Congratulations on your new kitten! Here at Arrowfield Veterinary Practice we are alway delighted to meet any new additions to your household. Getting a kitten is very exciting but there are several things to consider to help keep your kitten healthy. We have put together some information for you covering the areas we are frequently asked about.
Vaccinating your cat helps to protect him/her against several serious and/or life threatening diseases.
Our vaccinations cover:
- Feline panleucopenia virus (aka feline infectious enteritis) – the most common symptom is severe haemorrhagic gastroenteritis leading to rapid death.
- Feline herpes and calicivirus – either separately or together these viruses are best known for causing cat flu.
- Feline leukaemia virus – an important cause of disease and death in cats, those infected are at a significant risk of developing many severe illnesses such as anaemia, immunosuppression and cancer.
The initial course may start from 8-9weeks old with a second injection required 3-4weeks later to provide full immunity. Your cat will require yearly boosters to ensure a good level of continued protection.
Vaccinations do occasionally have some side effects but these are very rare.
Parasite Control – Worming and Fleaing
The most common worms that cats get are called roundworms and tapeworms. Most infected cats do not show signs however heavy burdens can cause weight loss, vomiting and diarrhoea and a failure to thrive. Importantly worms are not just a risk to your cat, some can be passed to humans and on rare occasions be the cause of serious disease.
Treating for worms:
Roundworms are extremely common in kittens and worming should be started at a young age.
- Treat every 2 weeks from 3 weeks of age until 8 weeks old then monthly until 6 months
- Adult cats (>6months) every 1-3 months depending on lifestyle Tapeworms are usually only a problem in older cats, however if your kitten has fleas they may be affected.
- Adult cats every 1-3 months depending on lifestyle.
Most worm treatments are a combination wormer i.e. treat for both round and tapeworms.
Not only are fleas and ticks a nuisance in both the home and on your pet, they can also affect our own health too. Fleas can bite humans as well as their dog and cat hosts and they can transmit diseases such as Cat scratch fever (bartonellosis). In your pet fleas also spread the most common tape-worm (Dipylidium caninum) and in susceptible individuals flea bites can cause intense irritation known as Flea allergy dermatitis (FAD). Tick-borne diseases include the serious and debilitating Lyme disease which can affect pets and people.
For more information please discuss this with the vet or nurse at your appointment.
We advise that you microchip your pet as should he/she ever go missing it allows for a quicker reunion. The microchip is inserted the same as giving an injection and carries a code unique to your pet. This can be done when you have your pet vaccinated or when they are neutered.
From around the age of 5-8months kittens reach sexual maturity and are therefore capable of breeding and producing kittens themselves. Neutering not only prevents unwanted pregnancies but also curbs undesirable behaviours such as spraying and reduces the risk of certain diseases e.g. FIV. It is important to remember that once your cat is neutered there is a strong tendency for it to become overweight therefore you may need to adjust the amount of food you provide.
Traditionally cats have been neutered from 6 months of age but as they can reach sexual maturity before then, and there is little scientific rationale for this, we recommend that neutering routinely takes place from around 4 months old.
Pet insurance principally provides cover for veterinary fees if your cat is injured or sick. It may also include other benefits such as the cost of advertising if your pet is lost or care for your pet should you be taken ill. An affordable and reliable pet insurance policy can therefore provide peace of mind in the event of an emergency.
As there are many insures and types of cover understandably owners can get confused about options and benefits available. International Cat Care has produced a booklet which outlines what to look for in a policy and help make an informed decision. It can be found by going on their website www.icatcare.org/advice/keeping-your-cat-healthy.
For more information please don’t hesitate to ask a member of staff on 01544-230567 or visit www.icatcare.org/advice
Produced with the aid of International Cat Care
Please also see the kittens section under Advice and Care of Cats on this website.