Keep your young pet happy and healthy with our new kitten guide
First things first – vaccinations
To protect your kitten from preventable diseases and infections it’s essential that you bring them in for vaccinations.
These are given first at nine weeks old and 12 weeks old as an initial course, with a yearly booster required thereafter to keep their immunity topped up.
All vaccinations and booster appointments include an extended health check, with time to discuss any problems or concerns that you may have with the Veterinary Surgeon.
Other treatments your cat will need:
Most kittens are born already infected with worms, so it’s vital that they are wormed from an early age. Worming will not only help prevent disease harming the kitten itself, but also minimise health risks to children via kitten/cat’s fur and faeces.
Our vets will discuss what wormers your kitten has already had, and what its expected lifestyle will be from now on. They will then offer you a personalised parasite programme for your new family member, and make sure that you know how to use each product.
We often use Spot-On wormer products as these are easier, kinder and more reliable to apply, and we will help you to remember how often and when these doses need to be applied. We may also recommend pastes or pills to be swallowed in certain circumstances.
Your veterinary surgeon will help you decide on the best option during your appointment.
Fleas are external parasites that can live all year round, feeding on your pet and using soft furnishings in your home to breed. As well as being a nuisance to your pet, they can also cause skin disease and transmit tapeworms (internal worm parasites).
The easiest flea treatment is the ‘Spot-on’ type, which requires the application of a small vial of liquid onto the skin every month. There are now several types of Spot-On available. We recommend that you source your spot-on from us, as they are not all equivalent, and buying the incorrect product could at best fail to adequately protect your kitten, and at worse be very dangerous indeed.
Tapeworms are not generally a large risk to kittens (unless they have fleas, in which case we will advise you further), and can’t be transmitted to humans via their pets.
We do recommend annual tapeworming for adult cats, though, increased to quarterly treatments for hunting cats. This can be done by injection here at the clinic, by tablet, or using a special anti-tapeworm Spot-on product. Our team are here to advise you which is best and how often to do this. This is part of your kitten’s personalised parasite programme, which we will review annually as they grow up.
Getting the right diet
Adult cat food isn’t suitable for kittens, as it doesn’t provide the correct levels of protein, vitamins or minerals needed for healthy growth. Kitten foods (which are clearly labelled) should be used until your new pet turns twelve months old, (eighteen months in giant breeds), at which point you can swap to adult cat food.
We recommend ad-lib feeding of a quality dry food from a very young age. This has been shown to teach youngsters how to self-regulate their intake and reduces the risk of obesity in adulthood.
We recommend a majority proportion of dry food in your cat’s diet, to provide the best possible protection for their teeth, keeping them clean and reducing tartar formation.
Why we recommend neutering
Neutering prevents the animal from breeding but it also has several other advantages:
- It decreases the numbers of unwanted cats/kittens
- Neutering of male cats can reduce/prevent antisocial urine spraying and marking habits
- It reduces the urge to wander (for example, to find a mate)
- It reduces fighting habits and hence risk from FeLV infection, as well as infection with Feline Aids (FIV) & Feline Leukemia (FELV)
We neuter kittens that are as young as seven weeks of age. Your vet will give you further information during your first appointment about the optimal age to neuter your pet.
Don’t forget about a microchip
Identity chips are implanted under the skin of the neck/shoulders of the kitten. They encode a unique identification number that is read by the scanner. This number is linked on a computer database to your name and address so that your kitten can be identified and returned to your home if lost.
We always recommend insurance cover for your kitten, so that you have peace of mind over possible future vets’ fees. Should your kitten ever require treatment, you can concentrate on getting them better instead of worrying about the cost.
We offer complimentary four-week insurance cover with Pet Plan at your kitten’s first vaccination visit, completely free and without obligation. At the end of the four weeks, you’ll be invited by Pet Plan to continue the cover for a set monthly fee.
Generally, when deciding on insurance, try to choose a company offering lifelong cover for each complaint. It should also be noted that most insurance companies require annual vaccination boosters (usually including Flu, Enteritis and FeLV).
Insurance company leaflets are available at our reception but feel free to ask your vet for more in-depth advice during your kitten’s next check-up.
Ultimately, getting your new kitten used to being examined at the vets is a great idea – it’ll make future treatments and visits much less stressful for you both. So get them booked in for their first check-up and we’ll make sure they’re given the best start in life.
We look forward to meeting your new kitten – call 01444 456886 for an appointment