So you have, or are thinking about, a new kitten? Congratulations! You will enjoy many years together, providing each other with ongoing companionship, entertainment and joy. There will be many moments of absolute joy, and other moments that will surely test you, but all will provide life-long memories.
At Pets and their People Veterinary Surgeries, (Unley, Black Forest and Fulham Gardens Vets) our aim is to minimize the worry of kitten care, to untangle the mass of ‘things-we-have-to-do’and help you to prevent many of the ‘things-that-can-go-wrong’; to make owning a kitten a happy and thoroughly enjoyable experience.
To help new kitten owners and to ensure your kitten gets a great start in life, we offer a free health check for kittens under 8 weeks of age. On this visit we will include a comprehensive information on kitten care.
If during the health check any problems are found we will discuss them, discuss your options and the estimated costs. If you decide to go ahead with one of the recommended treatment options then normal consultation fees will apply.
For kittens under 8 weeks of age, it is important that they receive a vaccination to provide temporary protection against the potentially fatal diseases of Feline Enteritis, Feline Rhinotracheitis Virus and Feline Calicivirus (F3). This vaccination will help protect them until they are old enough for their course of two permanent vaccinations. If your kitten has already had this first vaccination you will have been given a vaccination certificate.
However, if your kitten has not had a first vaccination, we strongly recommend you have it done today! (Vaccination fees will apply.) We recommend vaccinating to provide long lasting immunity with an F3 for inside cats (a course of two injections from 8 weeks of age). For cats that will spend some of their time outside or go into boarding we recommend vaccinating with F3 + FIV (a course of three injections after 8 weeks of age).
Permanent vaccination schedules can be quite complicated depending on what vaccines have been given and at what age, however we can discuss this with you at your kitten’s next visit. If your cat is likely to go into a cattery or you are moving interstate, you should discuss with the vet about vaccinating for Chlamydia and Feline Leukaemia.
Reasonable immunity is not present until two weeks after the final vaccination. Please keep your kitten isolated to your house and yard until then.
Ongoing protection against these four diseases throughout your kitten’s life, is provided by an annual reevaluation and appropriate booster vaccination.
It is almost impossible to prevent your kitten getting worms. Many kittens are born with worms, others become infected from their mother’s milk, and because worm eggs are prevalent, cats can also be infected throughout their life from the environment.
It is important to treat and prevent worm infections because worm infections can cause serious disease, particularly in kittens and new cats. Also the common Roundworms, Hookworms and Tapeworms can cause preventable disease in people – children are the most susceptible as they tend to have poorer hygiene habits. To help prevent Hydatid tapeworm infection, cats should not be fed any offal (raw or cooked).
But because not all kittens have worms, and we dont believe in medicating pets with out a purpose, we are now using faecal egg tests to determine and develop an individualised treatment program for your kitten. Please provide a fresh faecal sample at your earliest convenience. (Collected within half an hour of production! Sealed in a container, and stored in a cool place until dropped off at the clinic the same day.)
If you are unable to provide a sample for testing ….please speak to the staff about an alternative treatment regime.
Some kittens will already have fleas, however most kittens will pick up fleas from your back yard where straying cats may have dropped many flea eggs. Fleas lay up to 50 eggs per flea, per day. These eggs can hatch in response to movement ( of your new kitten), mature and be ready to lay eggs in as little as fourteen days leading to a rapid build up of flea numbers in your home.
Heartworms are parasitic worms that are spread by the bites of mosquitoes. The adult worm takes 6 months to grow and are unaffected by normal worming tablets (often called “all-wormer” tablets). There was a belief that cats are more resistant to heartworm disease than dogs, but it is not that simple. Cats suffer a different syndrome which is much harder to test for, so we now believe that we were unaware of many of the cats suffering from heartwrm disease. There is no treatment for cats once infected – making heartworm prevention even more important.
So, to ensure that your kitten does not have fleas and to start preventing heartworm straight away we recommend using the safe and effective spot-on called Revolution. To maintain your kitten’s protection against fleas and heartworm you will need to continue using Revolution on your kitten every month for life.
It is very important to get kittens started with the right nutrition. Kittens are adjusting from drinking their mother’s milk, which is very nutritious and digestible. They are growing quickly and are going through a stressful time as they have been separated from their mother, from the rest of their litter and have been moved to new surroundings.
We recommend a good quality product like Hills Science Diet - Vet Essentials Kitten. Hills Science offers good value as you do ‘get-what-you-pay-for’. It will provide better nutrition than can be prepared at home, resulting in healthy internal function, firm stools, perfect bone growth, glossy soft coats and bright eyes.
Because of the higher quality you need to feed much less of this than cheaper foods. Almost all new kitten owners unknowingly over feed their new kitten. Often after a few days your kitten may not want to eat a meal because it’s body is telling it that it is not needed. Take away that meal, and reduce the amount of subsequent meals by 10-20%. Over feeding is a common cause of diarrhoea in kittens.
Kittens are individuals; each is different, but most will let you know when it is time to drop a meal when they start leaving food at the end of a meal. Use the feeding information on the bag as a guide, and start on 3 meals daily initially, but remember that these feeding guides can often be very generous.
If your new kitten becomes sick or injured, the last thing you want is to be worried about the cost of his/her care. Pet insurance insures you against the unforeseeable costs of owning a pet, some companies also subsidise routine care as well.
Currently a wide range of pet insurers are available to choose from, all with different types of policies ranging from accident only or with combined illness cover. Some examples of insurers are Petplan, Pet Secure, AFS Pet Med, RSPCA Pet Insurance and Vets Own. We suggest you discuss your needs with the company before applying. Also check with your own home insurance company to see if and what your pets may be covered for under an existing policy.
At your health check we are usually able to arrange 4 weeks Pet Insurance Cover at no charge.
With three convenient vet locations:
All Surgeries are closed on public holidays.