Information For New Kitten Owners

you are so excited that you have a new addition to your family. As you shower your new kitten with love and attention, don’t forget the most important key to the kitten’s health: a visit to the vet. All new kittens should always have an preliminary examination with a vet. During that first visit, the vet will check your kitten thoroughly to assess her general health. You will also have the option of ordering other diagnostic and preventative tests , such as a fecal exam to check for internal parasites. They can also test for other feline diseases such as Coccidiosis, Giardia. Usually, you will need to de-worm your kitty to prevent infestation of parasites that can lead to malnourishment.

As long as FELV/FIV tests are negative, your vet will suggest to vaccinate the kitten to help build immunity to fatal feline infectious disease. These shots will be done in a series, usually with FVRCP, FELV/FIV, and Rabies. Different vets follow different schedules but a typically schedule has shots given at 3-4 weeks apart. The only exception is the Rabies shot, which is usually given around 12-18 weeks old. As with all vaccinations there are risks, so you should address any questions and concerns to your vet before having the vaccinations.

Even if you have adopted your kitten from a pet store or shelter, it is not a good idea to assume your kitten is current on her shots or is in good general health. If possible, ask for vet records, breeder records, and certificates of health, to show to your vet at the first exam. If there are no records available, your vet will most likely vaccinate regardless just to be safe.

Information For New Kitten Owners

Once you know your kitten is in good health and you have provided protection with de-worming and vaccinations, then you can turn to making the home life comfortable and fun. Make sure that you have proper equipment if the kitten is to remain inside. For example, you will definitely need a litter box. Make sure to keep clean, fresh litter at a proper depth for the kitten to bury feces. You may also want to invest in a textured rubber mat for kitty to step out on to help prevent spreading litter pieces all over the floor. Usually, the kitten will opt to use the litter box in preference to other household locations, but it is essential that you show him or her where it is.

A scratching post can be helpful in saving your furniture from the common practice of claw sharpening. Other toys to keep your new little friend entertained can provide loads of fun for the family as they watch the kitten chase the toy mouse, slap at the feather on the string, and pounce on the ball spinning inside the circular tray. Always inspect toys for broken pieces or worn parts that could cause problems if a small part is swallowed.

Your kitten has an innate urge to pounce on objects. This “object play” mimics his or her predatory nature. If you give your kitten a variety of toys, she’ll develop this behavior early. This will keep your kitten health in optimal mental and physical condition because he or she will learn the social skills and coordination that her litter mates would normally provide. This type of play will also give the exercise needed to help prevent many health problems such as obesity. Abundant amount of play will also keep the kitten entertained, so that boredom doesn’t set in causing behavioral problems.

Our previous article When Do Newly Born Kittens Actually See The World? Our article titled How do cats see things ve When Do Kittens see about information is given.

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2 Responses

  1. Alyssa Brown says:

    My cat has episodes of twitching of his tail when he will hiss, growl and swat at his tail or anyone around him. He will attack and try to bite anyone around him. This has been going on since I adopted him when he was 1 year old. The vet has given him amitriptyline (5mg) once a day. These episodes seem to happen most mid morning and early evening. Any suggestions?

    • petlife says:

      Behavioral issues that deal with aggression can be very difficult to deal with and I would encourage you to be exercise caution with your cat. These are very complicated cases and take a lot of work. I would first encourage you to have a full behavioral work up done on your cat. This should be ideally done with a veterinary behaviorist. If there is not one in your area, there are several that will do consults on the phone. A behavioral consult includes a full history, including how long it’s been going on, where it happens, who your cat targets, what his body posture is, how he acts before and after, what you’ve done to correct him and how he’s reacted, how your house is set up, what his normal habits are etc. A full physical exam including lab work, urine check etc is also recommended to rule out any underlying medical condition. At our clinic, our behavior consults are a full hour and some behaviorists plan to spend several hours with their patients originally to get a handle on the situation. The behaviorist will then work with you to make a plan to try to reduce its aggression. This may include positive reinforcement of good behaviors (some even use clicker training), redirection techniques, environmental changes and enrichment. It may also include medication, like the amitriptyline he is currently on. Medication is usually only one part of the treatment plan though. The difficult thing with aggression cases are that the cats are unpredictable and the aggression can cause serious harm. Talk to your veterinarian further about what options you have in your area and good luck.

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