Your New Kitten – A Guide To Its Care

Introduction

New pet owners seem to get swamped with conflicting advice from various quarters. My suggestion is common sense and moderation are two items that should be top of the list. The rest is down to seeking advice and then making informed decisions based on what you feel is best for your new kitten and your own personal circumstances.

Suggested Feeding Guidelines

  • 6-12 weeks: 4 meals daily of a complete kitten food.
  • 12-16 weeks: 3 complete kitten food meals.
  • From about 16 weeks: 2 complete kitten food meals.
  • Change to an adult complete diet at about 1 year.
  • Remember if you are feeding a complete kitten diet you do not need to add any form of supplementation or milk.

The best complete diet for your kitten is the one it finds palatable and likes and that agrees with your kitten. Remember even the most expensive complete diet will sometimes cause diarrhea in the occasional kitten. I guess you can only try and see.

Cost – there is always going to be a premium on a top quality complete kitten food. The manufacturers have spent large sums researching the nutritional requirements of kittens and then formulating an optimal diet to deliver these requirements. I reckon the premium is fair considering what you get. If you are still confused then speak to your veterinary surgeon or your practice’s nutritional advisor if they have one.

Vaccinations

Once vaccinated your kitten should receive yearly booster vaccinations

  • Your kitten should have a course of three vaccinations starting from the age of nine weeks. With the third usually being given at fifteen weeks. Kittens should be vaccinated against flu, enteritis and leukemia (FeLV).
  • Remember older kittens still need vaccinating if the breeder has not already done it. If the kitten has only been vaccinated against flu and enteritis the leukemia vaccine can still be given at a later date.
  • At Good Shepherd Veterinary Centre, we recommend kittens should not go out unsupervised until 10 days after their third vaccination.
  • Once vaccinated your kitten should receive yearly booster vaccinations at its annual health check.

Worming

Your kitten should have been wormed before coming into your care. Further worming will still be necessary. At Good Shepherd Veterinary Centre, we recommend that you worm your kitten monthly up to six months of age and then every 3 months.

Neutering and spaying

  • We recommend that both male and female kittens are desexed after the age of 6 months. Not only does this prevent unwanted pregnancy, it also has several health benefits to our pets.
  • Neutering males can reduce the likelihood of testicular tumors and may prevent your cat from wandering as far and prevent him from fighting as much with other cats.
  • Spaying females at an early age can reduce mammary gland problems and prevent serious uterine infections in later life.
  • Young male and female cats should be checked by a vet before the neutering operation to ensure that they are physically mature enough.
  • If you are considering breeding from your pet you should weigh up all the pros and cons carefully, if things do not go according to plan it can be time consuming and expensive.

Micro chipping

Micro chipping is a unique way of identifying your pet. A small microchip is implanted, in between shoulder blades (under the skin). Should your pet go missing, many rescue centers are able to scan for these chips and identify you as the owner.

Fleas

Flea infestations are best dealt with before they are a problem by the regular use of an appropriate flea control regime. There are various flea treatments on the market to suit both your pocket and practical skills in applying them to your pet.

We recommend the use of an “on pet” product such as Frontline spray or spot-on. Plus an environmental control product such as a household spray.

Flea collars are rarely effective enough to control a bad flea infestation and are therefore best avoided.

Dental care

Cat’s teeth, like our own, are susceptible to cavities and tartar. Regular oral hygiene is therefore an essential part of the care of your pet. Tooth brushing with a soft child’s tooth brush is suitable but may be very difficult to do in some cats. Flavored toothpastes are available from the practice for your pet. Logic gel may be easier to administer, ask at the practice for advice.

Toys, playing and training

Your kitten will need lots of toys to keep it occupied. Try not to buy toys with bits that come loose and can be swallowed. Avoid playing with cotton thread and wool if the kitten is unsupervised as these can be easily swallowed and can cause serious problems.

Most kittens will automatically use a litter tray without needing to be trained. While the kitten is young a litter tray should always be readily available for use. If as the kitten gets older you would like him or her to use the garden instead then the litter tray can be gradually moved nearer to the door, then outside and then into the garden before removing it altogether.

And finally

We hope that you will have lots of fun and pleasure from your cat over the coming years. We trust it will enjoy good health and hope we can help you achieve this.

Should you need further advice about the health or welfare of your cat then contact us at the practice.

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