Congratulations on your new kitten! There is nothing more enjoyable than a new, playful and huggable ball of fluff for a friend. Kittens tend to be more independent than puppies but they still need lots of care and attention. See this handout for more information and Recommendations for New Owners
Our kitten wellness program is designed to offer your new kitten all the benefits of veterinary services available to him / or her from 6 weeks of age to 16 weeks of age. Included in this service is a series of complete general physical examinations and vaccinations including rabies, panleukopenia (cat distemper), respiratory calicivirus, feline rhinotracheitis, feline leukemia, etc. Go here for more information on diseases and vaccinations.
All kittens should receive a series of FVRCP core vaccinations. This immunization series begins at six to eight weeks of age and continues every three to four weeks until the kitten is 12-16 weeks old. The rabies vaccine is usually given at the last vaccine visit. The American Association of Feline Practitioners recommends that kittens receive leukemia vaccines whether they go outside or not
Your new kitten will be thoroughly checked over to detect any congentital problems or other diseases such as ear mites, fleas, ringworm, etc. In addition, your kitten may be fecal tested for worms and be treated for the most common intestinal worm of kittens – roundworms. These roundworms usually come through the mother’s milk and can cause your kitten to vomit and / or experience diarrhea; however, it is possible for your kitten to have roundworms and not show any signs of harboring the worms. A microscopic fecal examination will allow us to evaluate the presence of these worms. The examination will also look for other types of worms or parasites such as ear mites that can affect the well being of your kitten.
AAFP/AAHA Feline Life Stage Guidelines
Preventive veterinary care can improve your cat’s quality of life, detect illness earlier and, as a result, reduce the long-term expenses involved in keeping Tabby healthy. For this reason, semi-annual wellness exams throughout your cat’s life are recommended by veterinarians, with more frequent exams for elderly cats or those with medical or behavioral conditions. These wellness exams are crucial because sick cats often show no sign of disease and their health can change quickly – the sooner a health problem is caught, the better chance there is that your cat will be feeling healthy and frisky again.
Discussions and treatment at your cat’s wellness exams will vary somewhat over the years, so age designations help focus attention on the physical and behavioral changes that occur at different stages. For example, environmental needs change with life stage; play is a priority for kittens and young cats, while easy access to a comfortable resting spot is more important to elderly cats. At all ages, your veterinarian will want to know about your cat’s nutrition, dental care, whether it ever goes outdoors, daily enrichment activities, and behavior to best tailor a wellness plan for your cat. There’s a lot more that goes into these visits than just vaccinations!
- Kitten (birth to 6 months). Kittens have a high play drive, so toys can help prevent biting during play. Ask your veterinarian about socialization techniques to get them accustomed to handling, car transport, and encounters with children or other animals.
- Junior (7 months to 2 years). Inter-cat aggression, eliminating outside the litter box, urine or marking may develop at this stage.
- Prime (3 to 6 years) and Mature (7 to 10 years). Your cat may begin to play less, so it’s important to make sure they still get enough exercise to avoid weight gain.
- Senior (11 to 14 years) and Geriatric (15 years and older). Older cats showing signs of behavioral changes like vocalization or changes in litter box usage should always be evaluated for an underlying medical condition.
Getting to your veterinarian in a feline-friendly manner
It’s important to do all you can to make the drive to the veterinary clinic as stress-free as possible. To reduce the anxiety of the car ride, you can start early with kittens to get them used to their carrier by keeping it out and accessible at home. Create a positive association with the carrier by making it a comfortable resting, feeding or play location, and place familiar clothing from a favorite person in it regularly and just before transport. It’s also wise to get cats used to the car – pair car trips with positive experiences. It can be helpful to withhold food before travel to prevent motion sickness and increase their interest in treats at the clinic. Finally, draping a blanket over the carrier during the car ride can help cats feel safe.
At any stage in a cat’s life, it’s important for owners to keep an eye on any behavioral changes and discuss them with your veterinarian between wellness exams. You know your cat best, and by quickly identifying any potential health issues, you’ll be helping your cat live a happy and healthy life at every age.