How to take care of your new kitten
We would like to congratulate you on the acquisition of your new kitten. Here are some notes that may help you become a responsible pet owner. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact us.
- Most kittens will have been introduced to solids by the time they go to their new home. Sudden changes in food types can cause diarrhoea, so it’s a good idea to know what your kitten was being fed and start feeding the same foods whilst you gradually introduce any new food.
- 6-8week old kittens will need 3-4 small feeds a day. By 6 months this can be twice daily and by 12 months once daily.
- Kittens require a well balanced diet. We therefore recommend a good quality premium kitten food which will provide the correct amount of energy, protein and all the vitamins and minerals to help get your pet off to the best start in life.
- Premium diets are available at the clinics. We recommend “Royal Canin Growth” for kittens, up until their desexing. After desexing we recommend “Royal Canin neutered young female / male”. There are also specific diets to help with different problems eg dental, hairball control, urinary. Your vet or nurse will recommend these diets if they are needed.
- Cats have poor hygiene and therefore it is important to wash your hands after playing with your kittens. Common infections passed from cats to people include the fungal infection ‘Ringworm’ and more seriously ‘Visceral larval migrans’ and toxoplasmosis’ that results from human infection with feline intestinal worms.
- Ringworm presents as areas of hair loss, sometimes just a few patchy areas other times larger areas, if your kitten has hair loss see your vet.
- Visceral larval migrans is a serious disease that results in internal organ damage and can even cause blindness.
- Toxoplasmosis is transmitted by intake of the oocysts (egg like cells) which are passed in the cat’s faeces. Pregnant women should not clean out the kitty litter tray as it may cause abortions, or abnormalities to your unborn child.
- By worming and good hygiene you can reduce the risk of these diseases.
- You should never let your cat lick your face; and especially not the face of children, elderly or immuno-compromised people.
- Intestinal parasites are common in kittens.
- Ask the breeder how often your kitten has been wormed since it was born and when the last time it was wormed.
- kittens should be wormed with a reliable round wormer every 2 weeks from 2 weeks old until 12 weeks.
- At 12 weeks we recommend that your kitten is given an ‘allwormer’ to cover for both round and tape wormers
- Types of worms
o Round worms – infection occurs via ingestion of queens milk
o Hookworms – particularly dangerous to kittens
o Heartworm – one of the most serious feline parasites
o Tapeworms – require the flea in the lifecycle and are a common parasite of cats. Segments look like grains of rice in the stools.
- How do we prevent/treat worms?
o There are many different preparations out there which claim to prevent/ treat worms. As with many things today, the more expensive wormers are the most effective.
o The allwormer tablets we recommend are Popantel ® tablets.
o For convenience we recommend a topical product called Advocate® which covers all worms, excluding tape worms, and is therefore suitable for cats. Advocate also covers, heartworm, fleas and mites.
o For the best product for your pet speak to one of our staff Advocate is safe to use from 8 weeks onwards
Cats are susceptible to a number of preventable viral diseases, some of them are both common and deadly, and all of them are extremely contagious.
- Feline panleucopenia – this viral disease is the most dangerous affecting cats. It is highly contagious. Pregnant cats may lose their young or give birth to kittens with abnormalities. Some symptoms are loss of appetite, uncontrollable vomiting and diarrhea.
- Cat flu – Is a respiratory disease which affects cats at any age, especially young kittens. It is highly contagious and causes sneezing, coughing, runny eyes, nasal discharge, loss of appetite and tongue ulcers. This disease is distressing and may persist for several weeks.
- Feline immunodeficiency virus (FELINE AIDS) – Disease which affects the cats immune system. Transmitted by bites from the affected cats, the virus that causes the disease is present in saliva. Symptoms are loss of appetite, diarrhea, lethargy, swollen lymph nodes.
- At our clinic we recommend the following vaccination regime.
- At 8 weeks- F3 and FIV
- At 10-12 weeks - FIV
- At 12-16weeks - F3 and FIV
- Annual booster every 12 months
- If cat is vaccinated before 8 weeks of age, then a F3 is given, then at 10 weeks FIV, then at 12 weeks F3 and FIV and 16weeks FIV vaccination
- Vaccinations can sometimes cause reactions, but this is rare. Most commonly the animal may be ‘off color’ or show soreness at the injection site. These symptoms usually only last for 24 hours. If you are concerned about your pet after vaccination please call the vet clinic.
There are many flea treatments available. We recommend the monthly applications of Advocate®, or Frontline®. Note that there are no effective shampoo, rinse, collar or powder flea treatments available due to resistance. Please speak to a staff member about which product is best for your pet.
We highly recommend desexing of your pet for many reasons.
Females - Speying is removing the uterus and ovaries under a general anaesthetic
o First season at about 5- 6 months
o Seasons last 2-3 weeks. Signs are the cat becomes overly affectionate; rolling over and rubbing against objects, vocalizes and “calls” to tom cats.
o Recommended at 5 - 6 months of age, before first season.
o Entire males are more likely to roam. This can result in cuts from fences, getting hit by cars, or going missing.
o Entire males are more aggressive towards humans and other cats
o Entire males are more likely to get into cat fight, resulting in transmission of disease eg FIV, and also cat bite abscesses.
o Entire males will urinate regularly, and spray of furniture etc and have pungent smelling urine
o Castration requires an anaesthetic and is done from 4 months onwards. We recommended before 8months, as once spraying and roaming behavior is learnt removing the testosterone may not have a great effect.
A microchip is an individual permanent implant which can be read using a special reader. This enables us or the council to find you if your kitten is brought to us. We can microchip your kitten at any age, and strongly recommend having this done, so that your cat can be traced if lost at any time.
Toilet training your new kitten is fairly simple. You need a cat litter tray. Keep it in the laundry or somewhere where it is easy to clean. After your kitten eats or drinks place it in the kitty litter tray to encourage it to relieve itself. It will soon learn to find and use the tray.
Keep your cat indoors from dusk until dawn. This saves your cat from being in fights and eating native wild life.
The ear mite is usually found in the external ear canal. For treatment, advocate is highly effective against ear mites as a singe dose. Monthly application of advocate will control any subsequent ear mite infections.