Banfield Pet Hospital Joins in Welcoming Oregon Zoo Lion Cubs, Offering Tips for Acclimating a New Kitten to the Home

October 15, 2013 • Portland, OR

PORTLAND, Ore.—October 15, 2013—Banfield Pet Hospital®, the world’s largest veterinary practice and a proud partner of the Predators of the Serengeti exhibit at the Oregon Zoo, is thrilled to join in welcoming the three lion cubs born at the Oregon Zoo to their new home. Banfield knows that just like pet owners bringing home a new kitten, the zoo keepers have their hands full caring for these young, feisty fur-balls. Whether it’s a pet kitten or a lion cub, the cat family offspring are born with natural instincts and curiosity. In honor of the Oregon Zoo’s new residents, born just five weeks ago, Banfield has helpful tips to share with pet owners wanting to take on the responsibility of bringing a kitten into their own home.

“The first few months of a kitten’s life are critical for its health and development. Immediately immersing a kitten into everyday life by socializing them with new people and pets is just as important in the first few weeks of life as providing a balanced diet and healthy level of activity,” said Dr. Ari Zabell, director of client advocate support for Banfield Pet Hospital. “Banfield Pet Hospital and the Oregon Zoo share a passion for the care and well-being of pets and animals, and just like any new ‘kitten,’ the lion cubs are receiving special care to ensure they thrive in their new home.”

Fur the Love of Feline

Gaining a better understanding of the feline species and providing for a kitten’s needs with appropriate training and structure will ensure a smoother introduction of a new kitten into the family. The following are valuable tips for first-time kitten owners:

·     Cub or Kitten, Young Cats Are Full of Energy – Many find kittens to be irresistible and adorable, but any pet owner who has raised a kitten can attest to their boundless amount of energy! Kittens are also naturally active at dawn and dusk and may choose to play throughout the night, keeping their owners awake. To discourage a kitten from wanting to play in the middle of the night, provide plenty of activity and exercise to wear them out before bedtime.

·     Big or Small, Cats Like to Sit Tall – A kitten will look to perch on high surfaces as it explores its new surroundings. Provide a scratching post, cat tree or window perch to help discourage them from choosing a less favorable perch, such as the furniture.

·     Curiosity and the Cat – A well-socialized cat is one that gets along well in new situations and with different types of people and pets. When introducing a kitten to new experiences, be aware of the kitten’s body language. A comfortable cat will have a relaxed body and may purr, with ears and tail up. As a new experience is introduced, reward positive behavior with a favorite treat, toy or petting.

·     Cat vs. the Carrier, Can’t We All Just Get Along? It is essential to introduce a kitten to its carrier at a young age so that it becomes acclimated and comfortable with being in the carrier. An early and positive introduction to a carrier can provide a cat with a safe haven throughout its life. Confining a cat in a carrier provides safety in transportation, including important trips to the veterinarian for regular check-ups.

“It’s important to avoid overwhelming a kitten when beginning socialization,” said Dr. Zabell. “If a kitten acts fearful of a new experience, adjust the circumstances so that the kitten is more comfortable, which will create a more positive experience for everyone.”

Banfield Pet Hospital, based in Portland, is proud to have a close working relationship with its partner, the Oregon Zoo. For more than 10 years, Banfield has worked closely with the zoo, from partnerships in children’s education programming and Animal Investigators’ Camp, to sharing best practices in preventive healthcare and providing equipment for the zoo’s Veterinary Medical Center. In 2009, Banfield commissioned bronze sculptures at the entrance of thePredators of the Serengeti exhibit, depicting a full-size lion pride—including a male lion, two lionesses and three playful cubs—to demonstrate a shared passion for the care and well-being of animals.

For more information about Banfield Pet Hospital, or bringing a new kitten into the home, visit

About Banfield Pet Hospital® 

Founded in Portland, Ore., in 1955, Banfield is the largest general veterinary practice in the world. In 2007, Banfield joined the Mars, Inc. family of businesses, and today it is more than 830 hospitals strong in neighborhoods across the United States. More than 2,600 veterinarians at Banfield are committed to giving pets the highest quality of veterinary care. Banfield hospitals offer a full range of comprehensive medical services, computerized medical records, preventive care plans for pets and extended operating hours. Banfield Pet Hospital helps extend the lives of millions of pets each year through Optimum Wellness Plans®. For journalists seeking more information, visit or contact the Media Hotline at 888-355-0595.

About the Oregon Zoo Foundation

Founded in 1888, the Oregon Zoo has become a world-class institution through enduring community support. The generosity of individuals, families, foundations and corporate partners enables the Oregon Zoo Foundation to advance the zoo’s mission of inspiring the community to create a better future for wildlife. Learn how donor support enhances the zoo’s conservation, education and animal welfare efforts: