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Cat Kitten Care - Everything You Need To Know About Caring For Your Kitten

What is the most important thing to know about raising a healthy kitten?

Ensuring your kitten receives appropriate veterinary care is crucial. This helps detect any congenital or genetic issues and protect against infectious diseases with vaccinations. Additionally, provide good heartworm, flea, and tick coverage for your kitten.

Dr. Madelyn Lloyd
Ridgetowne Animal Clinic

What are the right and wrong ways to pick up a kitten?

It is recommended to pick up a kitten from underneath the belly and right in front of the chest. Avoid picking it up by any of the legs, the scruff, or by the tail.

How can I tell if my kitten is happy and healthy?

A happy and healthy kitten will be playful, eat and drink well, and enjoy snuggling. They will sleep a lot, but should also be energetic and playful when awake.

How should I feed my kitten?

Keep dry food available for your kitten to graze throughout the day. I'm not too worried about a kitten being overweight. We can worry about restricting or measuring food in the future. Offer some canned food two to three times a day, especially for younger kittens (6-12 weeks) as their pre-molars and molars are coming in. The amount of canned food will depend on their size and age, but a fourth to a half of a can is usually sufficient.

What are some products I might need for my kitten?

Consider getting a brush for grooming and kitten nail trimmers. Starting the grooming process early helps with handling and makes veterinary visits easier.

How soon should I bring my new kitten in to see a veterinarian?

Bring your kitten in as early as five to six weeks for vaccinations. If you get the kitten earlier, bring it in as soon as possible for an evaluation, intestinal parasite screening, and other infectious disease screens. The earlier the better because is there is something going on that we can treat, starting early is imperative.

How can I get the most out of my first vet visit with my new kitten?

Be prepared with any questions you may have, maybe even write them down so that everything you're concerned about is covered, especially if you're a new kitten owner. Bring your kitten in hungry, as veterinarians typically use treats to make the kitten more comfortable and act as a distraction during shots.

What will a veterinarian look for during an initial kitten care visit?

During a physical exam, a veterinarian will evaluate your kitten for any congenital, genetic, or developmental issues, as well as external parasites like fleas or ticks and internal parasites like worms. A small blood sample will typically be taken to screen for feline leukemia and feline AIDS.

What are some early signs and symptoms of health issues in your kitten?

Failure to gain weight and thrive, lethargy, not wanting to eat or drink, a swollen or painful belly, lack of a luster hair coat, vomiting, and diarrhea can all be signs of health issues in a kitten.

Why is it important to avoid self-diagnosing possible kitten health problems?

Kittens and adult cats are notorious for hiding their symptoms until they are severely sick. Bring your kitten to a veterinarian as soon as you notice any concerning symptoms, even if it turns out to be a false alarm. It's better to have peace of mind than regret not getting your kitten the necessary medical care.

When should my kitten get its first set of vaccinations?

Begin vaccinations anywhere from five to six weeks of age. If you acquire your kitten later, bring it in for vaccinations as soon as possible.

What do I need to know about kitten behavior?

Kittens should sleep and play hard, eat, drink, and use the litter box. Socialization with humans and other animals in the house is also important. Monitor their behavior for signs of medical or socialization issues, or stress that may need to be addressed.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (601) 856-3589, or you can email us at [email protected]. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can. Don't forget to follow us on social media Facebook, Instagram

Kitten Care - FAQs

Dr. Madelyn Lloyd
Ridgetowne Animal Clinic

What should I expect at my kitten's first veterinary visit?

At the first veterinary visit, your kitten will receive a physical exam. Your veterinarian will look for any congenital, genetic, or developmental issues, as well as check for external parasites like fleas or ticks. They will assess the quality of your kitten's coat, listen to their heart and lungs, and conduct a general assessment. An intestinal parasite screen, or fecal, will be conducted to check for worms. A small blood sample will be taken during the first or second visit to screen for feline leukemia virus or feline AIDS, which can be contracted from the environment or their mother.

What should I ask my veterinarian at my kitten's first appointment?

It depends on your specific questions and concerns. Common questions include topics such as behavior, feeding, vaccine protocols, and heartworm, flea, and tick prevention. If this is your first time caring for a kitten, your veterinarian will cover all relevant topics. It's a good idea to write down your questions beforehand, so you don't forget them during the appointment. Your veterinarian wants to ensure you leave the appointment feeling informed and empowered to care for your kitten.

How often does my kitten need to go to the veterinarian?

It's recommended that your kitten has their first visit around five to six weeks of age or whenever you adopt them. After that, they should visit the veterinarian every three weeks for physical exams, intestinal parasite screenings, and vaccinations until they're about 16 to 20 weeks old. After that, annual visits are recommended.

What vaccinations does my kitten need?

Typically, kittens receive the feline distemper vaccine, which protects against respiratory diseases, as a core vaccination at the 12-week visit. The rabies vaccine is also given at this time. It's recommended that all kittens receive the feline leukemia vaccine, regardless of whether they will be indoor or outdoor cats, as there are theories that the vaccine can offer lifelong protection.

What kind of preventative care does my kitten need?

Vaccinations are crucial for preventative care. Heartworm prevention, flea and tick prevention, and a single-dose topical application for parasites, ear mites, etc., are also recommended. Fecal screenings are conducted as part of preventative wellness care to check for any intestinal parasites that may require additional treatment.

When should I get my kitten spayed or neutered?

It's best to spay or neuter your kitten around or before six months of age. For female kittens, spaying should be done before their first heat cycle, which typically occurs around six months. After the 16 to 20-week visit, you can schedule the procedure. Neutering male kittens should also be done around this time to prevent potential behavioral issues, such as urine spraying, from developing.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (601) 856-3589, or you can email us at [email protected]. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can. Don't forget to follow us on social media Facebook, Instagram

Kitten Care - FAQs 2

Dr. Madelyn Lloyd
Ridgetowne Animal Clinic

What are the core vaccine requirements for kittens?

The core vaccines for kittens include the feline distemper vaccine (also known as FVRCP, which stands for respiratory complex vaccines), the feline leukemia vaccine for kittens or young adult cats under one year of age, and the rabies vaccine.

What are non-core vaccines for kittens and why does my kitten need them?

For kittens, all vaccines are considered core vaccines. However, if your kitten is going to be in an area with a lot of other cats, a chlamydia vaccine may be added, which is part of the FVRCP. This vaccine is not carried at every clinic, but many shelters use it due to the high risk of exposure in those environments.

How soon should my kitten be vaccinated?

It is recommended to start vaccinations anywhere from six to eight weeks of age, or as soon as you adopt your kitten. If they have not had any prior vaccines, the first set will be given and then repeated about every three weeks.

What is the recommended vaccine schedule for kittens?

The first vaccine should be given between six to eight weeks of age, followed by a booster three weeks later. Three weeks after that, the last set of boosters will be given, including the feline distemper, rabies vaccine, and the feline leukemia vaccine if needed.

Does my kitten need vaccines if they're only going to stay indoors?

Yes, it is highly recommended to administer all vaccines for kittens, even if they are going to be indoor cats. Situations can change over time, and it is better to prevent potential viruses and bacterial infections if the kitten were to get outside or become an outdoor cat later in life.

Are there any risks or side effects associated with kitten vaccines?

Common side effects include tenderness at the injection site and mild lethargy or reduced appetite for about 24 hours. Uncommon side effects, which could indicate a vaccine reaction, include vomiting, diarrhea, facial swelling, or other unusual symptoms. These reactions are rare but can occur.

What do I do if my kitten misses a vaccine?

If your kitten misses a vaccine, bring them in for another dose as soon as possible. Depending on where they are in their schedule, an additional dose may be needed three to four weeks later.

Can my kitten go outside if not all vaccinations have been given yet?

It is best to limit your kitten's exposure to other potentially infectious cats until they are fully vaccinated. Keep your kitten indoors until they have received their full set of vaccines.

Why is it important to get my kitten vaccinated by a veterinarian?

Vaccines from other sources may not be as effective in stimulating the proper immunologic response that vaccines from a veterinary clinic would provide. Ensuring your kitten receives the appropriate vaccine to create a strong immunologic response is crucial for their protection against various diseases.

That's all the questions we have today on kitten vaccines and vaccine schedules. If you have any other questions, feel free to contact your local veterinarian.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (601) 856-3589, or you can email us at [email protected]. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can. Don't forget to follow us on social media Facebook, Instagram

Kitten Care - FAQs 3

Dr. Madelyn Lloyd
Ridgetowne Animal Clinic

How much biting and scratching is normal kitten behavior?

A: A lot. Kittens are very active and playful but do not know how much their teeth and nails can hurt. This behavior is normal, and they will reach full maturity by about a year.

Why is my kitten going to the bathroom outside of the litter box?

There could be multiple reasons, such as not understanding the litter box, which can be handled by putting them inside the litter box and manually raking their feet through the litter, which will trigger the normal response that they should be able to go to the bathroom. Other possible reasons include other cats blocking their access to the litter box with aggression, medical reasons like a urinary tract infection, or preferences regarding the litter box type and litter. Try different options and consult a vet if necessary. Also, if you have a really small kitten, the edge of the litter box may be a bit high for them.

My kitten cries at night. What should I do?

Play with your kitten before bed to help expend some energy, as kittens are nocturnal animals. They may need toys to play with during the night as well if that doesn't work.

Why is my kitten so aggressive?

Aggression in kittens is usually just play and predator behavior, which manifests as biting and scratching, although they're not trying to be mean or spiteful. Cats' behavior revolves around hunting, eating, and sleeping, so if they're being aggressive, it just means they need to satisfy their need to hunt. To help them release aggression, provide appropriate toys and activities.

How can I get my kitten to play appropriately?

Avoid using your hands or feet when playing with them to prevent them from associating your hands and feet with toys and provide appropriate toys like wand toys, laser pointers, and treat-dispensing toys.

Is it okay to punish my kitten?

No, punishing your kitten can create a negative association with you, which is especially undesirable when your kitten grows older and learns who safe people in their environment are. Instead, redirect them to appropriate toys and activities.

Does my kitten need a scratch post?

Yes, providing a scratch post or other scratching toys from an early age can help prevent them from scratching furniture in the future.

How can I bond with my kitten?

Playing with your kitten, feeding them, and being close during naps can help create a bond, as kittens' behaviors are centered around their need to hunt, eat, and sleep..

Conclusion: If you have any specific questions about kitten behavior not addressed here, please don't hesitate to reach out to your veterinarian.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (601) 856-3589, or you can email us at [email protected]. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can. Don't forget to follow us on social media Facebook, Instagram

Kitten Care - FAQs 4

Dr. Madelyn Lloyd
Ridgetowne Animal Clinic

What is the most important thing to know about raising a kitten?

The most important thing to know about raising a kitten is that they have a lot of energy, and it is important to leave time in your day to help them expend that energy. Cats with built-up energy often turn towards biting, scratching and playing because they need to have the hunt-predator behavior to expend their energy. Make sure to consider this before getting a new kitten.

What should I consider before adopting or buying a kitten?

Consider your schedule, your time, your travel frequency. Think about where you're going to put the litter box and where you're going to feed them. If you have another cat, they'll probably need to be fed separately with kitten food versus the adult cat food. Also, consider your surroundings for safety, like if you have toxic plants or furniture that you don't want to get messed up.

What should I look for in a kitten?

Look for a kitten that is socialized, one that comes out to greet you at the front of the kennel. They might not know how to play very gently, so don't worry if they try to nip and bite.

How can I kitten-proof my house?

Kitten-proof your house by isolating them to an area of the house or even a room of the house with their food, water, and litter box while they're getting their bearings. For the first weeks, keep them in an area to get them acclimated, especially if you have other pets at home, you might need to do a gradual introduction. Sometimes, kittens will like to claw furniture, curtains, and so on. So you might want to think about those things beforehand when you're considering an environment for your kitten to start off in.

Is it possible to care for a kitten while working full-time?

Yes, it is possible. You just need to make sure you have some set time in your schedule, maybe 20-30 minutes, to play with your kitten to help them expend some of their energy. Cats and kittens are very active creatures. They hunt, they eat, and then they sleep. If we don't satisfy their hunting and predator behavior, they might potentially wreak havoc in your house, your hands, and your feet. So, ensuring that you help them fulfill their playtime needs, ideally within a fifteen-minute timeframe, is highly recommended.

How do I introduce a kitten to my other pets?

Ensure the kitten has a safe environment where it's not feeling threatened. You can stage introductions between a closed doorway, feeding the pets on either side for a week or so, then changing it to a baby gate where they can still see each other. If you have a pet that is not very receptive to the kitten, you might want to do a staged introduction, gradually advancing from there. The Ohio State University has some great resources on this topic.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (601) 856-3589, or you can email us at [email protected]. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can. Don't forget to follow us on social media Facebook, Instagram

Kitten Care - FAQs 5

Dr. Madelyn Lloyd
Ridgetowne Animal Clinic

How do I know if a kitten is orphaned?

It can indeed be a bit challenging to ascertain if a kitten is orphaned. Typically, if a kitten appears to be uncared for, it's a safe assumption it's orphaned. However, if the mother does not return within 24 hours, that's a clear sign the kitten is probably orphaned.

Can I hold a newborn kitten?

Absolutely, you can hold a newborn kitten. Just ensure you are very gentle and careful, and make sure not to drop it.

How do I keep a newborn kitten warm?

If you take in an orphaned kitten or one with its mother, you can provide a heat source like a heating pad. Cover it with a blanket and ensure the kitten can move away from the heat to avoid overheating.

How do I care for a kitten without its mother?

For newborns up to about five weeks, you'll need to use a kitten milk replacer and bottle feed every two hours or more if the kitten is vocalizing and readily accepts the bottle. As the kitten ages, these feeding windows will gradually lengthen. For very young newborns, you'll also need to stimulate them to urinate and defecate.

How do I care for a newborn kitten that has been found with its mother?

If the mother appears healthy, grooming the kitten, and allowing it to nurse, you primarily need to keep her and the kitten safe, fed, and warm. However, if she seems ill or neglectful, you might need to step in and take over bottle feeding, keeping the kitten warm, grooming, bathing, and stimulating it to go to the bathroom.

How do I know if the kitten I found is healthy?

Look for the kitten to want to eat a full meal every two to three hours and rest between periods of activity. If they're not eating or moving around, it could indicate a health concern.

What is fading kitten syndrome and how can I prevent it?

Fading kitten syndrome is a failure to thrive in kittens from birth to about five weeks old. Symptoms include lethargy, eating little or only small amounts, or showing gastrointestinal signs. It can progress rapidly from mild weakness to death. If you suspect this syndrome, seek medical care immediately. It's often caused by bacteria, viruses, or intestinal parasites. If you're unsure or need peace of mind, please bring your kitten in so we can examine it.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (601) 856-3589, or you can email us at [email protected]. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can. Don't forget to follow us on social media Facebook, Instagram

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