Congratulations on your new kitten! We have put together a guide to help you both get through the transition with ease.
Bringing Home Your New Kitten
- Coming into a new home can be overwhelming for your new pet and those that are already a part of your family. It is best to keep your new kitten in a small safe space where they can adjust to the new smells, sounds and environment. This area can be a spare room or bathroom. Your kitten should have access to food, water, a litter box, comfortable sleeping space and toys
- Make sure your kitten can access their litter box at all times. Some high sided or top entry boxes can be challenging for tiny kittens. If you take them into another room, it can be helpful to bring the box with you to avoid unwanted accidents.
- While it is hard to wait, it is best to keep new and existing pets separated until they have had time to adjust to their new situation. Feeding on opposite sides of a closed door as well as swapping blankets or toys to help expose different scents can be beneficial.
- Remember that your current pets may be jealous or wary of their new housemate. Be sure to spend equal time with all pets and keep areas separate. Avoid creating competition over toys, food or litter boxes during the introduction period
- Remember, it can take several weeks for cats to move through an introduction period so do not worry if things seem to be moving slower than expected
- Using a leash when introducing your dog to a new kitten is very helpful. It allows you to maintain control should your dog get excited or scared and avoid any unwanted chasing or negative behavior
- FVRCP: This core vaccine helps to prevent infection with feline calicivirus, herpes virus and panleukopenia. Most kittens will receive their first vaccine between 6-8 weeks of age. It will be boostered every 3-4 weeks with the final dose administered between 16-20 weeks of age. Kittens will get an annual booster at 1 year of age. After this booster, FVRCP is administered every 3 years. Kittens and cats who start the vaccination series after 16 weeks of age will only require a two booster vaccine series. In certain cases, such as pets who board frequently or have regular exposure to different cats, we may discuss a more frequent vaccination schedule.
- Rabies: The first rabies vaccine will be administered once a kitten is over 12 weeks of age. Based on local requirements or type of rabies vaccine, boosters will occur annually or every 3 years after the initial booster.
- Feline Leukemia Vaccine: FELV is a viral disease present in cats that can be transmitted through interaction with a FELV (+) cat. It can be spread through bite wounds, grooming behavior or from queen to kitten during and after pregnancy. It is recommended to test all kittens for both FELV and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) during their first visit and again 6 months after the initial test. While not a core vaccine, it is recommended if you have a FELV (+) cat at home or your pet may be interacting with other cats of unknown retroviral status.
- All kittens should have a fecal sample submitted to check for intestinal parasites like roundworms and giardia. It is very common to find these parasites on routine screening regardless of where your kitten came from. Parasites can cause issues like diarrhea, weight loss, vomiting and anemia if left untreated. Samples should be collected and tested within 24 hours of production. It is more than acceptable to bring in a sample covered with litter!
- Retroviral Testing: this is a blood test to check for the two common viruses we see in cats, Feline Immunodeficiency Virus and Feline Leukemia Virus. Kittens can be exposed to these viruses from their mother while in utero or after birth through interactions with an infected cat. It is advisable to perform this test on any new cat or kitten and repeat it again 6 months after the first sample to ensure results are accurate.
- Kittens should be kept on a diet that is formulated for young cats until around 6-9 months of age. Generally speaking, this is the time after your pet has been spayed or neutered and their metabolism is leveling out. You can often notice this through the development of unwanted weight gain or obesity.
- Most companies have kitten diets available. Some brands we like include
- Royal Canin
- Purina Pro Plan
- Natural Balance
- Every pet is different so do not fret if these options are not a good fit for your pet. We are happy to discuss a meal plan that works for your family
- Consistency is important so do avoid regularly switching brands and flavors. Variety in brands and flavors can often trigger diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms in young kittens
- Female kittens can enter their first heat cycle as young as four months of age with the average age being five or six months old. For this reason, we follow the AAHA guideline of Fix Felines by Five initiative. This initiative recommends sterilization of cats by five months of age. This recommendation prevents unwanted litters and greatly decreases mammary cancer risks in female cats as well as spraying/marking in male cats, but still allows kittens time to grow. Kittens sterilized at this age quickly bounce back from surgery with less risk of bleeding and other surgical complications.
- We recommend pre-anesthetic blood work in all surgical candidates
- Surgery is performed under general anesthesia. Each patient is closely monitored before, during and after their procedure to ensure the safest experience possible.
- Full recovery time for incision healing is 10-14 days on average. Options such as e-collars and surgical suits will be available to avoid licking or scratching at your pets incision.
- While many cats enjoy the great outdoors, we do not advise allowing your pet to go outside. Risks include:
- Exposure to infectious disease
- Fighting with other animals in the area
- Getting hit by a car, bike other modes of transportation
- Getting lost
- If you plan to take your pet outside, do let us know as this will alert us to additional tests and preventive care options we will want to discuss
- Tips for keeping your pet safe when outdoors
- All pets should be microchipped and current on all vaccines
- Use flea and tick prevention made specifically for cats
- DO NOT use formulas made for dogs as they are toxic to cats
- Use a well fitted harness and leash
- Catios or similar enclosed spaces are always a great choice to avoid escape
- Be aware of your surroundings including other cats, dogs, or large birds