The Secret Language of Kittens by Tammy Gagne was a hasty purchase, bought after my husband and I decided to adopt our foster kitten. Compact in size and almost 200 pages in length, this guide to kitten care will serve as a basic introduction for the new pet owner. To obtain in-depth coverage or if you’re a more experienced pet owner, I’d suggest supplementing your shelves with other books.
Never had a kitten? The Secret Language of Kittens will help you pick the right breed, as well as know what supplies to purchase. It’ll also give advice on how to introduce your new arrival to the family, train your growing kitten, pick the best veterinarian care, and even understand your young feline. The guide is well-organized and lavishly illustrated with photographs and sidebars. Despite the tiny print, you should be able to skim chapters within a week–a fact you might appreciate given how quickly kittens become cats.
Being a new kitten owner, I memorized the new facts this guide gave me. For example, I discovered that there are hypoallergenic breeds. These cats possess less dander than others and might be best for those who have allergies but still desire felines in their home. I also learned not all cat beds are the same. You should pick soft (as in fleece or velvety material) and machine-washable ones. Then there’s the fact that even the youngest cats can be overfed and so even with them you need to watch portions. Finally, I had no idea that kittens had teething and “terrible-two” stages.
Being a long-term cat owner, however, I felt disappointment over the lack of details for some topics. An outstanding example involved the page on pet introductions. The meet and greet with four-legged family members amounted to this advice: introduce slowly, keep introductions brief, and try again later if the first introduction is a failure. While pet introductions might not turn out to be complicated, even online articles tend to offer recommendations such as scent exchange and allowing cats to see one another at a distance. I also felt dismayed that for controversial topics, Gagne mostly stated her opinions as facts whether to provide a wet, dry, raw, or grain-free diet, what type of feeding bowl to use, and even whether feral cats can be tamed.
Gagne’s bio suggests that she is an expert in her field. According to the back flap, Gagne is a freelance writer who specializes in the health and behavior of companion animals. Moreover, she won awards in pet writing competitions. Finally, her family have a myriad of feathered and furry creatures. In other words, new kitten owners should feel comfortable trusting her advice. At the same time, having read many pet guides, I found myself missing the personal touch. Nothing in Gagne’s guide itself that she possess any knowledge beyond what she has researched. However, this is a minor quibble, and certainly shouldn’t distract readers from Gagne’s guide.
As I noted at the start, The Secret Language of Kittens by Tammy Gagne was a hasty purchase, bought after my husband and I decided to adopt our foster kitten. Although many of my concerns I ended up seeking the advice of our veterinarian or a more exhaustive guide, my initial questions were adequately answered by this guide. It’s a good starting point.
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