Your New Kitten
Now that you have chosen your new kitten, there is some basic information that you need. Please do not hesitate to contact our nursing staff with any questions you may have.
Your new kitten will require two vaccinations, starting at nine weeks with a second vaccination three weeks later to prevent certain diseases. An annual booster vaccination is required thereafter to maintain a healthy young and adult cat.
A thorough health examination will be carried out at each vaccination. We will offer advice and answer any questions you may have relating to your new kitten’s health, behaviour and house training.
All kittens at Ark Veterinary Clinic are routinely vaccinated against the Feline Leukaemia virus (FeLV) in addition to the basic kitten vaccinations. This basic vaccination protects both against the Herpes and Calici viruses that cause cat flu, an often chronic and difficult to treat upper respiratory tract infection. It also protects against the Feline Panleucopenia virus, an often fatal virus that causes sudden death or severe gastroenteritis in kittens. The vaccination also protects against Chlamydia, a cause of chronic conjunctivitis and low grade, chronic upper respiratory tract infection.
The Feline Leukaemia virus (FeLV) is a viral infection that can cause a range of cancers and also bone marrow diseases that are invariably fatal to your cat. Vaccination against FeLV is not routinely carried out in some clinics. Although the combination vaccination is slightly more expensive, it offers your new kitten greater protection against these potentially life threatening diseases.
These diseases can be protected against by the vaccination of your kitten at a young age.
If your kitten is older, we recommend a blood test prior to vaccination to ensure that your kitten is not already incubating the FeLV virus.
Do not allow your new kitten to go out for ten days after the second vaccination to allow for complete immunisation to develop.
Fresh clean water should be available at all times. Milk is not necessary and, in many cases, will actually cause diarrhoea as cats are commonly lactose intolerant.
House training should start from day one and most kittens are very easy to train. Place a clean litter tray with a good bed of litter away from food and water bowls. Place the kitten several times in the litter tray and, in most cases, that’s it! A young kitten will urinate very frequently, 6-10 times daily, and may defecate 2-3 times daily. This is normal behaviour.
It is very important to keep the litter tray clean at all times as kittens and cats are usually scrupulously clean. A dirty litter tray may result in defecation and urination elsewhere. Some cats show a preference for certain types of cat litter.
We will worm your kitten at the first health examination. Worming should be performed every three weeks until your kitten is six months old and every three months after that. If you have very young children it is advisable to worm your cat monthly. One in ten thousand children can develop blindness due to feline roundworms, Toxocara cati. This is rare and it also is very preventable.
It is important to use a good quality wormer as cheaper alternatives are less reliable. We recommend Drontal and Milbemax tablets. For cats that are difficult to medicate we recommend Profender and Stronghold spot-ons. These come in the form of liquids which are applied to the back of the neck.
Flea Treatment and Prevention
We will treat your kitten for fleas and lice at the first vaccination visit. Many good products are available and we can discuss these with you. The best flea products are the spot-ons, small tubes of liquid which are applied to the back of the neck and provide cover for four to five weeks. Cats should be treated for fleas regularly from April to October.
We recommend that you neuter or spay your kitten at five months of age. This involves the removal of the ovaries and uterus. There are many advantages to neutering before her first season, which will occur between five and seven months of age, depending on the time of year.
- Breeding: an entire female cat can potentially produce up to 16 kittens in one year!
- Mammary Tumours/breast cancers: spaying almost completely eliminates mammary tumours/breast cancers in cats. These tumours in cats are usually highly malignant and poorly responsive to surgical removal
- Uterine/womb infections: spaying obviously prevents against potentially life threatening uterine infections
- Viral infections: entire cats are likely to roam to find a mate and may contact fatal viral infections from fighting and breeding
The main disadvantage is that some cats may put on excessive amounts of weight. This can be controlled with feeding the correct type and quantity of food. Our nursing staff will be happy to advise you on diet. We offer a free weight watchers clinic for our plumper patients.
Male or Tom Cat.
Neutering reduces fighting. Less fighting means no problems with cat bite abscesses and lessens the chance of contacting life threatening Feline Leukaemia (FeLV) and Feline Immunodeficiency (FIV) viruses.
Whether your kitten is a pedigree or a moggie, we recommend microchipping. Microchipping is a deterrent against the increasing trade of pet stealing and will help re-unite you and your kitten if it is stolen or goes missing. The procedure involves the insertion of a microchip, approximately the size of a grain of rice, under the skin at the back of the neck. This is a relatively painless procedure.
The microchip contains a barcode which is registered on fido.ie. We will also give you a tag for the kitten’s collar which states that the kitten is microchipped and displays our practice telephone number.
Pet Health Care Insurance
We advise that you insure your kitten from a young age, before any pre-existing conditions can limit the insurance. This will prevent the worry of having a sick pet and will remove the burden of veterinary expenses.
Many new procedures and cutting edge diagnostic investigations are now available to vets. This allows us to offer the most advanced health care to your pet. These are expensive techniques and pet health insurance allows us to give your pet the best possible health care.
It is important to read and understand these policies carefully.
Feline Immunodeficiency Virus FIV
Infection can be latent for many years before your cat develops signs of the disease. This virus can result in cancers or immunodeficiency resulting in chronic infections like cat flu, chronic mouth problems, skin problems and gastrointestinal diseases.
Unfortunately there is no vaccination to protect your pet against this virus. The best means of prevention is to ensure that your cat is neutered so that it is less likely to roam and fight.
Approximately 75% of all cats over three years of age suffer with dental disease. Gingivitis or gum disease is common in cats and they also suffer from enamel resorptive lesions, which often necessitates extraction of the offending tooth or teeth. Cats also suffer from Periodontal disease, which is the build up of plaque and calculus. This can result in inflamed gums and the eventual loss of the tooth. This occurs because animals do not brush their teeth!
Please contact us for further information. Our dental nurse will be happy to offer you advice.