You got a new kitten! Now what?
Congratulations on your new kitten!
The adventure begins! Your Bramer Animal Hospital veterinarian is your partner in making sure your new friend gets a good start, as these early months of life are extraordinarily important in determining the health, behavior, and well-being of the adult cat your new pet will become.
Here’s some information about what to expect when you bring your kitten in for his or her initial exams.
First Exam (7 – 9 weeks)
- Overall health: The veterinarian will check for congenital issues, soundness of body, and signs of infectious issues.
- Feeding/Nutrition: Cats are true carnivores and have very specific protein and nutrient needs, and your veterinarian can help you determine what’s right for your pet based on lifestyle, age and other factors.
- Litterbox training: For most cats, litterbox training comes easily, but your vet can give you advice on making sure your little one knows where to go and how to troubleshoot any problems.
- Socialization: Kittens who have been socialized make less fearful, friendlier pets and more readily adjust to changes in their environment. Your cat is most receptive to new challenges while at this age—so it’s important to see that they have a variety of experiences.
- Environment: Toys, perches, hiding spots, resting areas, scratching posts—your cat-to-be will need all of these, and it’s important you know how to create the best living space for your new pet.
- Grooming concerns: Cats are quite fastidious, but depending on your cat’s fur and lifestyle, he or she may require regular grooming, brushing, and nail trims.
- Immunizations: While all kittens need an initial series of core vaccinations for certain diseases, there are some that may be optional depending upon environment and other risk factors. Your pet will receive the first round of “kitten shots” at this visit for feline panleukopenia, feline calicivirus and feline rhinotracheitis.
- Parasite Assessment/Prevention: You’ll be asked to bring in a fresh fecal sample at this visit and your kitten will get a first deworming for intestinal parasites. You can discuss flea and tick preventatives at this time, as well as other types of parasite prevention based on your cat’s lifestyle and environment.
- Pet Health Insurance: Now is the time to sign your kitten up for veterinary insurance! This coverage is significantly less expensive if you obtain it early in your cat’s life and will help cover many major veterinary expenses that occur when they’re older.
- Retroviral assessment: Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) are among the most common infectious diseases of cats. Your veterinarian can discuss your cat’s risk factors with you and determine if your kitten will need additional testing for these diseases.
Click here (link to web page) to read about what to expect at your new kitten’s follow-up exams. See you soon!
Second Exam (11- 13 Weeks)
- Halth assessment: The vet can determine if your kitten’s growth and development is on track and if any future health issues are developing.
- Feeding/Nutrition: Your pet’s nutritional needs may change during this important growth period, and an adjustment in calorie intake may be needed depending upon activity level.
- Appropriate behavior/socialization: How is your cat reacting to new situations, people, and other stimulus or changes in environment? Are you noticing any unusual behaviors in your kitten?
- Immunizations: Your cat will receive his or her second set of core “kitten shots” at this visit. Non-core vaccines such as FeLV and FIV can be given at this time if your kitten is at high risk of exposure.
- Parasite prevention: Your kitten will need a second round of deworming at this visit for intestinal parasites. Flea and tick prevention can begin around this age as well, and your veterinarian can discuss the various options with you.
Third Exam (15 – 17 Weeks)
- Health assessment: Checking for appropriate growth and development.
- Behavior/Socialization: Are you giving your kitten enough opportunities for socialization? Is he or she exhibiting any unwanted behaviors? This second visit is a good place to address those with your veterinarian.
- Immunizations: The third set of core “kitten shots” will be administered, and your kitten will receive the first rabies vaccination.
- Parasite Prevention: Heartworm screening and prevention options should be considered, as well as flea and tick prevention if not already being given.
- Preparation for spay/neuter: Cats become able to reproduce very young—sometimes well before six months of age. Surgical sterilization is part of your responsibility as a pet owner and both males and females can be altered if they are healthy and of weight to safely undergo anesthesia. Your vet will advise you as to recovery times, post-surgical activity level and possible complications.
- Microchipping: This small transmitter is your pet’s ticket home should they become lost. While insertion usually causes very little pain, many pet parents opt to have this done while their pet is anesthetized for spay/neuter surgery.
We highly recommend this website as a great resource for creating a healthy space and life for your kitten: For Cat Owners