Do you have a new addition to the family? Congratulation if you do! New kittens bring a lot of joy, and active kitten energy to a household. Just like young children, kittens need a lot of extra care and attention. There body and immune systems are still developing, while they are busy trying to learn what this new world they have entered is all about. This means they are generally more susceptible to illness, and injuries.
Our aim is to try to prevent any of these problems in your kitten. We understand there is a lot of information for new kitten owners to take in and remember so we hope the information here can give you a good reference. If you are concerned if you are doing the right thing for your kitten, please remember our qualified nurses are always happy to help you out, and we’re only a phone call away.
The main preventative treatments you need to ensure you are using with your pet in our local area are: vaccinations, and parasite control (heartworm prevention, intestinal worming treatment, flea control, and tick control). There are certainly many available treatments on the market for parasite control, some being more effective than others. We only sell the safest and most effective products at the veterinary clinic. Which one you chose to use is often a personal preference, but we can give you some guidelines to help you make the best decision for your situation.
What should your kitten be vaccinated against?
We routinely vaccinate against Herpesvirus and Calicivirus (Cat Flu) and Feline Enteritis. We also recommend vaccinating against FIV (Cat Aids) if there is any chance that your cat will be allowed outdoors. Feline Leukaemia vaccination is optional, especially if in long term intimate contact with lots of other cats eg/ cattery situation.
When should this be done?
Usually a kitten has already had its first vaccination before it is given to a new owner, but if you are not sure, check with the breeder or pet store. The timing for when the second and third vaccination is due depends on the age of the kitten and the type of vaccine used. If you are not sure when your new kitten needs to come into the clinic for a vaccination or health check, it is best to contact the clinic and discuss this with one of our nurses. Please have all the information you received from the breeder or pet store at hand when you call.
A YEARLY BOOSTER is required to maintain immunity.
The incidence of heartworm in cats has recently found to be about 10% of the incidence in dogs. Diagnosis and treatment is very difficult in cats. Clinical signs vary from bronchitis-like symptoms to sudden death. Prevention of this potentially fatal disease is easy with a number of monthly products which vary from tablets to spot-ons. Some products also treat for other parasites commonly found in cats. The product that you chose to use will depend on your individual circumstances and preference. Our aim is to help you decide which one is the best option for you and your family.
What should your kitten be wormed against?
Roundworm, Hookworm, Tapeworm. All are common intestinal worms.
Spirometra – a tapeworm which we see in cats who hunt lizards, frogs and insects. It may cause vomiting, weight loss and illthrift – we need to use three times the usual tapeworm dose for this one – talk to a health care team member if your cat is a hunter or you suspect any of these signs.
Worm every fortnight from 2 to 12 weeks of age, then monthly up to 6 months of age, then every three months for life. If there are any children in the family it may be advisable to worm the cat monthly for life. We recommend Drontal Allwormer.
Fleas are one of the most common parasite problems we see in dogs and cats. They are easily spread from one yard to the next by wandering cats and wildlife, and quickly seek out your pet to live on. They commonly cause skin irritations and allergies, they spread tapeworm infection, and can cause dangerous anaemia especially in young or heavily infested cats.
The biggest mistake we see people make, is using flea control only once they start seeing obvious fleas on their pet. By this time a serious flea problem has usually developed, with a large number of eggs, larvae and pupae developing in the home environment, ready to provide ongoing problems for your pet. We sell only the best flea products, but reinfection from a pool of parasites in the environment may mean it will take some weeks to get on top of your problem. If you have problems, please discuss your situation with one of our experienced nurses. There may be other simple things you can do at home to help solve the problem.
Nb. All animals in the household must be treated for control to be effective!! (all dogs and all cats!)
Paralysis ticks can be a real and life-threatening problem all year round in Brisbane. Though no tick prevention product is 100% safe, there are products available to dramatically reduce the risk to your pet. If you are in a known paralysis tick area (check with the clinic) we recommend the option of using one or more of a number of products.
WARNING: some tick preventions for dogs can be LETHAL to cats – if you are not sure, check with one of our staff. This especially includes some of the easily accessible supermarket products. It is important when using parasite treatments, to have the correct advice on what is safe for your pet.
Nb. Also check your cat over by hand each day – any ticks found can be pulled out. It doesn’t matter if the ‘head’ is left behind. It will fall out by itself.
SIGNS of tick paralysis include wobbly back legs, change in voice, coughing, vomiting, depression and disinterest or total collapse. If your pet has any of these signs seek veterinary attention immediately! Delay in treatment can reduce the possibility of recovery of your pet, and increase the cost of treatment.
This can be done from 5-6 months of age. Female cats can come into season as early as five months of age and are highly fertile!! Desexing will help control problems such as fighting, spraying, roaming and unwanted litters. Desexing before the first season also reduces the chance of mammary cancers later on in life which, in cats, are usually malignant. Most entire male cats will contract feline AIDS.
There is no advantage for your cat to have a season or a litter first before desexing!
The type, quantity and frequency of food will vary greatly with the age and activity level of your cat. Ad lib feeding leads to fussy and overweight cats. Commercial kitten foods are very balanced diets for your pet. Chewing raw chicken wings helps to clean the teeth and prevent gum and tooth disease.
We recommend premium quality foods such as Hills Science Diet.
Diet is very important to maintain lifelong kidney health and freedom from bladder problems.
Train from an early age to use litter trays, come when called and use a scratching post instead of your furniture. You should approach training a step at a time, continually rewarding desired actions and giving no encouragement to bad behaviour.
Try to keep your kitten indoors only until at least 4-5 months of age – this will make enforcing your cat curfew of 5pm to 8am easier. It will also greatly reduce the likelihood that your cat will become a highly effective killer of your local wildlife – this change in their early learning habits can be crucial in producing a beloved family member who has minimum impact on your environment.
Keeping your cat indoors only is often the best solution for owner, pet and the environment. Ask us why!!
If cats are not confined, they are likely to roam and may be lost or impounded. If your cat has identification, it’s chances of being reunited with your family are much higher. A collar and tag are very important but may be lost – a microchip is there for life! Ask our health care team about the simple microchipping procedure – no sedation required!
ADVICE ON TABLET GIVING
Train your kitten to take tablets from an early age by:
- Starting tablets, not liquids, for worming when young.
- Putting your hand and fingers in the kittens mouth during patting and stoking to familiarise them to this.
You should supplement your kittens hygiene with regular grooming sessions to keep it free of loose hair and tangles – good therapy for kitten and owner alike! A long-haired kitten needs more frequent attention. Regular grooming also helps to reduce problems with furballs.