It’s A New Kitten!
Congratulations on your new kitten! Whether this is your 1ST kitten or your 40th, everything old becomes new again. The following is a brief breakdown of what our doctors at Claiborne Hill Veterinary Hospital recommend for a kitten’s first year of routine care.
Deworming: Most kittens can have intestinal worms, such as roundworms and hookworms, from birth. We recommend the first deworming at two weeks of age with the second deworming two weeks later. A fecal examination is usually performed at 6-8 weeks of age to make sure that all the worms are gone. The fecal examination may also show other intestinal parasite such as tapeworms, coccidia, giardia, etc.
*We recommend that owners bring a fresh stool (fecal) sample when they arrive.*
Vaccinations: Kittens are given their initial vaccines around 8 weeks. They will be given a series of boosters to make sure that once the antibodies from their mother’s milk are gone they will still be protected. All cats, even indoor pets, need to be vaccinated. The following is the schedule that our hospital recommends:
|8 weeks||Leukemia, Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, Panleukopenia, Chlamydia Psittaci|
|12 weeks||Rabies, Leukemia, Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, Panleukopenia, Chlamydia Psittaci|
|16 weeks||Leukemia, Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, Panleukopenia, Chlamydia Psittaci|
Annual vaccinations are usually performed on or around your pet’s birthday. This makes it easier to remember when they are due.
FIV/FeLV Testing: All kittens and new cats should be tested for Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) and Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV).
FIV weakens your cat’s immune system. Affected cats are more susceptible to other diseases and infections. It is transmitted through bites and can be passed in utero from the mother or queen. Signs include swollen glands, fever, depression, loss of appetite, weight loss, sores in the mouth and recurrent infections. Cats that are susceptible to exposure to FIV may receive a series of vaccines to protect them. All cats that receive this vaccine must be microchipped since they will now test positive for FIV on any standard FIV test.
FeLV inhibits the immune system and results in various types of cancer and other chronic diseases. The virus is present in saliva, urine, and other body fluids. It is transmitted by direct contact, including licking, biting, and sneezing. Signs include depression, fever, loss of appetite, anemia and swollen glands of the neck and abdomen. This disease can be easily prevented with vaccination.
External Parasites: Fleas are a nuisance to both the cat and the owner. Fleas cause the cat to become uncomfortable and scratch or bite themselves frequently. Most owners will notice ‘flea dirt’ as black specks on the cat’s bedding or in the cat’s fur. Fleas can be easily prevented with topical medication. If you are finding them in your house, you must thoroughly wash your cat’s bedding and vacuum.
Ear mites cause great discomfort to your cat. They will scratch their ears and shake their heads. They acquire these mites from other infested cats. Your cat should be treated since the mites can lead to secondary ear infections. After diagnosing the mites on an ear swab, your vet will send home the appropriate ear drops or recommend a topical parasiticide.
Heartworms: Especially in the south, cats are also susceptible to heartworms. Heartworms are transmitted by mosquitoes. Signs include coughing, difficulty breathing, vomiting, and even sudden death. Around 25% of cats with heartworm infections are indoor cats! Heartworm disease is often difficult to diagnose in early stages, but is easy to prevent. Your veterinarian can assist you in selecting the appropriate prevention.
Diet: We recommend feeding a good, name brand kitten food for the first year of life. Dry food is preferred over canned because it helps to promote healthy teeth and gums. Free choice water is a must. Milk should be avoided as cats generally lose the ability to digest the proteins and can cause diarrhea. Table scraps are strongly discouraged since adequate nutrition cannot be assured.
Microchipping: We strongly recommend for all pets to be microchipped. This is a permanent identification in case your pet is lost or stolen. A small chip is placed underneath the skin via a large bore needle. The procedure is quick and virtually painless. Afterwards, any clinic or shelter will be able to scan the microchip in your pet and acquire your information to promptly and safely return your beloved pet to you!
Neutering/Declaw: If your pet is not going to be used for breeding, we usually recommend that they be neutered (spayed or castrated) between 4 – 12 months of age.
Female cats will receive an ovariohysterectomy which is the removal of the female’s uterus and ovaries. Spaying a female will help reduce the risk of uterine infections, tumors of the reproductive system, false pregnancies and conditions related to hormonal imbalances. She will probably be more relaxed, playful and affectionate and may become less nervous and noisy.
Castrating a male is the removal of both testicles. Castrating can help discourage roaming, spraying, aggression, and tumor of the reproductive system.
Onychectomy is the removal of your cats “claws”. This is only recommended for STRICTLY inside cats. This procedure is usually done between 2 to 6 months of age.