Kitten Care: Welcoming Home Your New Kitten
The number of vaccinations your kitten needs depends upon his or her age. Generally, a kitten is vaccinated in intervals of three to four weeks, beginning as early as eight weeks of age and continuing until he or she is four months old. The diseases the veterinary team at University Animal Hospital vaccinates against are:
- Feline herpes virus
- Feline calici virus
- Feline distemper (combined into a vaccine known as FVRCP)
New York state law requires that all pets receive the initial rabies vaccination no later than four months after birth, and the second vaccination within one year of the first vaccination.
Your Kitten’s Boosters
The FVRCP vaccination and the rabies vaccine are given annually. Rabies vaccination is mandatory in the state of New York. Feline leukemia vaccine is recommended for cats that may come into contact with other cats. Two vaccinations are given during the first year, from two to three weeks apart; yearly boosters are given thereafter.
Intestinal Parasites (Worms)
To check for intestinal parasites, a member of our staff can provide you with a special container to obtain a stool specimen. If the sample is positive for the presence of parasites, we will contact you. If you see worms passing in your cat’s stool, do not consider it an emergency, but please contact our offices so we may dispense an appropriate de-worming medication.
Kitten Spay and Neuter Procedures
Removal of the uterus and ovaries (surgical sterilization) is recommended to prevent the birth of kittens, as well as serious medical problems such as breast cancer and uterine infections. Spaying also prevents certain behavioral problems such as constant meowing (associated with females in heat). Kittens should be spayed at approximately 6 months of age, prior to their first heat.
Altering your male cat prior to six months of age can help prevent urine marking and strong urine odor.
A member of our staff can teach you how to properly cut your cat’s nails. We recommend getting your kitten accustomed to doing this at an early age. If this is too difficult, and if you are being scratched or your furniture is being damaged, we can declaw your cat’s front toes. This is best done at a young age and, ideally, at the time of spaying or neutering to avoid an additional anesthetic procedure at a later date.
Keeping Your Cat Safe
Please keep the following household items in a secure place away from your cat:
- Needles and thread
- Rubber bands
- Dental floss
- Cleaning solutions
- Tylenol or acetaminophen (both of which are deadly to your cat)
- Candles with flame
- Cutting boards with raw meat juices
Be sure to monitor all open windows and terraces – cats don’t always land on their feet, and a long fall can be extremely harmful to your feline friend.