Lords & Labradors Information Hub

The home of handy tips and advice dedicated to pet owners

How Much Food Does My Kitten Need?
17.12.21 December 17, 2021 Getting A Kitten Featured

How Much Food Does My Kitten Need?

Welcoming a new kitten to your family is exciting, but with this excitement can come owner anxiety. Worrying about everything from how long it may take for your new four-legged friend to settle into your home to if you’re creating a strong bond from the get go is not unusual. However, one of the most common concerns relates to the food you choose to feed your new arrival. With so much choice in kitten food nowadays, and a whole host of sometimes conflicting information online, choosing the right food for your kitty and knowing just how much to give them can be surprisingly overwhelming. To help when it comes to knowing what you can and cannot feed your kitten, as well as how much you should be giving them, here at Lords & Labradors we’ve put together this handy guide.   How Much Food Should A Kitten Eat? Naturally, it is important to understand that the age and size of your kitten are the two primary factors in determining how much they should be eating. With this in mind, newborn kittens (those under four weeks old) will require nursing from their mother roughly every two hours during week one, and between four and six times a day after this. By the time your kitten has reached eight weeks, they will usually be ready to be weaned off their mother’s milk, transitioning to solid foods. This is usually the time they are able to leave their mother and come home with you. At this point, your kitten will be a furry ball of energy and will require a nutritionally complete diet of high quality vitamins, minerals and nutrients. For this reason, selecting a high quality cat food that is designed specifically for kittens is important.    While guidelines regarding quantities vary by kitten, as well as the type and brand of food you opt for, the most sensible method to use is to simply follow the feeding directions on the bag or can of food you have chosen. This can then be adjusted based on your kitten's reaction to the food. For a more accurate answer, after a few weeks using this method, a vet can use metabolic calculations to determine the number of calories your cat is using, and therefore requires, each day based on their weight and age.  As a rule of thumb, however, it’s worth using your own instinct when it comes to feeding. You don’t want your kitten to be hungry after eating, or develop greedy traits. Therefore, even if you follow recommended guidelines, feeding may still be a process of trial and error. If your kitten is not gaining weight at a good rate, you may need to increase their caloric intake by giving them bigger potions. On the other hand, if your kitten is gaining too much weight too quickly, you may need to cut back on meal sizes.    How Much Wet Food To Feed A Kitten? Following on from nursing, many cat owners view wet food as more appropriate than dry food as their kitten’s teeth may not be ready for kibble yet. However, while wet food does have more hydration properties than dry food, it tends to be more expensive than kibble, meaning providing a mix of wet and dry food is the option the majority of cat owners go for.  As we discussed above, the best method of determining the correct quantities of food to give your new kitty is to follow the advice provided on the packaging of your chosen food. That being said, many wet food brands will advise feeding your kitten as much as they will eat in three or four daily feeds until they are at least 20 weeks of age. After that, kittens between the ages of 20 weeks and one year require around 60-65 calories per pound of body weight, per day. For example, a five pound kitten of this age should consume about 325 calories per day (almost double the amount an adult cat needs).    When Can Kittens Eat Dry Food? In most cases, kittens can be introduced to dry food from around the age of five to six weeks. However, as they continue to be weaned, dry food given at this stage should be softened in water as they begin to transition onto solid foods for the first time. After eight weeks of age, dry food can be given to your kitten more freely. This being said, we advise first mixing it with wet food before providing your kitten with a totally dry diet.    Can Kittens Eat Adult Cat Food? As a rule, no - your kitten should not be given adult cat food. This is because kittens have different nutritional requirements than adult cats, and therefore need a specially formulated diet that supports these needs and promotes their healthy development.  It is worth noting, however, that some cat foods are formulated ‘for all life stages’ - something typically advertised on the food’s packaging. If this is the case, this food is safe for kittens as well as adult cats. But you will need to follow the specific feeding guidelines for this type of food in order to ensure your kitten is getting the nutrition needed to stay healthy and develop properly. 

By Laura Rudd

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How To Dispose Of Cat Litter
08.11.21 November 08, 2021 Getting A Kitten Featured

How To Dispose Of Cat Litter

Disposing of cat litter may be your least favourite job as a cat owner and you may not know how to dispose of the litter safely and cleanly. Not only is it a smelly job, it can be messy too, disposing of litter in the correct way is important for both you and your cats health, and not only for the environment too. In this article we look at how to dispose of cat litter and the safest way to do it.    How Often Should You Change Your Cat Litter? The ideal amount will depend on your cat’s toilet habits and how many cats you have using the litter. Spot clean the tray daily and aim to replace the litter in the tray at least once a week. Your cat will thank you for keeping their litter fresh and clean, they may find another place to toilet if their litter isn’t fresh and clean.    Where To Dispose Of Cat Litter For the most of us, the easiest option may be to scoop the litter and drop it into the bin. Scoop the used litter and any waste into a biodegradable bag, secure and put into your normal household bin. To save on biodegradable bags, invest in a ‘cat litter bin’, which would enable you to use one bigger biodegradable bag for several weeks worth of waste, without making your usual/standard bin smell.  If you use biodegradable cat litter, you have the option to put the used litter onto a compost bin. It’s good to know clay litter does not breakdown and cannot be put onto a compost bin. Materials such as pine, paper or corn can however be composted. It’s worth noting composting cat litter can be bad for the environment and can cause a risk to human health. Do not add any cat litter to your compost heap if you are to use this where children may play or if you may use it to grow anything edible. Remember - if you’re composting your litter, remove all waste before putting onto your compost.    How To Dispose Of Wood Cat Litter Wood pellets can absorb up to three times their own weight in moisture, making them a great absorbent kind of cat litter. They’re also biodegradable making them them an environmentally friendly product. Wood litter should never be disposed of outdoors, and like any litter, soiled litter is for the bin and the bin only. Even though wood litter is biodegradable, they must be disposed of properly - by being composted or bagged and sent to landfill.    Can You Flush Cat Litter? Avoid any flushing of the cat litter down your sinks or toilet. Litters are not flushable and can cause a lot of issues with your plumbing which may end up being quite an expensive mistake to make.

By Laura Rudd

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Can Kittens Eat Cat Treats?
16.09.21 September 16, 2021 Getting A Kitten Featured

Can Kittens Eat Cat Treats?

Getting a new kitten is exciting and overwhelming, especially when it comes to what they can and shouldn’t eat. Kittens grow rapidly and their digestive and immune systems develop slowly, so they have very specific and nutritional needs that are different from adult cats. When your kitten is old enough to eat solid foods - usually around 8 to 10 weeks old - you may want to give them a treat for their good behaviour. Often when toilet training and learning their name is a good time to give out treats to begin with. Stick to safe and tasty treats for them, which are soft and easy for them to chew. To help your kitten grow, it’s vital to provide food and treats suitable for their lifestyle and nutritional needs.  The best treats for your kittens are those specially formulated for your kitten’s delicate stomach. In this article we take a look at if kittens can eat cat treats and what suitable treats are available to give to your kitten.    Can kittens have cat treats? You may find most cat specific treats are not designed with kittens in mind, although there are lots of cat treats you can give to your kitten, such as Dreamies. Fortunately, some treats are great for growing your kittens health as they’re packed with healthy proteins and are often low in calories, making the pawfect snack. Treats are a delicious snack for your kitten, but too many may affect your kittens health, as you may be unknowingly filling his/her tummy with empty calories. A food specifically designed for kittens should be your kittens primary source of calories and nutrition.  Treat your furry feline to a special treat only when they’re behaving and toilet training. Crunchy treats are great for teething kittens (normally around 3-6 months) as the chewing will give a little relief from pain of their new teeth breaking through. It’s great to give your kitten a variety of treats, especially to promote healthy diets and wellbeing. Note how many treats your kitten is consuming as they should only take up to 10% of your kittens diet.   What cat treats are good for kittens? To give your kitten the healthiest and most enjoyable start in life, start with our range of nutritious kitten treats. There are many different types of cat treats in a range of textures and flavours your kitten will enjoy exploring. Here at Lords & Labradors we stock a number of premium pet brands including Innocent Cat, Webbox and Hi Life, suitable for your kittens delicate diet. Be sure to check the feeding guidelines as some treats may only be suitable once your kitten has reached 4+ months.  Keep in mind treats are best consumed in moderation. They usually should take up no more than 10% of your kittens diet; but this will depend on your kittens daily food intake. Feeding your kitten a nutritionally complete diet that is tailored to their specific needs is vital for supporting healthy development, promoting a healthy future and happy adult cat.

By Laura Rudd

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How To Settle A New Kitten
24.07.21 July 24, 2021 Getting A Kitten Featured

How To Settle A New Kitten

Adding a new kitten to your family can be very exciting. It can be so much fun getting to know a new feline personality and getting to cuddle, care for and play with an adorable little furbaby. However, all the new sights, sounds and smells can be overwhelming for your kitty so it’s important to know the steps you should take to help your new addition to feel calm, comfortable and content when they first move in. By preparing your home for your cat and taking some practical steps to help them settle in, you can help to prevent a whole host of difficult feline issues and behaviours, including stress, aggression, eating problems and spraying. In this blog, we’ll give you practical tips on how to make your new kitten feel right at home.   How do you settle a new kitten? Whether you’ve adopted a kitten from a cat shelter or bought one from a breeder, it’s important to know how to help your feline friend to get acquainted with their new home. Here are some top tips to make adjusting to life in their new surroundings less daunting for them.   Get essentials in advance Don’t leave it until your cat has moved in to get the essentials they require. Give them the best start by getting feeding bowls, water bowls, litter trays, beds, blankets, carriers, scratching posts and cat toys ready in advance of their arrival. That way, they can get used to having the same items from day one.   Prepare a safe room Giving your new addition the run of your whole house or flat can lead to overstimulation, disorientation and stress. Instead of giving them access to your entire home, you should try to set aside one room or a quiet area of a room that is just for them. A spare room, a utility room or a room under the stairs could work well so long as it is well lit, heated and ventilated. The room should be away from the busier areas of the house if possible so that your cat feels safe and doesn’t feel scared or threatened by loud noises and the general hubbub of a busy household. Everything your cat needs should be placed in this safe room. You should only give your cat access to the rest of the house when they’ve grown accustomed to their space and developed more confidence.   How to make a kitten feel safe Even when confined to one room with all of their essential items, a cat can still be easily perturbed when they’re in a new environment. By paying heed to the following advice, you can help them to feel safe throughout this important   Give them a hiding spot Having a cosy nook to hide away in can help an anxious kitty to feel safer and more secure in their new environment. A cardboard box, a den, a hooded bed, a cat stool or a tunnel would be perfect.   Give them access to high spaces Cats are natural climbers and like to explore the world at all levels. If possible, give your cat access to a safe spot high up so they can put their natural instincts into practice and have somewhere to jump up to when they want to feel more secure. A window sill (as long as the window is shut), a radiator bed or a perch on top of a scratching post or activity centre could work well.   Use scents Familiar scents can help your cat to feel grounded and secure. Before you take a new cat home, you might want to investigate whether you can take a blanket or towel they’ve used in a foster home, adoption centre or breeders with them to help them to feel safe and comfortable. You may also want to give them an item with your scent on it, such as an old piece of clothing or a blanket to help them to get used to your smell and build their confidence with you. Cat calming sprays can also be great for helping nervous kittens to feel more settled.   How to comfort a new kitten It can be difficult to see a kitten scared or in distress and your instinct might be to pick them up and give them a great big cuddle. However, this might have the opposite effect on your cat, who might misinterpret your affection. Earning your cat’s trust requires patience and consistency but if you follow these tips, you’re sure to win your kitty over and be their safe space for many years to come.   Let them come to you As we’ve discussed, it can be very exciting to have a new cat come to live with you and you may be keen to make a fuss of them. If there are children in the home, they may also be eager to handle and cuddle their new furry friend. However, in order to help your kitty to feel safe and comfortable in their new space, it’s important not to force contact. Instead, you should let your kitten come to you in their own time. Being consistent with this can help you to gain your kitten’s trust and get your relationship off to a good start.   Get down on their level Imagine how tall you must appear to a tiny kitten! Rather than standing up to shake a box of treats or bending down to give your cat a stroke, sit down on the floor and experience the world at your kitten’s level. Doing this will help you to appear less threatening and make your kitten more likely to work up the confidence to get to know you at their pace.   Bond through food The best way to your cat’s heart is through their tummy. Cats are naturally social creatures but they tend to form the closest bonds with the people who provide them with food, water and safety. Food is fantastic for helping you to develop that special bond you’ll enjoy for the rest of your cat’s life. As well as providing your cat with regular meals, you can supplement their diet with healthy snacks. You can make the feeding experience more fun and enjoy regular playtime sessions together by using interactive toys that release treats for your kitty. Bringing a new kitten home is undoubtedly an exciting time and, as long as you follow tips like these, your cat is sure to settle into their new environment. If you have questions or concerns about your cat at any stage, however, it’s best to seek advice from a veterinarian.

By Zac Girdlestone

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How To Introduce A New Kitten To A Cat
04.07.21 July 04, 2021 Getting A Kitten Featured

How To Introduce A New Kitten To A Cat

Getting a new kitten is super exciting but also comes with a number of challenges, especially if you already have a feline family member. Settling in a new kitten takes some thought and planning which is only exaggerated when you’re introducing them to an existing pet. Cats are very territorial and introducing a new family member to your cat’s space can take time and perseverance. They may not like the new addition at first, but with time and patience you’ll soon all live in harmony. People have many questions about introducing new kittens to cats and we plan to answer some of the most frequently asked queries here. Read on to find out how to introduce your new pet to the family and what to do when things aren’t going as smoothly as you’d like.   Can You Introduce A Kitten To A Cat? The simple answer to this is yes! Of course, you can introduce kittens to cats just the same as you can introduce puppies to cats and new kittens to dogs. That doesn’t mean it will be simple and there are some things you need to consider in preparation for bringing your new kitten home.  Introducing them too quickly can lead to scared cats feeling threatened which can culminate in aggressive behaviour. In this situation it’s extremely difficult to change your cats’ minds about their new family members. Instead, take it slowly and plan the introduction carefully, and hopefully the new kitten will fit right in.   How Do I Introduce My New Kitten To My Cat? The first thing to consider is where your new kitten will live when you first bring them home. They will need their own room or area that is away from the other cat or cats that already share your home.  In this area, you will need to provide everything your kitten needs including a bed, litter box, and food. They’ll also need a couple of cat toys and somewhere to scratch. We’d also suggest investing in Feliway diffusers around the home. The Feliway Friends formula is designed especially for multi-cat households and will help to keep cats calm and relaxed. You should allow your kitten to settle into their new home for at least a few days before you try any introductions. When it comes to the first introduction, we’d suggest doing it either side of a pet gate or other partition. You could choose to keep your kitten in their carrier so that they feel secure.  A division like this will allow the cats to see and smell each other without being able to touch.  Choose a place that is relatively neutral to both cats and allow cat and kitten the ability to retreat and get back to their safe space. Also, allow the cats some distance at first and let them approach the other in their own time. Don’t force the meeting or place them directly next to one another. We’d suggest providing them both some food at this point, as a distraction and to help create a positive association with the meeting. Keep the introduction short, but repeat the meetings in this way until cat and kitten show signs that they are becoming comfortable with each other. Some cats will get used to each other in only a few days whilst others may take a few weeks. Every cat is different and it’s about seeing how your cat and kitten react to the situation.   How Do I Get A Cat To Like A New Kitten? As we mentioned previously, the introductions should be taken slowly. There are a couple of things you can do to help get the cat to like the kitten. You could give them a scent blanket with your kitten’s scent on it and also give your kitten something with your older cat’s scent on. Do this a few weeks before the introduction and hopefully they'll be familiar with the scent helping to make them both feel at ease when they eventually meet. Of course, your cat may not take to the kitten straight away and they may bat, hiss or growl at the kitten. This is quite normal and you shouldn’t worry too much. It just means they shouldn’t be left alone yet and the incremental introductions need to carry on a little longer. Perseverance is key here and it’s all about having patience and sticking to the plan of staged meetings.   Why Does My Cat Growl At My New Kitten? When your cat does show signs of aggression, such as growling or hissing, they are trying to find out where they sit in the social hierarchy. New additions to the household can cause nerves and stress which can be displayed in different ways. Don’t worry too much about this behaviour, but do be aware of it. If your cat is growling or hissing at the new kitten, it just isn’t time for the two to live in the same rooms yet. Keep going with the distant introductions, with a safe barrier between, keep scent swapping and don’t give up!   How Long Will My Cat Hiss At My New Kitten? This can really vary from cat to cat. Every pet is an individual with a unique personality; some more laid back than others. Some may not hiss at all and take to their family member in a couple of days, whilst others may show signs of aggression for a few weeks.  All you can do is wait to find out how you and your cats get on together and react accordingly.  When you do start to open up the house to the kitten, start with one room at a time so that you can judge how both pets react to each other. Once they are living harmoniously, you can begin to open up more of the house, until your little kitten is fully integrated into the home.

By Zac Girdlestone

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The First Five Days Of Owning A Kitten
25.03.21 March 25, 2021 Getting A Kitten Featured

The First Five Days Of Owning A Kitten

Getting a new kitten or cat is so exciting, but if you’re a first-time pet owner it can also be slightly daunting. There are a few things to consider when introducing the new arrival to their new family. Here we give you some things to think about so you can be fully prepared for your kitten’s first week in their new home. From bringing them home, to getting them used to new surroundings, here are some handy tips and advice for every new cat owner.   Make Sure Your House Is Cat Proof This should be done in advance of their arrival ready for day one. Cat proofing the home is about creating a safe environment for inquisitive noses! Any room that your cat will be allowed in needs to be safe for them, which means no wires for them to play with and nothing that they might scratch or damage. Be aware of poisonous houseplants and keep them out of reach; avoid full length curtains in their room as they may try to climb them; and check for any other hazards or small places that they might get stuck. Cat proofing the home entails a lot of common sense - if you think something might pose a hazard then remove it from their living area. If there’s something that might look enticing to a kitten that you don’t want them to ruin, put it in another room. We have a full article about Cat Proofing Your Home which may be worth a read.   Bringing Your Kitten Home So, you’ve double and triple checked that your home is safe and you have ticked off everything on your Kitten Shopping List; it’s now time to bring your kitten home! Travel day is all about keeping them safe on the journey, no matter how long or short it might be, and keeping them as calm and settled as possible. Make sure you have a suitable cat carrier that can be fastened safely in the car. We’d suggest popping a blanket inside to make it comfortable. If you have a long journey ahead, think about packing a travel bowl and some water so they can at least have a drink on the way When you get home, it is best that you introduce them to their new environment slowly and calmly. If you have a large family it might be best for them to introduce themselves in stages. Teach children to be calm and gentle. Some kittens will be especially nervous at first and it’s imperative to provide a home that feels safe and inviting. You will also need to show kitten where everything is and by this we mean their food, their litter tray and their bed!   Introducing A Kitten To A Litter Tray Your kitten will probably be litter trained by the time you bring them home; cats like to be clean and they’re fast learners. They won’t know where their litter tray is in their new home though, and nerves may effect their toilet behaviour. When you bring them home take them to the litter tray so they know where to find it. If they’re calm, try popping them in and let them feel the litter with their feet. It won’t take them long to know that it’s the place for them to do their business. It might take them a little while to pluck up the courage to use it, but don’t despair if it does. Be patient and keep an eye on them. You can take them back to the litter tray after a little while to remind them if you wish.   Introducing A Kitten To A Scratch Post In the same way you introduced them to the litter tray, do the same with the scratch post. You need to start as you mean to go on and that means showing them where they can scratch as opposed to letting them find a spot of their own that they shouldn’t scratch. Take them to the scratch post so they know where it is. You could show them what to do by scratching your own nails against the post, or if they’re calm and relaxed gently put their paws against the post to show them what to do. Don’t force anything; if they run or back away you can always come back to it later. Slowly but surely they’ll get used to it. You could try rubbing or sprinkling catnip into the post to make it more appealing. The scratch post should be placed somewhere near their bed as it’s often the first thing they do when they wake up.   Getting Your Kitten In To A Routine You might think a routine is just for dogs, but a set plan of action can help settle kittens too. Feeding should be at set times - usually once in the morning and once in the late afternoon. (You might leave dry food down for them to graze on throughout the day as well). You should also try your best to get them into a nighttime routine. Kittens are naturally active at dawn and dusk but they can soon learn to sleep when you do. Try to get them settled before bed and don’t feel guilty about leaving them in their room with their bed and other things. It might be tempting to let them upstairs with you, but we’d suggest you start as you mean to go on and get them into a routine where they sleep in their own bed.   Make Sure They Get Plenty Of Rest Kittens need lots of rest. They can sleep for up 20 hours a day when they’re young and even adult cats can sleep around 16 hours. It might be tempting to spend all your time with them when they first come home, but it’s really important to give them lots of downtime. If they’re sleepy let them rest until they naturally wake. When they’re sleeping their brains are preparing for the waking hours of learning.   Ensure You Have Plenty Of Time To Spend With Them In the first few days, whilst they may need lots of sleep, they will also need lots of supervision. It might be worth taking a few days off work to ensure you have the time to stay in the house. Kittens need to get to know you and they also need help to learn right from wrong. You might need to be there to give extra encouragement to use the litter tray or the scratch post for example. They’ll also like the emotional support, to help them settle into their new home.   Your kitten will need to get used to being handled and that can only happen if you’re around to do that. For the first day or two, it might be best not to hold them for long periods, but give them time to adjust with occasional strokes throughout the day. After a couple of days when they're used to you being around, you can start to pick them up more and get them used to being handled by you. This is the start of an emotional bond and will help to mould the cat your kitten will grow to be.   Letting Your Kitten Outside For The First Time Some cats will remain indoors for their entire lives and this is absolutely fine as long as you start as you mean to go on. Many pedigree breeds are kept as indoor cats and, with the right accessories and cat furniture, will live long healthy lives indoors. But if your cat is going to be an outdoor cat, you will need to take steps to get them used to it.   You shouldn’t let your cat outside in the first few days. Wait at least two weeks for them to settle and assess the situation. They should have had all of their vaccinations and they need to be used to their new home. Initially this should be done under supervision until they’re quite happy with the new surroundings. We wouldn’t suggest letting them have free-rein outdoors until they’re comfortable with the garden and they’ve been neutered to stop any unwanted pregnancies. This is usually done between 4 and 6 months old, but we’d suggest speaking to your vet about this to see what age they think is best.   You might want your cat to wear a collar if they do venture out. This can be accessorised with an ID tag for security and they often come with a bell to notify birds that they're coming. Don't forget to have your kitten micro-chipped too - whether they go outdoors or not. many breeders have their litters microchipped before you collect them, but if your kitten isn't microchipped then make a plan to get them done.     Stay Calm And Enjoy Getting To Know Them Whatever you do, remember to stay calm and enjoy getting to know your new furry family member. Things may not go entirely to plan - if they have an accident outside of the litter tray, don’t scold them, but rather encourage them to use the tray. If they don’t use the scratch post straight away, persevere. It's a learning curve for both of you and there are no definitive answers to some of the questions that may be raised in those first few days. Just remember not to panic and that everything that happens to you is probably happening to lots of other pets owners! If you need any more information, then take a look at our Information Hub where we have a host of articles about pets. You’ll find the answer to all kinds of cat related questions in there.

By Zac Girdlestone

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The Advantages of Microchipping Your Pet - National Microchipping Month
10.06.20 June 10, 2020 Getting A Kitten Featured

The Advantages of Microchipping Your Pet - National Microchipping Month

June is national microchipping month here in the UK, so what better time to talk about what microchipping is and the benefits? Microchipping is one of the most effective ways of protecting your dog or cat in the event that they are lost or stolen. Thousands of pets are reported missing every year and a large proportion of those are never reunited with their rightful owner. The main reason for them not making it back home is the inability to trace their family. It’s now a legal requirement that all dogs and cats in the UK are microchipped Here we take a look at all the benefits and explain why we think you should definitely get your pets, cat and dog alike, microchipped. In this article, we will explore the benefits of microchipping, the laws surrounding microchipping for different pets, the procedure itself, and how to register and update your pet's microchip details. So let's dive in and learn more about this valuable tool in ensuring the safety and well-being of our pets. Microchipping Overview A microchip is a tiny ID device which can be scanned to identify a pet They are used to identify lost or stolen pets and reunite them with their owners It’s a legal requirement for dogs over the age of 8 weeks and kittens over the age of 20 weeks to be microchipped It’s a quick procedure which is relatively painless
   What Is A Microchip? Microchips are tiny devices that are the size of a grain of rice, they are implanted just below the pet’s skin, usually by your Vet. It is a very simple procedure, similar to a vaccination that needs no anaesthesia or special treatment. The microchip carries all the important information needed to trace you, the owner, should your cat or dog lose their way. These microchips can then be read by a handheld device that will display the owners information. Most veterinarians and animal shelters will have one of these devices, so the chip can be read and the owner contacted if the pet is lost.   Does Getting A Microchip Hurt? Your vet will use a needle to insert the microchip so it may be a little uncomfortable for your pet, however it only take a few seconds. Many pets don’t even notice!   What Pets Can Be Microchipped? A lot of pets can be microchipped, the most common ones are dogs, cats, horses and rabbits. If you’re not sure your vet will be able to advise you on whether microchipping is suitable for your pet.   What Are The Microchip Laws Microchipping Your Dog Laws Microchipping your dog is compulsory in the UK, we’ve put everything you need to know about microchipping your dog below: All dogs over 8 weeks old must be microchipped As a breeder it’s your responsibility to microchip any puppies by 8 weeks old As a dog owner it’s your responsibility to make sure your dog’s microchip details are up to date As well as having up to date microchip details, your dog should wear a collar with an ID tag on. You’re required to put your surname and address on the tag, we also recommend putting a contact number and ‘I’m Microchipped’ on there just in case your dog does go missing it will hopefully make being reunited that little bit quicker. Microchipping Your Cat Laws As of March 2023, it’s now the law to get your kitten microchipped before they’re 20 weeks old. The government have given owners until 10th June 2024 to microchip their cats As an owner it your responsibility to make sure that your cat is microchipped and that your details are up to date We recommend microchipping your cat if they are either indoor or outdoor, this way if they go missing you can ensure they’re easy to identify and return home Microchipping Other Pets Laws It’s not a legal requirement in the UK to have any other pets microchipped, it’s a good thing to consider. You can microchip most pets, including rabbits, guinea pigs, tortoises and other small family pets which are known for escaping.   What Happens If I Don’t Microchip My Pet? If you’re pet is found without a microchip you could be served with an order to microchip them within 21 days, if you don’t do it in that time frame you could be liable to pay a £500 fine.   How Do I Get My Pet Microchipped? To get your pet microchipped all you’ll need to do is make an appointment with your vet or another qualified person, some rescue centres have trained staff who can also microchip pets. The most important thing to make sure of is that whoever is microchipping your pet is trained to do so.   The Benefits of Microchipping your Pet A microchip can’t be lost - Whilst an ID tag on a collar is useful, these can be lost or break off quite easily. Some indoor pets may not even wear a collar, in which case a microchip is an ideal way of ensuring your pet is traceable. A microchip offers definitive proof -  If your cat or dog is stolen, the microchip offers definitive proof of ownership.  A collar can easily be swapped, but a microchip can’t be removed.    Microchips have been proven to increase the likelihood of your lost pet being returned - Whilst findings vary slightly from study to study, the overall findings are the same. Microchipped pets are much more likely to be returned to their owners than none-microchipped pets. Some studies find that the chances are increased by as much 50%. Some microchips now come with added capabilities - Some chips come with the ability to program them to a pet door flap so only your pets can come and go. This is really handy to stop other animals from accessing your house.   How Much Does It Cost To Microchip Your Pets? It usually cost between £10-£15 to microchip your pet, however this varies depending on where you get it done. Some charities, such as Blue Cross, actually offer microchipping for free so it’s definitely worth seeing if there’s a rescue centre local to you that has a microchipping scheme.   How Do I Register My Pet’s Microchip? When your pet gets microchipped they will give the microchipping database company your details. They will ask for your name, address, phone number, pet’s details and emergency contacts. If your puppy or kitten gets microchipped by the breeder they should give you a form or contact details for the microchipping company so you can update their chip with your details.   How Do I Update My Pet’s Microchip Details? If you’re moving house or change phone numbers you will need to update your pet’s microchip details. How to do this will depend on which microchip database company your pet’s microchip is registered to (you can check this on www.checkachip.com), but usually you will have an online account that you can log in to and update any details.   What Should I Do If I Rehome Or Sell My Pet Before you sell or rehome your dog we recommend updating the microchip database details to the new owners.   What Should I Do If My Pet Is Lost Or Stolen If your pet is lost or stolen, we recommend calling your pet’s microchip database company straight away to report them missing. They will be able to check your details are up to date and flag on the system that the pet associated with that microchip is missing. This way if their microchip is scanned by a vet or a dog warden it will alert to them they’re missing or stolen, and they will then be able to get in contact with you and reunite you with your pet.   How Long Do Microchips Last For
? Microchips are designed to last your pet’s lifetime. It’s very rare for them to become faulty or not scan, if this does happen the microchip company will usually replace it for free. So what are you waiting for?! If you haven’t already got your pet microchipped, then we’d strongly suggest doing so, you never know when you’ll need it!

By Zac Girdlestone

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Does Everyone You Know Seem To Be Getting A New Pet?
17.04.20 April 17, 2020 Getting A Kitten Featured

Does Everyone You Know Seem To Be Getting A New Pet?

Since the lockdown more people than ever, in both the UK and the US, have decided to become a new pet parent. Whether that is adding to their existing furry family or becoming a pet parent for the first time. There has been some discussion on if this is a worrying ’trend’ and if this will mean lots of unwanted pets when the pandemic is over. Alternatively, it is more likely to be the more responsible of us actioning a plan to get a pet and spend that all important puppyhood or kittenhood time together, now the perfect time has presented itself. Equally there has been a surge in pet adoptions from re-homing centres which can only be a positive thing.   Is Now The Best Time To Get A Pet? Timing is super important when deciding whether to get a pet or not. Both cats and dogs will need quite a lot of attention, especially in the first few weeks when getting them settled; dogs perhaps even more than cats. Under normal circumstances, settling in new pets, which is the hardest, most time consuming part of pet ownership, would mean booking a little time off work. Now, however, there is the opportunity if you’re working from home, or indeed furloughed, to put that precious time into your new family member. House training, lead training and general bonding will be a lot more feasible. A key consideration of course, will be what happens after lockdown. It’s easy to feel like social isolation is going on forever, but life will go back to normal, whatever that new normal may be. It might be for many of us, that working from home will become something we do more often. Whatever the plan, you’ll need to ensure you will be able to give your pet the appropriate amount of time in the long run.   Our Post Lockdown World Perhaps, overall, pet ownership in the UK and the US will reach a new higher normal level and thus there should be, in the future, more pet friendly places to go, stay and socialise. Equally, maybe many of us will continue to work from home at least some of the time. The benefits will include reduction of carbon emissions, reduced commutes, less busy roads and spending time with your pet.   Links Between Pet Ownership & Health There are many health benefits to owning a pet. The bond between people and pets is known to lower stress, increase happiness and also fitness. They can help improve our health in so many ways such as lowered blood pressure and cholesterol levels; decreased feelings of loneliness and increasing our opportunities for exercise.   How To Prepare For Your New Pet If you’re preparing your home for a new pet there a few things you’ll need to consider. You’ll want to make sure your home is safe for your new pet, know where they are going to spend most of their time and also make sure you have everything you need. Getting a pet should be fun so we have put a number of resources together to help you remember everything whilst staying stress-free! We have some great advice on what to buy for new pets in our blog posts here: Puppies: Everything you Need For Your Perfect Puppy Shopping List Kittens:  Everything I need for my New Kitten Shipping List We also discussed how to prepare the home for puppies and kittens in our articles here: How to Prepare For your New Puppy Cat Proofing Your New Home   And don’t forget if you have any questions, we’re always here to help. Whether you’re a first time pet owner looking for product advice, or you have a question about something else pet related, we’re here to help! You might also like to explore the other articles in our Journal here. We publish articles about all areas of a pet’s life on a weekly basis.

By Zac Girdlestone

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New Kitten Shopping List - Everything you Need For Your New Kitten
02.04.19 April 02, 2019 Getting A Kitten Featured

New Kitten Shopping List - Everything you Need For Your New Kitten

Waiting to bring home your new kitten is super exciting! Whether your new furry friend is a Pedigree or Moggy, there are a number of necessities you will need to have ready, in preparation for their arrival home.    What litter tray is best for kittens? Litter Tray – Litter training your kitty is essential, not just for indoor cats but for outdoor cats too. Buy a good quality litter (we like clumping litter as it tends to have no odour and is more economical) and a litter scoop for cleaning. If you’d like something that looks more attractive than a regular litter tray, our Cat Washroom is ideal – a stylish piece of furniture that hides your litter tray away.     The best bed for my kitten You will need a Cosy Cat Bed for your furry friends arrival (and all cats love to snooze!) In fact, a cat will sleep around 15 hours a day; up to 20 for kittens! With this in mind a cosy cat bed is a must-have. There are a number of options from cosy caves and hooded designs to radiator beds.          What does my kitten need? Cat Food & Water Bowls – A regular feeding regime is important for your growing kitten. Make sure you have at least two bowls for food and water. Keep dry food and fresh water available throughout the day. You may add a third, so you have separate bowls for wet and dry food. If you are getting your kitten from a breeder, speak to them about what food they recommend; they may give you a small amount when you collect your little one. There are a lot of resources online about cat food and what to feed them, but as long as you choose a good quality food especially for kittens you can’t go wrong. We’d also recommend feeding them both dry and wet food. The former is good to keep down all day for them to graze on and will help keep their teeth healthy. The latter is good for their digestion and water works and will help keep their fluid intake up – not all cats love drinking water. Aim for two small portions per day (check the individual food packaging for portion recommendations). Cat Carrier – Regular trips to the Vet will ensure your cat is healthy. After their initial vaccinations, they will need a yearly trip to top them up. A carrier will allow you to travel with your cat in safety. We particularly like the Catit Cabrio as it opens fully from the top allowing for easy access to nervous kittens. There are a number of other styles and designs to choose from though. Scratch Post or Tree – All cats love to eat, play, sleep and…. Scratch! Rather than discourage from scratching you should encourage them to do it in the correct places. Scratching is a healthy habit which will keep your cats claws healthy; removing the dead husks as they grow out, and also allows them to stretch out their muscles – cats are athletic creatures by nature, so a good stretch is great way to keep their muscles in tip-top shape! As a kitten you may wish to choose a small compact scratch post, but as they grow think about choosing a tall post that they can really stretch against as they scratch. A tall cat tree with a series of posts and platforms is great if you have the room as it will appeal to your cat’s love for climbing – also a great idea for indoor cats as it will help keep them active and their weight under control.  Cat Collar – This isn’t necessarily an essential for all cats, but if you’re kitten will one day venture outside you may wish to give them a collar. Collars can be adorned with an I.D tag so if your cat gets stuck up a tree or roams too far from home then hopefully someone will be able to bring them home. If you do choose to collar your cat, do your research and ensure you choose one with a breakaway collar in case it gets caught on your cat travels.     Cat Toys –Playtime is good for kittens’ development so toys are an essential on your kitten shopping list. Think about a series of toys that will appeal to your cats hunting instinct. Catnip mice and balls are always a favourite, but also think about teaser wand toys and something interactive. Our top pick would be a toy or two from the Catit Senses range. The Senses 2.0 range is designed to fulfil every one of your cat’s unique senses (hence the name) and can be used as separate items or connected together as a set. Grooming Kit – Different breeds will have different grooming requirements. A soft brush is a good addition to every cat owner’s accessories, but if you are bringing home a long-haired breed then you will need an array of tools to help keep their coat in tip-top condition. We stock a number of ancol brushes and combs for everyday grooming, but if you’re looking for the ultimate grooming kit then take a look at the Catit kits, one for longhaired breeds and one for shorthaired breeds, they contain everything you will need to keep your cat looking beautiful.   Microchip your cat – Not really an item for your shopping list, but an absolute must for all pet owners (cat and dog alike, both indoor and outdoor pets). Even if you intend to collar your cat you should microchip your pet so they can be traced properly.  Of course this is just a guide to the necessities you should think about in advance of bringing your kitten home, rather than a definitive list. Have a browse, speak to your breeder if you’re getting a pedigree and select the things that you think will best suit you and your lifestyle. If you have any questions, do get in touch.; we’re always happy to help!

By Zac Girdlestone

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Cat Proofing Your Home
12.03.19 March 12, 2019 Getting A Kitten Featured

Cat Proofing Your Home

Do you have an inquisitive feline? Perhaps you’re about to be a first-time cat owner? Your home will soon become their home and making sure they’re safe in their environment will be really important. We thought wed put together a handy guide to Cat Proofing your home and making sure you're ready for their arrival.  We also have a handy illustrated guide form the guys over at Sainbury’s Bank Money Matters Blog to help you remember the main points.    Hide Away Harmful Foods The first top tip is to ensure to make sure harmful human foods are stored away from your new pet. Your new cat or kitten needs to have a safe environment which means keeping foods that are poisonous to cats stored safely away; they will want to explore and will be highly inquisitive, so make sure they can't get to anything that isn't safe. Some of the foods that are toxic to cats are: grapes & raisins; chocolate; raw eggs; caffeinated drinks and alcohol.    Cat Safety around the Home There are other potential hazards for your cat around theme, not just human foods. Beware of electrical wires and cords - we all know how much cats and kittens love to play. A stray lead behind the tv or overhanging wire in the kitchen will look oh so inviting to your hunting kitty. Make sure they are tucked safely away and out of reach of playful cats.  Keep Medicines and cleaning supplies locked away - This may seem obvious, but it's easy to take a tablet from the cupboard and leave the bottle on the side. If you have cats (or any other pets) make sure all medical supplies are kept safely locked away in a cupboard, draw or cabinet. The same goes for household cleaning products. you might want to start checking the back of certain products that you buy to see the recommendations they have regarding pets. Some fly sprays for instance are highly toxic to cats - so be fully aware of what you are using around your home and make sure products are pet-safe.   Check your Washing Machine - Cats love snuggling down in secret, dark corners for a snooze. you may have provided them with the most comfortable bed you can find but they are sure to find other places to snooze too! Be careful of your washing machine once your new kitten comes home - keep the door closed even when not in use and always make sure your inquisitive kitty hasn't sneaked inside before starting a cycle. Flowers - There are may types of flowers and plants that are actually toxic to cats and other pets. Try to keep indoor flowers and plants out of reach of your cat. you might want to check that your garden has no varieties that are toxic to cats either.   Kitten Training with Children Introducing a cat to your home is rather different from introducing a dog. Where the latter can be trained and will enjoy lots of human socialisation, cats tend to be rather more independent. Of course there are many lap cats who love a fuss and a cuddle on the sofa, but for every lap cat there are probably two or three much more independent felines - and we should love them for it! With this in mind teaching our children to respect their new feline family members and understand their needs is really important.  Teach your children to pet and stroke kitten gently and also teach them to stop when kitten shows signs that they've had enough. A swishing tail or turned back ears are just two signs that your cat is less than happy. A nice way to involve your children is to include them when feeding your cat. The main thing is teaching respect and ensuring your cat or kitten has somewhere they retreat to when they want to enjoy some alone time.     Cat and Kitten Furniture & Accessories at Lords & Labradors  ​We have a whole department at Lords & Labradors dedicated to your kitties. Our Cat Emporium has everything you could possible need including Scratch Posts and trees, Cat Carriers, Treats and Beds. Make the perfect home for your cat with our wide range of cat products and accessories. Discover the Cat Emporium now! ​​​If you have any questions, about this article in particular or something more general, do get in touch.  Also, make sure you check out the Money Matters Blog for articles relating to all kinds of things, from finance to more general lifestyle articles. 

By Zac Girdlestone

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