Kittens are a lot of fun and a lot of work at the same. We will do our best to prepare you for this exciting phase of life.
It is necessary to be on flea and heartworm prevention year round. Even indoor only animals are exposed to fleas that come inside on our shoes and mosquitoes that fly in through doors and windows. Heartworms are spread by mosquitoes. It is life threatening to have and impossible to treat heartworm disease in cats. It is much cheaper to prevent heartworms than to manage the complications that come with them. Revolution Plus is an all-in-one, once monthly, topical product that is ideal for indoor and outdoor cats. Intestinal parasites are very common in kittens. We need two negative fecal screenings to be confident they are free of intestinal parasites. We will do regular dewormings as needed. Some intestinal parasites are contagious to humans. Fleas can also carry diseases that are contagious to humans.
Yearly Vaccines Based on Their Lifestyle
Kittens receive a series of vaccines. They receive a series to allow the body to have ample time to build adequate protection from the diseases. The vaccine schedule is designed to overlap the maternal antibodies your kitten naturally receives from the mother. Vaccines are started ideally at 6 weeks of age and boostered every 3 weeks until completed. The vaccine series is typically completed by 16-18 weeks of age, depending on what vaccines they are receiving and when the series was started. All kittens should be tested for infectious diseases that may determine restrictions on their lifestyle and give us information on challenges they may face as they age. With a few drops of blood, we can test for Feline Leukemia, Feline AIDS, and Feline Heartworms.
Socialization and Training
The first 9 weeks of your kitten’s life will greatly impact how they act as adults. During this time, it is critical to socialize them with other animals, humans, and environments. Now is the time to make anything that seems scary as positive as you can. Controlled socialization with animals that you know are healthy and vaccinated is preferred during the vaccine series.
At home you can start kennel training right away. Even if your kitten isn’t going to stay in a kennel it is good to get them acclimated prior to any emergency boarding or day care situations. You can also start playing with their ears and paws. This will help them get used to ear cleanings and nail trims. You can even teach kittens tricks, especially if they are food motivated.
Nutrition and Dental Care
Depending on the size and age of your kitten you can feed 2-3 times a day. The amount will increase with the growing size of your kitten. The average adult cat eats about 1/4 cup of dry food twice daily. We recommend Hill’s Science Diet Healthy Advantage and Purina Pro Plan kitten food for the first 12 months of life. Meal fed cats are statistically less overweight than grazers. Meal feeding can be done by putting the food down only for 20-30 min at each meal time. They will adjust to eating when food is available. Purina Pro Plan and Wellness are both low calorie treat options that are also great for training. All healthy chewing and at home dental care helps but all cats will eventually need a dental cleaning. Studies have shown that 75% of cats will have some level of dental disease by the age of 3 years old.
Spaying and Neutering
Spaying and neutering between 4-6 months is recommended to prevent sexually mature behaviors (i.e. territorial aggression, urine spraying, and roaming). It also helps to prevent unwanted litters. In females, spaying reduces their risk for breast cancer. At the time of surgery, their pre-surgical screening will establish their baseline blood and urine values that will help to catch changes early as they age. This is also a great time to microchip.
Microchipping is the only way to give your pet a permanent piece of identification. Collars and tags are easily lost. Without a microchip, 90% of lost pets are not returned to their family.
Please, let us know how we can partner with you in getting your new kitten set up for success.