FAQ's for Cat Breeders
We start feeding our kittens their first solids around 4-5 weeks and start off with minced rabbit and beef mince.
As cats are obligate carnivores and can live on a 100% protein diet, feeding cats raw food is the most natural way to give them a long and healthy life. It is however crucial to understand that cats cannot survive on one type of meat or organ, they need a balanced meal, which consists of meat, internal organs and bones, as they would get when eating a bird or rat.
There are many companies today providing raw food and our cattery gets theirs from Chefs4Pets, where cat and dog food can be ordered online and is delivered in frozen portions directly to your doorstep. Complete rabbit or chicken minced (without skin or feathers) is considered a complete meal, minced heart, chicken necks, etc. are supplementary meals. Kittens get fed 3 times a day until about 6 months, adults twice a day.
Never leave food down for cats, raw food should be picked up again after the cat has finished eating and kibble only given as treats. We treat kibbles like junk food, use it to call the cats into the house in the evening (shake the tin and they are there in flash) and to reward them.
Kibble (dry food) is NOT FOOD!
The main cause of death in cats is renal failure. Cat’s eat raw food in nature and hence instinctively do not drink a lot of water, as they get most of their moisture from the food. Feeding them dehydrated pellets that suck up moisture in their digestive system requires them to drink a lot more water, which many don’t do, and so they are not properly hydrated over long periods of time.
We seen several of our cats we sold that had been changed over to dry food with allergies, hair loss and poor condition.
When switching back to raw, these symptoms disappeared.
Kibble contains taste enhancers, so cats love them, even get addicted to them, so they are a great treat (still get a good brand here) but should not be the main food you provide to your cat.
Contrary to common belief, cats do not naturally drink milk (where would they get this in nature?) but most will drink it when offered. Siberians particularly like drinking flowing water, from a tap or a pet fountain.
For new born kittens that the mother is not feeding or for sick cats, I create a mixture I call Gloop, the recipe is below. This can be given via syringe into the mouth or just put in a bowl for normal drinking. This is very high in calories to nourish and put on weight.
Also good in summer as an ice cream when its really hot.
1 tin evaporated milk (not condensed!)
Equal amount of boiling water, in which a teaspoon of honey has been dissolved
2 egg yolks (not the whites)
1 tablespoon full fat mayonnaise (Hellmans)
2 tablespoons of LIVE full fat, plain yoghurt (bio)
1 teaspoon probiotic powder (from pet or vet shops)
Mix the egg yolks together, add mayonnaise and yoghurt, mix well. Add probiotic powder if available, slowly mixing in the evaporated milk, then add the water/honey mix.
Make sure you keep stirring/shaking this during use as all the sediment will drop to the bottom. You can put this into ice cube trays and it will keep for 3 months in the freezer, about a week in the fridge.
Water, food and litter should not be near each other. In nature cats consider there to be possible contamination between these 3 and are uncomfortable when you place them together.
Having food, water and litter in 3 separate rooms is ideal, water and food should however be at least several meters apart if the same room. Siberians prefer running water to a bowl of water and also enjoy drinking out of a running tap. One can get water fountains for cats that they really enjoy.
Generally an unknown fact is that cats like to pee in one litter tray and do their business in another, so the rule for litter trays is the amount of cats plus one. I use and recommend the biodegradable Cat’s Best cat litter and one will find the clumped urine in one tray and the faeces primarily in another litter tray.
Siberian cats integrate and socialise well with other animals, but the degree to which they become ‘friends’ and how fast this occurs can vary depending on the animals already in the house.
Initially the kitten should be confined to one room where the food, water and litter (all 3 kept seperate) can be found. When feeding and playing with the kitten, always talk in a calm voice, making a big fuss with petting and kisses, so they feel special. Don’t do this in the presence of other animals as that will make them feel jeallous, but the kittens needs this to bond.
After 2-3 days the first introduction can be planned, with cats this is done through combined playing using toy like the zaBird, which distracts them from remembering they don’t know each other. Using the Happy Cat valerian powder, which cats react to like catnip but different to catnip then calms the cat (works for dogs too) can help the older cats to relax and be calmer in their reaction to the kitten. Dogs, especially bigger calmer dogs, can often be best buddies with the Siberian within a week, older cats can take weeks or months to be ‘friends’, but the energy of the kitten generally wears them all down.
For more information also have a look at the Jackson Galaxy videos on YouTube, Introducing Cats and some of his other episodes.
Yes! Most cats prefer to pee in one litter tray and poo in the other, but in multi-cat households that means one cat can pee in a tray that another one poos in. In general the rule is N+1 litter trays, N being the number of cats in the house. Never keep the litter trays within 3-5 meters of the food or water, ideally litter trays should be in a different room.
Litter trays should be as large as possible, the round 50cm diameter plastic basins one can get from WestPack or PlasticLand are ideal and cheaper than pet shop litter trays, that are generally too small. No matter how large the litter tray though, many cats will still scratch the plastic side of the tray after doing their business in an attempt to cover it up, especially kittens. They either grow out of this or not, but it is normal behaviour.
Very dominant cats on purpose choose not to cover up their poop as a sign of dominance, which is instinct that one cannot change, but is not all that common.
Contractually we are obliging our kitten owners to use the Cat’s Best cat litter that is manufactured in Germany.
There are several reasons why the type of litter matters.
Cats are clean animals and want to have a clean litter box, so cleaning it morning and night must be the norm. To ensure the remaining litter is clean, only a clumping litter should be used. This way the urine can be completely removed and the faeces enveloped in a way that makes it easy to remove as well. One can get Bentonite (sand that clumps), Clay and the natural wood fibres of Cat’s Best. The popular Crystals don’t clump, leave the pee in bottom of the litter tray and masks the smell for humans but not cats, so they often stand on the edges of the litter tray. They are an unpleasant mess to clean and but also contain silica dust that can cause allergies in humans and cats.
Cat’s Best is made from natural wood fibres, binds 100% of the urine smell, is 100% biodegradable and compostable (clay and sand is organic but not compostable) as well as being soft on the paws. It is exceptionally light compared to other litters and comes out cheaper than Crystals, as no unused litter is ever thrown away.
Most of the toys we use in our cattery are form the zaKatz range of toys. All kittens are conditioned to react to the zaBouncer, an indoor teaser that when thumped on the bed, has them running form all corners of the room to play on the bed.
The zaBird is a toy primarily for outside, that has a turning feather end and get’s any cat jumping to catch it. There are several different end pieces that can be used with the same rod.
That said, cats simple cardboard boxes and especially kittens, who still lose their baby teeth, love to chew on cardboard. Bottle tops, ping pong balls and anything they can bat around the floor keep them amused as well.
Note: elastic bands, string, cords from blinds, etc. can be deadly for kittens, please ensure you never have things they can swallow on the floor. Like human babies, kittens tend to put anything they find into their mouths.
Yes, cats that have access to a garden will use that to do their business, but will still want a litter tray when it rains or when they are locked up at night.
Cat’s want to dig when doing their business, so tend to go where the soil is softer. They also don’t want a dirty toilet, so will go to many different places. To prevent this and give our cats a clean toilet, we have created several outside toilets for our cats that they use during the day.
The outdoor toilets are at least 1m x 1m in size, dug out to 50cm and filled with sifted compost. Using the Cat’s Best cat litter and disposing of soiled litter in the compost produces great compost. Having sifted compost means the soil is soft and stays soft, so the cats will always go here. Every two days we clean out the toilets and remove the feces, every 4 weeks we change out the entire compost with new compost and throw the old soil back into the compost.