your cat is on it enjoying jumping un and down!
  2. Different levels: look for a cat tower with different levels! Make sure your cat tree has various scratching surfaces, sitting, sleeping, and hiding areas on different levels. This will give t your cat new spots to explore and it will keep him entertained for long times.
  3. Hang toys: they are a really good plus to a cat tree because they make it even more tempting and enjoyable for your kitty!
  4. Size: make sure to purchase a  cat tree big enough for your cat to fit comfortably!
  5. Cat personality: take in consideration your cat personality when you decide to purchase a cat tree!
  6. Price: High-quality cat furniture are quite expensive. So, be prepared to spend some money if you want to purchase a good quality and durable one!

When we decide to buy a cat tree for our Otto, we looked for oa good one on line and at the pet store for a long time until we found the right one for Otto and for us.

We bought it on Amazon and Otto loved it instantly. It’s good quality, has 3 sleeping spot and 3 hiding spots. Also it has a big scratch pole built in and It came with an attachted plush ball which the cat can play with. Top notch was that scratching washable pads and an extra plush ball were included!

I have to say that it wasn’t cheap at all but it was worth the money!

It has been the best purchase ever! Otto loves sleep on the highest level of the tree and enjoys play with the attached ball! He spends hours playing with it! He also loves scratch his claws on it and stretch himself on the big pole after a nap! Since we bought it, the sofa and the whole apartement forniture don’t exist anymore for Otto!

We are so happy to have a playful, loving and healthy kitty! We loove you so much little Otto!

Chapter 14: Neutering your kitty

Your fur baby is happy, healthy and playful. He is enjoying spending time with you and hi si growing so fast. So, you start thinking…Do I really consider neutering my cat? Which is the ideal age for neutering a kitty? Will my cat be different after the neutering? How do I need to take care of my cat after his operation?

Well, after few weeks we adopted Otto, we really started to consider to neuter him and we discussed about for a while. When we took Otto to the vet for his first vaccinations, we had a chat with one of the nurses. She explained to us what neutering consisted, when it is adviced to do it. Once we headed back home, my husband and I discussed about it and we made our decision. We decided to neuter Otto at five months old and we phoned the vet to schedule the operation.

Neutering is surgically preventing cats from reproducing.

In males, the operation is called castration and it consists in the removal of the testicles through an incision made in the skin of the scrotum.

In females it’s called spaying instead consist in the removal of the uterus and ovaries through an incision made below the belly button into the abdomen.

The surgical procedures are done under general anesthesia. Because these involve surgery, your cat will have some discomfort but the vet will give him medications to control the pain. Most of the cats are normally up and walk just a few hours after they’ve had their operation.

Normally kitten can be neuterd from four months age. You could think that kittens at the age are still very young but they can become sexually mature very quickly after 4 months. It also adviced to do it at this age in order to prevent unwanted pregnancies.

Infact, there are really good reasons why you should neuter your cat:

For female cats

  1. No risk of pregnancy.
  2. It eliminate the risk of uterine infection.
  3. It reduce the occurrence of mammary tumour.
  4. It reduce the chances of cat escaping from home, which it tents to happen often the cats are in heat, get hit by cars, or get hurt.

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For male cats

  1. It reduces their chance of catching feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV).
  2. It reduces the chances of cat escaping from home, which it tents to happen often the cats are in heat, and get hit by cars, or get hurt.
  3. It reduces consistently the possibility that your cat will mark their territory with a very pungent spray which it will be extremely hard (if not impossible) to remove from your apartment!

You will probably thinking that neutering can change your cat but thsi is only partially true!

Even if neutering produces some changes in the behavioural aspects of cats because the hormons produced by the testicles or the ovaries are not circulating anymore in the blood, this will not change your cat personality at all! So, don’t worry!

The most important fase about neutering a cat is the after care of your fur baby at home and these below are few tips that will help you a lot:

  • Stay with your cat on the first night so you can observe him and monitor his recovery.
  • Give him small amount of water and top up the bowl when necessary.
  • Give him very small amount of food when he is awake and alert.
  • The day after surgery, give your cat regular amounts of water and food.
  • Place a clean litter box close to your cat’s resting place because it’s not ideal let him walk after the surgery.
  • Use a paper litter for few days after the surgery because dirt or dust from the litter can find a way into the incisions and cause infection.
  • Monitor the wound for signs of infection as heat, redness, swelling and discharge
  • Make sure he won’t lick the wound to avoid infection.
  • Monitor his urine for blood. A small amount of blood within the first 24 hours post-surgery is normal but if there is still blood the next day, just give a call to your vet.
  • Keep him indoors until he is fully recovered.
  • Don’t let him climb stairs, run, jump, or play rough during the first week after neutering.

When we neutered Otto, we have been extremly lucky. When we went to get him from te Vet because he was ready to come home, the nurse went through with us about how to manage our kitten in the post op and what we had to look for.

She explained to us how to feed him for the rest of day, just giving him small amount of food for the day and eating normally the next day. She adviced us to monitor his wound, as the incision was very small and they didn’t use any stitches, and make sure that he was not licking it to avoid any infection. She said to keep him indoor for a while and avoid juming, running and rough play for few days to allow the wound to heal properly. She was also told us that we could call them any time if we had noticed anything concerning about his wound as swellig, discharging and redness and they would have seen him straight away.

This information makes Otto’s recovery less stressful and easier for us! And after a week, our Otto was completely recover, jumping, running around the apartmet and playing happly with his favourite plush mouse!

We could’t be more lucky that our little Otto has fully recovered from the operation and he is healthy and happy!

Chapter 13: Cat Grass

Your beautiful and playful kitten is enjoying his new life with you in his forevere home, he’s purring at you shiwing his love and affection and he is alsway excited when it’s eating time. But you are thinking. . .Do cat eat cat grass? Is it essentiat for them eating grass? How do I grow cat grass if my cat lives indoor and I don’t have a garden?

Well, while we were spending time with Otto in our flat, we didn’t really think we should have get him cat grass and we thought he didn’t need it.

Only when my husband’s sister talk us about it we realized that we had to know more about to decide if it was a good idea get it for our Otto.

In the wild, cats don’t need to eat much grass because when they hunt their prey, they eat the whole animal (bones excluded) so they gets all the nutrients and fibres they need in the diet. Instead, home cats normally eat can food that contains a lower amount of fibre. So, home cats might introduce the right amount of fibre in their diet hunting in your garden or ingesting fibrous foods such as cat grass.

Cat grass is a variety of grass that may appeal to your cat for nibbling on and ingesting. It grows from rye, barley, oat or wheat seeds.

Cat grass is also a safe and healthy alternative to outdoor grass, avoiding that your kitty will go niblbling in your neighbour garden, possibly treated with pesticides, toxic for him. For indoor cats it’s a good alternative to have a nice and healthy taste os the outside world.

It provides your cat with an opportunity to engage in a natural behavior. For outdoor cats, an indoor garden provides a healthy alternative to nibbling on the neighbors’ possibly pesticide-laced lawn. For indoor cats, it offers a delicious taste of the outdoors.

It’s also great addiction to your cat’s diet and he can benefit from eating occasionaly for these reasons:

  • It’s a good supplement to cats’ diet because it contains niacin and B vitamins.
  • It helps your cat digestion. Eating cat grass, your kitty introduces in his digestive system more fibres easing digestion process.
  • It helps your cat getting rid of his system any potential toxins or something he is not able to digest, inducing the vomit.
  • It can help coughing up hair balls. Indoor cats spend most of their day grooming themselves: this eases the formation of hair balls. Eating cat grass regularly can prevent the build-up of hairballs in their stomach.

So, when we realized that it was a really good idea getting cat grass for our kitty, especially because Otto lives indoor and we just have a balcony in our apartament, we looked around for a good option.

You can buy Cat grass online or in your pet store. There are available on the market a variety of kitty grass kits which contain everything you need, including seeds, soil and a potting container.

That’s what we went for. We bought it on-line (https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0085IL0BM/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o05_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1) and it was very unexpensive and easy to use.

When the kit arrived, we started immediatily to set it up so our little Otto could have his cat grass very soon.

All we had to do was following the instructions on the box and there we go cat grass!!!

Growing cat grass is very simple, just follow the instructions contained in your box and keep in mind these tips:

  1. Before the seeds sprout, keep them damp and don’t soak them. Once the sprouts appear, use less water.
  2. The seeds will sprout in 3 to 7 days
  3. Keep it in natural light and spray it with water daily
  4. The grass will be ready to be eaten by your kitty in 10- 14 days or once it has reached a height of four inches
  5. Allow your cat to eat directly from the pot or the container you used to grow the cat grass.
  6. It should last 1-3 weeks.
  7. When the grass starts to change colour, plant a new container.

When we introduced the cat grass to Otto, it took a few good minutes before he ralized that it could eat and play with it. I have to say that he spent most of day playing and chewing now and then the cat grass and he kept eating it day by day until he saw the end of it! It was so much fun seeing Otto enjoying his cat grass!

We love you so much Otto!

Chapter 12: Harness and leash for your kitten

You are enjoying spending time with your kitten, playing with him and having fun together. He had done all the vaccination and now it’s Spring and you are wondering…Can I bring my cat outside for a walk? Which is the best and safest way to bring him out to explore the outside world? Do I need to training him to go out for a walk?

Well, when we got Otto, after he had all his vaccinations, we started thinking if we could be able to bring him out for a walk to take some fresh air and explore the world.

So we decided to get as much infromation from the web and from friends who have a cat and are used to go out for a walk with their cats.

Thanks to that, we discovered that of course you can bring your cat outside but there are two main factors to consider:

  • Age: If you are really committed to bring your cat for a leash walking, it’s very important to start introducing him to it since he is young. In this way, it will be easier to train your kitty and make it part of his routine.  This doesn’t mean that you can’t train an older cat but it might take a longer time and more patience.

  • Cat personality: Consider your cat personality. If your cat is adventurous and shows an interest in going outside as he’s looking often outside of the window or he’s bored inside the house because he lives in a small apartment and tries to escape from the main door every single time you come back home, he will probably enjoy go outside for a walk and some fresh air. If instead your cat enjoys spend time sleeping or on the sofa next to you and he is not interested at all on what’s going on outside, probably he won’t like to go outside for a walk!

So, if your cat doesn’t like to cat leash walking, this means he doesn’t want to walk on a leash and that’s absolutely fine! Instead just provide him plenty options for indoor entertainement and let him explore every single corner of the house and he will be super happy!

Once you have understood if your cat can enjoy going for a walk outside, you have to pick the device you will use. You can choose two types:

  • Collar: it sits on your kitty’s neck and when it is attached to a leash, the pressure will go on your kitty neck with the chance of choking him. Also it’s not safe to use a collar to go for a walk with your fur baby because he can easily slip out of it!

  • Harness: It sits on his shoulders, under the tummy and distributes the pressure across so it doesn’t choke your kitty.  It’s the safest option to pick because it prevents your kitty to slip out of it and it’s the best for training him to enjoy going for a walk!

When we decide to try trining Otto to bring him out for a walk, we opted to use a harness with leash because it was the saftest option. We love Otto so much and we want to keep him safe and have a heathly and happy life. So we had a look around and we found a really good harness on amazon (https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B088FCXYXW/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1).

It’s really good quality and it comes with a leash. It’s comfortable and safe, breathable & lightweight. It’s easy to put on and you can adjust the size to your kitty to fit him properly. Plus, it has a reflective design that makes yor fur baby visible in low light conditions!

After we received the harness, we started training Otto and the fun began!

At first, we just introduced it to him and we left him smell it, play with it so he could familiarze with it. After a while we start to touch him with the harness and we gave him a treat every single time he was doing it as positive reinforce. When he was comfortable with it, we started to let him wear it, initially for short period of time and then increasing slowing the time he was wearing.

When he was happy and comfortbale wearing it, we attached the leash and we let him play, walk and run with it attached to the harness in the house on his own. After a while, we took the next step: I took the leash in my hand and I just let Otto go anywere he wanted to go, exploring the house.

When he was fine with me holding the leash, we started to guide him where to go inside the flat. I have to say that this took a bit of time and a lot of patience but don’t forget that Otto is a kitten and not a puppy! And it will be totally worth it!

When he was use to be guided by me, we started to bring him out little by litte. Initially we just stayed for a short period of time outside just to take it easy and don’t stresst Otto too much.

Day by day he started exploring the communal corridor of the bulding where we live. Few day after he climbed down the stairs and then we finally managed to arrive at the ground floor. After a while he explored the inside of the bulding, one day we decided to open the main door to see if Otto would go out in the communal garden and suprise…. he was so curious that step by step he went outside to explore the garden!!!

We couldn’t believe to our eyes!!!

When you decide to train your cat there are some step to follow to make the cat leash walking the best experience for your kitty:

  1. Get him used to wearing the harness indoors.
  2. Get himt used to walking on the leash indoors without guide.
  3. Get him used to be guided indoor.
  4. Walk him indoors.
  5. Go Outside!

Also, these are some tips and advice from my personal experience that can help you when you are training your cat:

  1. Just proceed step by step and let your cat take his time to get comfortable to the harness and leash. The more time you give your cat to adjust to every new step, the easier everything that follows will be.
  2. Always give your kitty treat when he accomplishes a goal during the training as a positive reinforce, so your cat will think that he is doing a good thing
  3. Be patient: remember this is a new experience for your furry friend and yourself
  4. Build trust with your kitty going often in familiar places and for short outings, and let your cat lead the way.
  5. Incorporates the walking into your cat’s daily routine since he’s young. It will become  familiar to them, it will be a life-long habit form and your kitty will be so happy to explore the world and sharing the experience with you!

Since Otto explored the ouside world for the first time, he always enjoys going for a walk! Every single time we are ready to go outside, as soon he hears the door opening, he becaomes so excited and starts to meowing loud because he wants to go out! We couldn’t be more lucky to have such and adventurous kitten and we love him so much!

Chapter 11: Kitten Teething and Dental Care

You have your adorable kitten at home, he is eating fine, loves playing with you and exploring the house until one day you realize that one of his teeth is missing. So, do kitten and cat teeth? Do kittens lose their baby teeth and when? How do I take care of his teeth in the best possible way?

Well, after a while we adopted Otto, we had a surprise: one day, after I came back from work, I decided to watch a film on TV and as usual Otto joined me on the sofa to be cuddled after he hasn’t seen me all day. While I was cuddling him, he made a big yawn and it looked that something was different in his mouth. Then I realized that one of his teeth was missing!!! That explained why he was enjoying so much chewing his toys in the past days and why he wasn’t hungry as usual!

Kitten and cats, like us, do teeth. Kitten normally don’t have teeth when they are born but their baby teeth will appear at 2-4 weeks and they are usually called milk teeth. Then, around 3 -4 months , the milk teeth start to fall out and they are replaced by adult teeth. The teething time normally lasts about three months or so.

Our Otto lost one of his first teeth around 12-13 weeks, so just after around 3 weeks we adopted. Normally kittens are given to adption around 10-12 weeks of age or sometimes even a bit older, so don’t worry if you see your kitten losing teeth just after you brough him in his forever home, it’s absolutely normal!

You can easly understand when your kitty is teeting just recognising these signs:

  1. Missing teeth: If you are lucky, you may find lost teeth on the floor! If you don’t find them, there is nothing to worry about because kittens commonly swallow their baby teeth and this is not a concern for their health.
  2. Sore gums.
  3. Small gum bleeding: Kittens do have a little bleeding when they lose teeth, but it will stop on its own.
  4. Increased chewing: you might see your kitten chewing his toys more than usual because this eases some of the pressure from emerging of the teeth
  5. Less appetite: your kitty might have less appetite than normal. This is due to the sore gums which make difficult for him to eat food especially if it’s not very soft.
  6. Face sensitivity: your kitten might show discomfort when you try to touch his face
  7. Increased irratibility: the kitten might looked more irritable and grumpy than usual

During the teething period there are just a couple of suggestion to keep in mind to help your kitten:

  1. Feed him with soft food: avoid giving him crunch food and prefer wet food which is easy to chew especially if his gums are very sore
  2. Avoid brushing his teeth: this will make sure that your kitten doesn’t think that brushing is painful, and it makes the teeth cleaning time so much easier for you and your fur baby!
  3. Considering buying teething toys: give your kitty few different options so she can choose what feels best.

Except the teething time, it’s a good idea reguraly taking care of your cat teeth.

Kittens and cat dental care consists in regural teeth brushing and mouth checks. It’s a great idea introduce teeth brushing to the kitten since young age so they will appreciate it when they are older and their adult teeth come in.

At first, just let your kitten lick a little pet toothpaste off of your finger and when he’s comfortable with it just introduce slowly the pet toobrush. Initially just let him smell it and then brush his teeth for few seconds. After few times, increase slowly the time until your kitty will be comfortable and relax having his teeth brushed.

If your kitty doens’t tolerate the toothbrush, there some good alternatives that you can take in consideration:

  1. Dental wipes, rinses and pads: they need to be used daily. They are very good to wipe off plaque deposits from the surface but they will not remove food residues from the gums.
  2. Dental Treats: they don’t replace the daily brushing but they can reduce plaque and tartar up to 69 percent.

The other aspect to take in consideration is the mouth check. Ideally you should check your cat’s mouth quite regurarly to identify any issuse and treat it at the appropriate time without put at risk your cat’s health.

During teeting time, and even after, it would be ideal checking your kitty mouth once a week. Just gently open his mouth and have a look. Check if you see a dooble tooth.

Sometimes, the kitten teeth don’t fall out and it continues to occupy space where only the adult teeth should be. For this reason, they are called retained deciduous teeth. If this happen, call your vet. Retained deciduous teeth need be extracted surgically once they are found to avoid dental problems.

Even if we panicked when we realize Otto missed a tooth, we have been extremely lucky. Otto went through the teeting time without any big trouble. He was biting more than usual but we provided him some soft chewing toys. He enjoyed using and chewing them!

His favourites were some soft plus worms. He was carring them in his mouth and chewing them all the time. Sometimes he was also bringing them in his favorite hidden spot, under the sofa and enjoyng chewing them without being seen!

He also didn’t have a lot of appetite just for few days but after that, he went back to eating normally leaving his bowl empty and polished, pretty much like new!

We also bougth some dental treats to give him every now and then. He liked it stright away! Even now I just need to shake the treats bag and he comes running to me to have them!

We couldn’t be more lucky even this time and we enjoy having our little bundle of hair around purring all the times to show his love for us! We love you so much Otto!

Chapter 10: First health check for your kitten

You kitty is finally settled and he’s enjoying his new home but now it’s time for his first trip to the vet for his health check. When is it better to bring your kitty to the vet? What informations the vet will need? What is going to happen at the vet appointment? How to make sure your kitty will enjoy his trip?

Well, when we got Otto, we did our best to bring it to the vet to be checked just to make sure he was healthy and everything was fine. 

Before we went to collect him from the breeder, we had a look to find which veterinary clinics were around our area, quite close to our home and with a good reputation. We found “Vets4Pets” veterinary clinic was very close and with a good reputation.

On the adoption day, the breeder confirmed us that the clinic we picked was good and Otto’s mum was followed by them and they have been fabulous looking after her. He also made sure we had all the informations we needed about Otto, so we could help the vet to register and check him properly at the first appointment.

It’s very important when you adopt a kitten that you get all the main information about your kitten health from the breeder. So, make sure that before you leave the breeder’s house you have these pieces of evidences and info:

  • Date of birth
  • Any complication at the birth,
  • When he has been wormed and fleaded,
  • When he has been vaccinated and which vaccinations he received
  • Pedigree Certificate and registration if it is a pedigree kitten
  • Any health problem that he could have inherited from the mother that will need surgical attention in the future

Having all this informations will make easy to answer to all the vet’s question at the first health check appointment.

We decided to take an appointment for Otto for his health check as soon as we can.

When you adopt a kitten, it’s very important to check his general health. It would be ideal if you can have him checked straight away before you bring him home but it’s not always possible. So just try to get an appointment as soon as you can to get your kitten check by the vet just to make sure he is healthy and find out immediately if there are any special treatment that he will require.

For us, it’s been even more tricky get Otto to be check straight away from the vet due to Covid-19 pandemic. We have to book an appointment through their online website. I have to say that it was very simple and easy and luckily we managed to get an appointment in few days.

Few days before the appointment, the vet clinic sent us an email to get all the informations they need to register Otto at the clinic and tell us what to do with Otto the day before the appointment. Thanks to our experience, now I’m able to give you some really nice tips to make the visit to the vet less stressful for your fur baby:

  1. Use a carrier to bring the kitten to the clinic
  2. The day before the vet trip, leave the carrier in a room and let the kitten explore it and smell it
  3. Put his blanket and some toys inside the carrier so during the trip your kitten will feel safe and at home

This is exactly what we have done to bring Otto to his first health check and he was very relaxed and only a bit agitated. He is been very good and we didn’t have any issues!

Due to Covid 19 situation, only one of us could go with Otto to the vet and no one could go inside the room during the health check but the staff was so nice, kind and helpful. They went through with me about everything they checked explaining what they were looking for.

So, first of all, the veterinarian will perform a physical examination of your kitty to find physical abnormalities and this is what he will check:

  • Looking inside your kitten’s mouth and checking the teeth, the tongue, and the roof of the mouth.
  • Checking his temperature.
  • Palpating his abdomen.
  • Listening to his heart and lungs.
  • Checking his mobility, testing his muscles and joints.
  • Checking his eyes.
  • Checking his ears for mites.
  • Combing his fur for evidence of fleas.
  • Checking his weight
  • Give him first shot of vaccinations if appropriate.

If your kitten is not vacccinated, on the first health check the vet will give him even his first shoft of vaccinations.

Kitten and cats are normally vaccinated against the feline panleucopaenia virus (FPLV), feline herpes virus (FHV) and feline calicivirus (FCV) known aslo as Tricat Trio and the the Feline Leukemia Virus (FELV).

Normally, kitten can be vaccinated from nine weeks old and will need a second set of injections 2-4 weeks after the first shot to complete the course. Then your cat will need to have a booster shot once a year to make sure he stays fully protected for his whole life.

Luckily, our little Otto was perfectly healthy and everything was fine! He passed his health check with amazing marks and the nurse, when she gave it back to me, said that he has also been super brave when he had his vaccination jab!!! We couldn’t be more happy to have a perfectly healthy and full of energy fur baby to love!

Chapter 9: Play time with your kitten

You have fed your kitten and cleaned his litter and now your kitty is looking at you with a look that it says: “Can you play with me, please?” But… how should you play with him? Which are the best toys to play with for him?

Well, when we got Otto, after few days he has been with us, we started to spend some time playing with him because we really wanted to bond with him and help to grow healthy and happy. Before his arrival in our home we bought some toys as a ball with a bell inside that makes sound when it rolls and a small plush mouse, just to have something to entertainer him a bit.

On the adoption day, the breeder also suggested to buy a cat teaser because Otto and his sibilings were enjoying playing with it. So we decided to have look on different websites to find a good cat teaser and after a while we found a really good one on amazon and we bought it ((https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07TLJ1B1G/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o09_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1)

It’s a retractable cat teaser wand that comes with 6 different coloured worms with bell. It also included a toy ball with a mouse stuck on top which it went straitght in to the bin because its tails was made with feathers and Otto was trying to eat them as soon we opened the box! Otto enjoys playing with it and running behind it and catch his prey!

Play time is very important in the kittens growth. The life of the kitten is in fact all about playing and having fun. The kitten starts to play from an early age, from the first weeks of life, where he plays with his brothers. With the passing of the weeks, the kittens then begin to play with items which they stalk, pounce on, bat, grasp and bite.

In this way the kittens do nothing but follow their natural instinct of hunters and develop the skills for hunting, exactly what they would do if they lived in the wild. The game plays a really important role in the physical and psychological growth of the cat for two reasons:

  1. It helps the cat to grow healthy, active and stay in shape: thanks to the game, the cat gets active and fit, does exercise, keep the muscles toned and strong.
  2. It helps the kitten in socializing: thanks to the game, the cat is able to learn socializing and developing social and communication skills

In this way the cat not only grows healthy, fit, also manages to download his predatory instincts, it allows the cat to do exercise which reduces weight gain and future health problems, prevents behavior problems and also relieves boredom which is very important especially important if your cat lives indoor and doesn’t have any access to the outside world!

The game is also an important way to improve your bond with the cat. Just don’t forget that when you play with your kitty, you have a crucial role by giving him lots of attention, so play with him as much as you can.

So if you really want to bod with your cat, this is some suggestions to follow when you play with him:

  1. Play for a few short sessions with your kitten every day.
  2. Provide a variety of toys: cat loves toys they can play with on their own and those that you use to play with them but also items for your cat to explore, such as cardboard boxes, shopping bags, packing paper and toys that encourage them to investigate various holes with their paws.
  3. Try to use, during play-time, motorized toys as remoted controll mice. They are are great for capturing your cat’s attention and then getting them to stalk, pounce and chase. Even cat teaser with feather toys attached to the end of a wand or string, are good bird replicas for your kitty to play the hunt game and catch his prey. Using these types of toys makes you and your cat interact more as you are playing together at the same game and it will make you bond even more!
  4. Make him play with interactive toys. These challenge the cat to get to treats through different openings and can keep your kitty entertained and mentally stimulated. Also, in the end he will be happy to get his reward and enjoy to eat his treats!
  5. Don’t forget to introduce every now and then new toys, to keep your cat from becoming bored.
  6. Make sure you will let him catch the “prey” from time to time. This will keep playtime interesting for your kitty.
  7. Have fun and enjoy spending time playing with your cat!

For us, playing with Otto is just one of the most amazing, fun way to spend time with him. He loves playing with the cat teaser. He always hides himself behind a curtain or a pillow on the sofa or inside his sleeping bed, or behind the door and wait there for the right moment to jump out and catch his prey! We have so much fun all togheter! He also enjoys playing with his plush mouse! He is so funny when he carries it around the house and at bed time he just arrives on our bed with his mouse in his mouth, proud to have catched it, showing his trophy to us!

After a while Otto have been playing with the same toys, we decided to break the routine with another toy and we opted for an interactive one that he could also play with on his own even when we weren’t at home.

We found this intersting sense play circuit by Catit on zooplus (https://www.zooplus.co.uk/shop/cats/cat_toys/catit_design_senses/133881). It’s basically a circuit with holes in the track so that the cat can see, catch and chase the ball. It includes one ball and also you can expand buying other attachments!

It looked like a really good toy and all the reviews were super positive. So we though to give it a go and we also decided to buy a different ball from the one inclueded in the toy. This one was lighting up as you touched! When finally the order came and the circuit was build up, Otto started to play with it almost instanlty. He was enjoying putting his paws in the holes and trying to catch the balls and he was so captured by the other ball lighting up when it was running in the circuit truck! The first day he played with it for more than one hour no stop! Paws up from Otto for the toy!

And even now he plays a lot with it and he always play with it before he comes to sleep on our bed!

Chapter 8: Litter and Litter Box

You are finally feeding your fur baby with good quality food and he is enjoying his food but when it’s time to poo, which will be the best litter to use? And which type of litter box does a better job?

Well, when we took our Otto home, we had already set up the litter box with litter. We picked a nice close litter box with filter to reduce the odors just because the only spot avialable in our flat, where we could place the litter box, was our second bathroom. We also decide to keep using the same litter box the breeder was using at least for the first period just to help our kitty to settle nicely in his new home. Only later we started to try different litters to find the right one for us and for our kitten.

I have to say that when we had look for the litter box online and in the shop, we found so many options to choose from! Maybe even too many!

These are the different types of litter boxes available at the moment on the market:

  1. Covered litter box
  2. Uncovered litter box
  3. Self-cleaning litter box
  4. Hidden litter box

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Covered Litter box

It consists in a tray that has a cover. This can be removed easily for the cleaning. It also has a small front door that allows the cat to go inside and a carbon filter to help controlling odours.

Pros:

  1. It offers more privacy than an open box.
  2. It help to contain odours, litter spread, and urine spray.

Cons:

  1. The filter is exposed on top of the hood.
  2. You will need a good amount of needs litter to fill the pan.
  3. It needs to be avoid if your cat has asthma or arthritis.

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Uncovered Litter box

It consists in a big tray without cover.

Pros:

  1. It’s easy to scoop.
  2. It’s easy to clean. Just scoop out the poo when it needs to be clean and just easily  pour out the litter if you need to completely empty the box!
  3. It’s affordable for your pockets!

Cons:

  1. May offer less odour protection than a covered box
  2. It’s offers less privacy than a covered box

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Self cleaning litter box

It consists in a covered automatic self-cleaning box that use a sifting process to separate waste from clean litter. Sifted waste is collected in a waste drawer and all you have to do is s empty it out, refill it with the litter.

Pros:

  1. It’s automatic and self-cleaning.
  2. It reduces odour build-up.
  3. It has low maintenance.

Cons:

  1. It is very expensive compared to traditional litter boxes prices.
  2. It can sometimes be noisy.
  3. It requires electricity to work.

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Hidden Litter box:

It’s basically a litter box hidden in nice furniture and it contains filtered vented system that controls odours and dust.

Pros:

  1. It’s particularly suitable for smaller apartments.
  2. It’s a perfect addition to the home interior that will look nice and match the style of your apartment.

Cons:

  1. It might be not very easy to clean.
  2. Your cat might not like it.

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Now it’s time to pick a litter box for kitten but which one will be the bets for you and for him?

Here, you can find some handy suggestion to help to make the right choice:

  1. Make sure the litter box is big enough for you cat:  pick one that is the right size and allow him to have enough space to step all the way into the box, turn around comfortably and dig a hole to do his business!
  2. If you choose an open litter box, pick one with the right height: when you are choosing a litter box, make sure to check out the sides of the box. Almost all cats are okay with semi-high sides, but a kitten needs a litter box with shorter sides so it’s easy for him to access it and use it.
  3. Buy different types of boxes and see which one your cat likes and it’s good for you as well! It might take few tries but it will be worth it!

Now, the only thing you need is the litter! After using for a while the same litter suggested by the breeder, we decided to look for a good litter for the kitten and for us. Even this time we found on the market so many different options to pick from!!!

These are the types of litter you can find:

  1. Clay Litter
  2. Clumping Litter
  3. Crystal Litter
  4. Recycled paper Litter
  5. Pine,Wheat or Corn Litter

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Clay Litter

It is dried pulverized clay. This absorbs the urine and gives the cat something to dig and bury the stool with.

Pros:

  1. It’ easy to clean. You just need to scoop it put the poo and change the litter regularly.
  2. It’s very cheap.

Cons:

  1. It can stick to your cat’s paw. This mean that it can track easily around your house and you might find yourself sweeping up after you cat finished his business!
  2. It doesn’t control odours very well.

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Clumping Litter

It is made with a clay base that makes the clumps stick together into balls when it comes in contact with fluids. This is makes easy to scoop out the faeces and urines and remove the main cause of the odours.

Pros:

  1. It’s easy to find.
  2. It’s not very expensive.
  3. It controls odours quite well.
  4. It’s easy to clean.

Cons:

  1. As for the clay one, it can stick to your cat’s paw. This mean that it can track easily around your hose and you might find yourself sweeping up after you cat finished his business!

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Crystal Litter

It’s a silicone-based litter that absorb urine, the moisture in faeces and the odours.

Pros:

  1. It’s super absorbent, so you don’t need to use too much.
  2. It’s easy to clean.
  3. It’s low dust.

Cons:

  1. It’s quite expensive.
  2. It can, as the clay and the clumping litter, stick to the paws and track around the house.

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Recycled paper Litter

It’s a biodegradable type of litter and it is formed into large pellets made from recycled paper.

Pros:

  1. It’s very absorbent.
  2. It controls odours quite well.
  3. It doesn’t stick to the paws and it doesn’t track.
  4. It’s dust free.

Cons:

  1. Your cat might end up playing with the pellets!

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Pine, Wheat or Corn Litter

These are other types of biodegradable litters and they neutralize odours right in the box.

Pros:

  1. They don’t stick easily in your cat paws, so they don’t track easily around the house.
  2. They control well the odours.
  3. They are easy to clean. Some brands are even flushable in the toilet!
  4. They are lower in dust.

Cons:

  1. Your cat might try to eat it especially if you opt for a wheat or corn litter and this is not good for your cat’s health!

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Here some tips to choose the right litter for you and your fur baby and get the best results:

  1. For the first period use the same litter the breed was using; when the kitten is settled in nicely you can start to change the litter.
  2. If you want to change the type of litter, just do it gradually by mixing more and more of the new litter into the old until you end up using only the new litter.
  3. When you starting your new kitten out in a type of litter, continue to use the same type for his whole life.
  4. Make sure it’s low dust or dust free because dust can cause respiratory problems to cats.
  5. Try to find the type that suits your home and your pockets.
  6. Try to find a litter that your cat likes and enjoy to use it.
  7. Always make sure you have a scoop to clean the litter box. This will make your life easier when it’s time to clean!
  8. Make sure to put a litter box mat under the litter box so you will keep the floor clean and you cat will not carry any litter around the house

For us choosing the right litter for our Otto was quite a job and it took a lot of effort and many tries! But this was all worth it because we found a litter that Otto likes and that we likes!! We initially decided to try the recycled paper litter. It looked a good option at the start. It was easy to clean, good odours control and no pellets stuck on Otto’s paws. And also, Otto was quite happy to use it. So, you might think: you found your litter! Well, we though the same thing until one day we discover Otto playing with pellets and trying to hide them under the bathmat!

So, we decided to try another litter. We picked a non-clumping litter this time. I have to say that it was a good litter. It was not sticking much under Otto’s paws, but it was tracking a bit around the house and also after a while we realised the odours control wasn’t the best.

We end up trying another litter. After have done an extensive reserch and have read tons of reviews on Zooplus (https://www.zooplus.co.uk/), this time around we opted for a clumping litter (https://www.zooplus.co.uk/shop/cats/cat_litter/sanicat_professional/clumping_litter/471343) and with our surprise we finally found the right one!!! This litter, which we are still using now, is easy to clean, it last long, it just sticks slightly to Otto’s paws and it doesn’t track that much. Also, we discovered that Otto likes it and he is very happy to use it! He enjoys digging his hole in it when it’s time for his toilet business!

Chapter 7: How to choose good quality food for your kitten and where to buy it

You just got your kitten and chose the type of diet you want to feed him but how are you going to find a good quality food for him? And where you can buy it without spend a fortune?

Well, before we got our Otto, my husband and I spent few days researching on the web to obtain information regarding good quality food for kitten. We really wanted to be well aware and able to choose good feed for him so we decided to inscribe our self to a couple of on-line pet group and also to a forum called “Pet Forums (https://www.petforums.co.uk/).

I have to say that this forum was very helpful for us and they submerged us without such very good suggestions and tips regarding kitten feeding. Thanks to that, we learned how to recognise a good quality food from a rubbish one and now I’m able to help you to make the right choice for your kitten!

We actually discovered that you can understand if it’s good quality food just reading the labels but you need to know what to look for!

Well, first of all, the label allows you to distinguish whether a food is complete or complementary. You have to pay close attention to this difference because it affects the health of the cat. The complete food in fact is balanced food able, on its own, to fully meet the cat’s nutritional requirements in every single meal. The complementary food instead needs to be combined with a complete food in order to ensure the correct nutritional intake.

Also on the packaging must be specified that it is food formulated for kittens. Infact this type of food is able to meet the nutritional needs of kittens because it contains all the minerals, vitamins, proteins and fibers that the kitten needs for a healthy and balanced diet. Formulated kitten food also contains more protein than adult cat food because kittens need a higher protein requirement. So giving a formulated kitten food ensure that you kitten will gwon healty and happy.

But this is not all!

It’s also very important check the ingridients contained in the food. Here you can find a list of the ingridients that should alway be present in kittens food:

  1. Meat: it’s a good sources of protein, rich in essential fatty acids, iron and some B vitamins.
  2. Fish: it’s a good source of high-quality protein. It contains iodine and it’s also an ‘excellent source of calcium and phosphorus because often the bones are frequently ground during the preparation of the fish. It contains vitamin A and D and omega 3 that support the immune system and are natural anti-inflammatory.
  3. Dairy products and eggs: contains highly digestible proteins and they are enriched of  calcium and a number of essential vitamins.
  4. Vegetables: provide a great source of vitamins, minerals and fiber.
  5. Unsaturated fats and oil: they provide an energy intake and essential fatty acids, they are important for optimal health, reproduction and a shiny hair.

There also ingridienr tha shouldn’t be or present in very small quantity in the kitten food:

  1. Cereals and derivatives: they don’t have absolute nutritional importance for kittens and cat. It’s better if they are present in small quantity
  2. Sugar: it is not essential to his well-being. It’s not metabolized by the cat and he burns sugars with difficulty.
  3. Additives: food for kittens and cats should be free of appetizers and artificial dyes.

After you checked the ingridients in the label, the next step it’s to check in which order the ingridients are listed on the label and read carefully what it’s written in the list.

So the ingridients will be listed from the one that will be quantitatively the largest present in the food to the lesss present. So if the firs ingridient of the food is cereals, this means that it made with a big quantity of cereal. So alway make sure that first ingrident is the meat but pay attention on what it actually written on the label! If infact you find it’s written “Meat and animal by-product(4% lamb)”, even if the meat is first ingridient of the list, it means that in the food there is only 4% of meat!!!

Last but not least, you need to read the Nutritional Chart anch check these values:

  1. Protein: the minimum recommended dose as nutritional requirement for a kitten dry food is between 33-35% and 25-30% for an adult cat. If the the proteins on the product are not animal but plant just consider the as the amount of it is lower because they are difficult to dygest and a good quantity get lost with the stool. In the wet food the amount is arount 10-12%
  2. Fat: it is the main source of energy for your cat and the right amount of fat should be between 10 and 20%
  3. Fibres: they are a really important ingridient because they help the digestive sistem of your cat. The normal quantity of fiber in the dry food should be from 2.5 to 5%, while in the wet food it can be even lower.
  4. Ash: they are mineral salts such as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium and all other salts essential for cat health. There is not a right amount of it because usually minerals are put according to what the cat needs.
  5. Water: in dry food the amount is betwenn 9% to 14%, in the wet foos is much higher and is roughly around 70-80%
  6. Carbohydrates: they provides energy and helps with nutrient absorption. Their quantity is not specified on the chart for dry food but you calculate it easly in this way: 100- %of proteins – %fat – %fibres -%ash -9%(water contained in dry food). Just make sure thei quantity is lower than 30%
  7. Taurine: it is essential for the heath of your cat and the quantity is nomally not indicate unless it adds to the food because the product has a lot of plan proteins
  8. Additives: make sure these are specified ad if they are not, just don’t choose that food for your kitten because probably it’s nood good for your kitty!

And now, finally there are som tips to keep in minf when you shop food for your kitten:

  1. Make sure it’s says on the box complete kitten food or cat food.
  2. Read the label.
  3. Check the ingredients composing the food.
  4. Check the nutritional chart.
  5. Make sure the meat is the first ingredient.
  6. But different flavours and textures so you can find out what your cat enjoy the most!

So now you are able to choose a good quality food for your kitten but you don’t know where to buy it. Thank to the pet forum ad the pet groups we joined on line, we found out a couple of very good website where to shop high quality food for your kitten. We suggest Zooplus (https://www.zooplus.co.uk) and Bitiba (https://www.bitiba.co.uk). These are the best on-line pet shop we found. Zooplus has so many good options for good kitten food and also the prices are very inexpensive! There are always promotions and discount and also there are available trial packs so you can just buy few cans or a small bag of nibbles to try before you decide to put a big order in! I think this is amazing just because you can let your fur baby try the food and make sure that he likes it before ordering a large quantity! We personally ordered Feringa Kitten Poultry as nibbles (https://www.zooplus.co.uk/shop/cats/dry_cat_food/feringa/feringa_kitten/485565) and Feringa Menu Kitten ( https://www.zooplus.co.uk/shop/cats/canned_cat_food_pouches/feringa_wet_cat_food/feringa_kitten/490572) and Rosie’s Farm (https://www.zooplus.co.uk/shop/cats/canned_cat_food_pouches/rosies_farm/rosiesfarm_kitten/857654) as wet food. These have been a good catch, they are high quality food and our Otto enjoys every single meal! Every single time I fill his bowl, he’ll come running to eat his food!

Chapter 6: How to feed yor kitten

You have your fur baby at home and he’s meowing at you because he is hungry but what you should give him to eat? How much food and how often? Nibbles or wet food?

Well, when we brought our kitty at home, we asked to the breed which food and how much was feeding the kitten so we could keep giving to him  the same food he was used to and make him settle him in our home nicely.

Our breeder said that he was feeding him with Whiskas wet food pouches and he was giving to him as much as he wanted. 

So we kept feeding him with the same wet food, mainly because if we were making a sudden change of his diet combined with the stress of adapting to a new environment, we could cause him a stomach upsets and also potentially diarrhoea. We also decided to give him small amount of food quite often during the all day because kittens have small stomach and can be upset quite easily if overfed.

Luckily, thanks to the research that we did and the suggestion obtained by pet groups and pet forum we joined online time ahead before we got Otto, we knew already that Whiskas wasn’t a good food to help our kitten growing healthy and happy. So, after few weeks we decided to start to introducing slowly a new very good quality wet food to our kitten.

In a week time we managed to remove the previous type of wet food completely and start to giving him only the good one. We’ve been so lucky because he liked the new food very quickly and he enjoyed very well. 

So, while the weeks were passing by, we manage to introduce another type of very good quality wet food, approved even this time very quickly from our fur baby!

Same thing happend when we introduced a good type of nibbles, almost an instant success!!!

We basicallly opted for a combined wet and dry food for our kitten diet but you can acutally choose from 2 main differet types of diet and there are pros and cons for each fo them:

Wet food only

This diet consist in feeding your kitty exclusively with wet food.

Pros:

  1. It keeps your cat hydrated because contain an extremely high amount of water. In the wild, cats would receive most of their hydration from the prey that they would eat and wet food is very close to your kitty’s natural prey diet.
  2. Allows to avoid urinary problems especially in indoor neutered cats because they can keep themselves well hydrated eating
  3. It contains better quality ingredients, more meat which means more protein, and fewer carbohydrates and this is great because cats are carnivore,
  4. It’s perfect for your cat’s weight loss or maintenance, since the water contained in wet food helps your pet feel full.
  5. Contains less preservatives than dry food and it generally doesn’t contain artificial flavours or colours, either.
  6. It’s easy to eat for your kitty
  7. You can offer a very large of wet variety of flavour to your kitten
  8. It’s particularly good for your cat health.

Cons:

  1. It is more expensive than dry food
  2. Once you open a cat of wet food, you can keep it in the fridge only for few days, so it will not las longer as a bag of nibbles!

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Dry food only

It consists in feeding your cat just nibbles.

Pros:

  1. It is more convenient, cheaper, and in any event, easier-to-store.
  2. It can benefit a cat’s dental hygiene.
  3. It can be fed free choice so you can leave the food out for the entire day

Cons:

  1. Contains less water than dry food which means tat your kitten can be easily dehydrated just because cats don’t have as strong a thirst drive as dogs do.
  2. Can cause urinary problems because your cat doesn’t introduce as much water as when eating wet food in his diet
  3. Contains less meat, so less proteins
  4. It Contains more preservatives to maintain its great shelf-life

You can aso combine the two diets and feed your cat with dry and wet food. This will make you able to a good healthy diet to yout kitten and getting all the advantages from both tyoe of dite with very few disadvantages. This will make you growh a healty and happy cat!

Just to make you aware there are also another type of diet which are very good for cats. It requires quite a bit of work but if you have the time, it will be worth it! It’s the “raw diet”.

Raw Diet

It’s a mixture of meat, ground bones, organ meats, and other food that are not cooked. Once the food is ground and mixed together, it’s freeze dried or frozen to keep it fresh until it is fed to the cat.

Pros:

  1. It’ a natural diet for a cat’s digestive system because wild cats catch their prey and typically eat the muscle meat, organs, some bones, and even the stomach contents of what they catch.
  2. It retains more nutrients
  3. It will provide much more energy than commercial pet food

Cons:

  1. It’s risky to feed raw meat because the bacteria can still be present and could possibly make cats sick
  2. It’s quite expensive
  3. Ensuring your cat gets a balanced raw diet can be challenging
  4. It’s Difficult to introduce the diet to the cat and it will require time and effort

For us choosing the type of diet to give to our kitten was quite easy. We went for a combined wet and dry food diet and we planned to give him mostly wet food and just dry food when we were out for work or just few nibbles to snack during the night.

These are some tips to keep in mind to feed you kitty and help him growing healty and happy whatever type of diet you choose:

  1. You should feed your kitten with food formulated for kittens because they have different nutritional needs to the adult grown cat
  2. Give him same food used by breeder because a sudden change of diet combined with the stress of adapting to a new home can cause stomach upsets and diarrhoea
  3. Feed him with small amount of food and very often because kittens have small stomach and can be upset quite easily if overfed
  4. Make sure he always has fresh drinking water at all times even if you feeding him with only wet food
  5. Do not give your kitten cow’s milk, it can cause him diarrhoea. If you wish to feed milk use one that is formulated for cats

We really couldn’t be more lucky with our Otto, because he adpated wery well to his wet and dry diet without any problems at all and he’s growing so fast and quickly in an amazing beautiful healty cat!