New Kitten Care
Welcoming a new kitten into your home it is a very exciting time! You will need various items to get your new baby started off on the right paw. Safe toys, a litter box and a healthy kitten food will be at the top of the list. You can probably get rid of your television because there is nothing more fun to watch then a kitten at play!
A first visit to Katz & Dogs Animal Hospital will ensure your kitten is off to a healthy start. Dr. Katz will thoroughly examine your kitten from nose to tail and offer some helpful suggestions on how to raise a happy and healthy pet. You will also be able to ask questions to Dr. Katz and our very knowledgeable technicians and assistants.
The vaccines commonly administered to kittens are separated into two groups: core and non-core vaccines.
- Rabies is a dangerous, untreatable, fatal viral disease that that affects the central nervous system. It can infect all warm-blooded animals, including people. Even strictly indoor cats need to be vaccinated due to the public health risk of Rabies and the deadly nature of the virus. Rabies vaccination is performed at 16 weeks of age in kittens and re-vaccination is performed every 3 years.
- FVRCP encompasses three feline viruses (Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis/Calicivirus/Panleukopenia), all of which can cause upper respiratory, GI signs, lethargy, ocular and oral problems and more. The FVRCP vaccine is started in kittens at 6-8 weeks of age and then given every 3-4 weeks until 16 weeks of age. The next vaccine is given 1 year later or you may decide to check titer levels instead. If your pet has already been vaccinated for distemper, we recommend a titer to see if adequate levels of immunity remain from the last vaccine. Evaluating a titer involves taking a blood sample and looking for antibodies to the disease(s) we are vaccinating for.
- FeLV (Feline Leukemia Virus) is a retrovirus that causes immunosuppression, cancer, anemia and commonly death. It is transmitted via exposure to saliva, nasal secretions, blood or milk of infected cats via prolonged intimate contact, mutual grooming, biting, sharing food/water dishes and blood transfusions. Kittens are especially susceptible to infections. Cats and kittens must be tested for the virus prior to initial vaccination and also when there is a possibility of exposure since the cat was last vaccinated. We only vaccinate at risk cats, for example: household cats that previously tested positive for the virus and cats that go outside.The FeLV vaccine is started in kittens at 8-12 weeks of age with a second booster given 3-4 weeks later. The next vaccine is given 1 year after the last vaccine of the kitten series. Re-vaccination should be performed yearly in cats that we determine to be at risk for exposure.
Recommended Blood work:
- FeLV/FIV Testing – Feline Leukemia Virus and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus
This is a blood test that is usually recommended for cats older than 6 months of age and for cats who are newly introduced into the household. The test is most accurate when the cat is older than this but can be done earlier.
You will be asked to bring a stool sample so we can test it for intestinal parasites and giardia. These tests are repeated annually to make certain your pet has not come in contact with any parasites. Many parasites can be transmitted to other family pets or in some cases even human family members.
Helpful Training Advice
One of the most important things to teach your new kitten is how to properly use their litter box. Creating healthy litter habits early on is important for your cat’s health and teaches them that eliminating out of the box is not an acceptable behavior. Once you find the type of litter and type and size of box your kitten prefers try to be consistent! Also, it is advisable to choose a location in your home to place the box and have it remain there. If you have more then one cat you will need to have multiple litter boxes in different locations.
It is extremely helpful to start training your kitten to have his or her paws touched so when it is time for a nail trim they have been conditioned to accept this type of handling. How often you need to trim your cat’s claws depends on numerous factors. Check your kitten’s nails every week to make sure they are at the proper length. If you are unsure how to do this, you can check your kitten when they are at rest. When you look at their paw, you should not see the tip of the nail. Most cats need their nails trimmed every 2 to 3 weeks while others may be able to go a longer period without a trim. Indoor cats like to scratch on vertical or horizontal surfaces (like your furniture!) even if you trim their nails. You should provide your little one with a carpeted, rope or cardboard scratching post for this purpose. Offer your kitten scratching posts with various surfaces and see which one he or she prefers.
We do not recommend declawing at Katz and Dogs Animal Hospital. In addition to scratching posts, applying Soft Paws, which are rubber nail covers, is a humane alternative to declawing and allows your cat to exercise their claws without doing any damage to household furniture or humans.
Please call us to make an appointment for a visit with your new kitten. The team at Katz & Dogs Animal Hospital will guide you through the kind of preventative care you need for your pet based on your individual lifestyle.
We are always very happy to welcome new pets and their families to Katz & Dogs Animal Hospital. We feel it is an honor to be chosen by you to care for your kitten and look forward to working together with your family to help raise a happy, healthy and well adjusted furry family member.