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What vaccines does my kitten need to have?
If he/she is going to be kept indoors and not exposed to cats going outdoors at all, then it will need to be vaccinated for feline distemper and upper respiratory virus vaccines and rabies.
If he/she is going to go outdoors or be in contact with cats going outdoors at all then it will need to be vaccinated for feline leukemia also.
When should I start my new kitten on vaccinations?
Kittens should be started on vaccinations for feline distemper and the upper respiratory vaccines around 6 weeks of age. They will need to be boosted every 3 weeks until they are 16 weeks old.
If we are vaccinating for feline leukemia then we usually incorporate that at 12-13 weeks of age and then boost it at 16 weeks of age.
When should I have a new kitten tested for feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV)?
We recommend testing all new kittens for feline leukemia and FIV. These diseases are very contagious and can affect the immune system in cats very similar to the way the AIDS virus affects humans. In addition, there is no affective treatment for leukemia or FIV. Therefore, all new feline additions to the household, regardless of age, should be tested before they are put in with other cats. If the new kitten needs leukemia vaccination, it will need to be tested negative before the leukemia vaccine is started.
The test is a blood test that only requires a few drops of blood. It takes about 10 minutes to run the test and it can be run here at the clinic while we are doing the physical examination on the kitten.
What about worming my kitten?
If worm checks re not routinely being done, then I would recommend deworming with a broad spectrum wormer every 2-3 weeks. The wormer should be labeled for round worms and hook worms at a minimum.
If we are checking them on vaccine visits for worms then they will only need to be wormed when tested positive on fecal flotation.
Can humans be infected with kitten parasites?
Yes! Some of the species of worms that kittens have can infect humans. This is one reason it is so important to keep your new kitten as worm free as possible.
What type of food should I feed my new kitten?
He/she needs to be fed a high quality kitten food until it is 9-12 months old. It can be fed dry or canned food as long as it is formulated for kittens. If the kitten tends to get fat, then the amount of food it gets per day needs to be limited.
What about spaying and neutering?
If your kitten is not purebred then I would recommend spaying the female or neutering the male between 4-6 months of age. Neutering the male will help prevent urine spraying which is a common problem in male cats once they reach puberty.
Is pet insurance a good thing for me to have?
Every person has to decide that for themselves. It is available at reasonable pricing. There are 2 companies that have the American Animal Hospital 's Seal of Acceptance. There are pluses and minuses for both and the best thing to do is go online or call and compare the policies and see which one best fits your needs. The 2 companies' policies are
1. Trupanion at www.trupanionpetinsurance.com
2. Purina Care without Preventative Care at www.purinacare.com
If you have any questions concerning pet insurance, I will be glad to discuss it with you when you visit with your new kitten.