You Have a New Kitten!

Cats should never be compared to other domestic pets, especially dogs. Cats are the most unique of creatures. They combine a strong sense of independence with a deep affection for their human. They are self-reliant but can be trained to play, do tricks and even walk on a leash. They are easy to housebreak (to a litter box or a toilet), adapt well to apartment living and are easy "keepers." In comparison to dogs, they require much less attention, exercise, boarding and grooming appointments, etc. They naturally keep themselves clean and neat.

General Health Care Suggestions for Kittens

  • Kitten LitterWe need to do a complete physical examination on your new kitten because sometimes we find things that you may not be aware of. We enjoy this time with you and your kitten because we will review all that is needed in the kitten's lifetime. Our relationship continues with yearly visits as your kitten grows into adolescence, adulthood and the golden years.

  • Kittens that are to be kept indoors (versus outdoors), need different veterinary care. This includes vaccinations, parasite protection, nutrition, and more.

  • We need to have a discussion about Feline Leukemia (FeLV) and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV). These can be life-threatening viruses that are passed from mother to kitten in utero and from cat to cat through confrontation (blood and saliva in bites) and the sharing of toys, bowls, etc.

  • Vaccinations protect your kitten. We will discuss these with you during your first visit.

  • When we first see your kitten, we will send a fecal (a small amount of feces) to the laboratory to check for ALL intestinal parasites (or depending upon the situation, we may deworm first). Kittens get worms from nursing their mother and from other cats (sharing a litter box, walking through the feces and grooming themselves, etc.) Over-the counter dewormers are not effective and can cause illnesses.

  • We recommend monthly Revolution, a topical medication applied easily at the base of the neck. This will protect your kitten from fleas, ear mites, and heartworms. Heartworms, transmitted by a mosquito bite, kills cats (and 25% of indoor cats get heartworms). This disease is difficult to diagnose and impossible to treat.

  • All kittens need to be sterilized (a male cat is neutered and a female cat is spayed), usually by 5 to 6 months of age. If they are not sterilized, you may be subjected to multiple litters in one year and many personality "quirks" that are no fun at all! Females in heat will scream, bite, roll on the floor and more. Males will mark your house with foul smelling urine, prowl the neighborhood and fight. We do not need more stray, neglected cats in our community — it's the right thing to do.

  • Declawing is a very personal decision. We can talk about what's best for your kitten.

Along with these general veterinary care topics, let's also review general husbandry and behavior of your kitten. This may be your first kitten and we want him/her to grow up to be the wonderful cat he/she shows promise of being!

  • Litter box training is usually no problem since this is done by instinct. We suggest one litter box per kitten, plus one extra one, placed in a low traffic area of your house. It needs to be kept clean — scoop daily and completely empty it, wash with hot soapy water, and refill with new litter weekly.

  • Hill's Science Diet Kitten food is our choice of nutrition for your kitten. It is concentrated so you feed less and clean the litter box less. It has the correct percentages of protein, fiber and fat plus vitamins and fatty acids to help your kitten grow. Do not use cheap, generic foods that may be processed overseas. Most people keep food down all day long for a kitten to free-choice feed. Fresh water or a fountain to play with (and drink more) is necessary — milk is not. We always suggest dry, crunchy food to help maintain healthy teeth.

  • Daily brushing maintains a healthy shiny coat and decreases the chance of hairballs. Our groomer does a beautiful "spa day" for our feline friends with a bath, trimming of mats, potty path and nail trim every 6 to 8 weeks.

  • Play, play, play with your kitten! A window perch, feathers, toys and more will keep your kitten at a healthy weight, build healthy muscles and joints, increase mental acuity and strengthen the companion bond with you.

  • Don't forget a bed and invest in a plastic pet carrier for trips to see us and for family vacations.

Please feel free to call us (803) 648-5489 for advice or suggestions on proper care of your kitten. We want to help you build a life-long relationship with your new pet.