KITTEN CARE INFORMATION
Kittens are probably the cutest things you can come across, which makes it very tempting to get one without further thought. But with the kitten come serious responsibilities. It is important to fully understand what you are taking on by adopting one. Please read below a list of all your new kitty's health requirements.
What should your kitten be vaccinated against? We routinely vaccinate against Herpesvirus and Calicivirus (Cat Flu) and Feline Enteritis (F3). We also recommend vaccinating against FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus) if there is any chance that your cat will be allowed outdoors.
When should this be done?
1st F3 vaccination at 8 weeks of age
2nd F3 vaccination at 12 weeks of age (+/- FIV) (+/- FIV at 14 weeks)
3rd F3 vaccination at 16 weeks of age (+/- FIV)
A yearly booster is required to maintain immunity.
There are many different products available, that cover various parasites. More information about each of the parasites is below, but here is a summary of the simplest combination of products to cover intestinal worms, heartworm, fleas and ticks:
For kittens under 12 weeks, worm with an oral wormer such as Milpro, every fortnight from 2 to 12 weeks of age.
For adult, indoor cats that don’t need tick prevention: Revolution monthly + Popantel (tape wormer) every 3 months.
For adult, outdoor cats: Bravecto Plus every 2 months (covering ticks, fleas and heartworm), + Drontal or Milpro wormer for intestinal worms every 3 months. Hunting cats, including indoor cats that eat geckos, may need additional tapeworm cover for Spirometra every 3 months.
Hunting cats, including indoor cats that eat geckos, may need additional tapeworm cover for Spirometra every 3 months.
Roundworm, Hookworm, Tapeworm.
Spirometra is a tapeworm that we see in cats who hunt lizards, frogs, insects, or geckos. It may cause vomiting, weight loss and ill thrift. The dose rate for this four times the usual tapeworm dose. Talk to a health care team member if you suspect any of these signs.
With a replication rate of up to 50 eggs per day per flea living on your pet, prevention is much better than having to deal with fleas once they are present. If your cat has fleas, your house has fleas! All animals in the household must be treated for FLEA control to be effective! (all cats and all dogs!)
Products: Bravecto every 3 months, Bravecto Plus every 2 months, Revolution monthly.
Ticks can be a real and life-threatening problem all year round. We recommend protection against paralysis tick if your cat spends time outside. Tick prevention has become much easier for cats recently, with the introduction of long-acting spot-on products. It is still a good idea to check your cat over by hand each day – any ticks found can be pulled out. If the ‘head’ is left behind, it will fall out by itself.
Signs of tick paralysis include:
Wobbly back legs
Change in voice
Seek veterinary attention immediately!
This is performed at 5-6 months of age. Female cats can come into season as early as five months of age and are highly fertile!! Desexing will help control problems such as fighting, spraying, roaming and unwanted litters. Desexing before the first season also reduces the chance of mammary cancers later on in life, which in cats are usually malignant. Entire male cats will wander, fight, and are at high risk of contracting FIV. There is no advantage for your cat to have a season or a litter before desexing.
Use a good quality kitten commercial food (not adult) as these are balanced in all vitamins, minerals and nutrients your growing kitten needs. We recommend premium quality foods such as Hills and Royal Canin. Diet is very important to maintain lifelong kidney health and freedom from bladder problems. The type, frequency, and quantity of food will vary greatly with the age and activity level of your cat. Ad lib feeding (having food available all the time) leads to fussy and overweight cats.
Up to 3 months old ……3 meals/day
3-6 months old …… 2 meals /day
Over 6 months old …… 2 meals/day
It is a legal requirement by Council that all cats are microchipped before 12 weeks of age. In our region, cats are also required to be registered with the council. If your cat has identification, their chances of being reunited with your family are much higher – a collar and tag are important but may be lost, but a microchip is for life! Ask our healthcare team about the simple microchipping procedure.
Train from an early age to use litter trays, come when called and use a scratching post instead of your furniture. You should approach training a step at a time, continually rewarding desired actions and giving no encouragement to bad behaviour. Try to keep your kitten only indoors until at least 4-5 months of age – this will make enforcing your cat curfew of 5pm to 8am easier. It will also greatly reduce the likelihood that your cat will become a highly effective killer of your local wildlife – this change in their early learning habits can be crucial in producing a beloved family member who has minimum impact on your environment.
Keeping your cat only indoors is often the best solution for owner, pet and the environment. Outdoor enclosures attached to the house are ideal to keep your cat safe, as well as giving them the environmental interaction they desire.
ADVICE ON TABLET GIVING
Train your kitten to take tablets. You can do this by:-
Starting tablets (for worming) rather than liquids at a young age.
Putting your hand and fingers in the kitten’s mouth during patting and stoking to familiarise them to this.
You should supplement your kitten’s hygiene with regular grooming sessions to keep it free of loose hair and tangles – good therapy and excellent bonding time for kitten and owner alike! A longhaired kitten needs more frequent attention. Regular grooming also helps to reduce problems with hairballs.
No matter how much love and care we provide our pets, accidents and illness are beyond our control. We recommend Pet Health Insurance to take the worry out of paying pet health care bills when the unexpected happens. With some procedures and illnesses now costing in the thousands for specialist treatment, having insurance can certainly lead to substantial savings and peace of mind, knowing that you can do the best for your pet should the need arise.
If you have any questions or problems with your new kitten, please do not hesitate to give us a call!