Caring for your new kitten
New kittens bring with them years of fun and entertainment. The following information is provided to help you with all the necessary health care your new kitten will require, including vaccination, flea and tick control, worming, nutrition, desexing and microchipping.
To safeguard your pet from potentially serious and sometimes fatal diseases we recommend vaccinations. Cats are vaccinated against:
Feline Enteritis - The most common life threatening disease affecting cats. It is a very contagious viral disease with a high death rate especially in cats under 12 months of age. Signs include fever, depression, severe stomach pain, vomiting diarrhoea and dehydration.
Feline Respiratory Disease (Cat Flu) - A highly contagious disease. Cats of all ages are at risk, especially young kittens, Siamese and Burmese cats. Signs include sneezing, nasal discharge, runny eyes, coughing, loss of appetite and tongue ulcers. This can lead to severe dehydration followed by death.
Feline Chlamydophila - An organism that causes eye and respiratory diseases and infertility, predominantly seen in kittens up to 9 months of age. The signs of infection are discharge from the eyes (sticky eye or conjunctivitis) and nose, fever, coughing, respiratory signs, enlarged lymph nodes, inappetence, weight loss and depression. Chlamydophila is found in up to one third of cases of conjunctivitis and is transmitted by close contact between cats.
FIV Feline Immunodeficiency Virus - A blood borne viral infection causes feline AIDS which ispotentially fatal. Vaccination is available and will only be recommended by our veterinarians if your cat is considered to be at risk. The virus interferes with the immune system and initial symptoms such as fever, sores, lesions and diarrhoea progress to severe chronic infections as the immune system is overcome. There is no treatment or cure for the virus itself.
FeLV Feline Leukaemia - A blood borne viral infection causes feline leukaemia which is potentially fatal. Vaccination is available and will only be recommended by our veterinarians if your cat is considered to be at risk. The virus causes suppression of the immune system and sometimes lymphoma. There is no treatment or cure for the virus itself.
Your kitten will require a course of three core vaccinations: 6-8 weeks First Vaccination, 12 Weeks Booster Vaccination, 16 Weeks Final Vaccination (or two vaccinations after 10 weeks of age).
One week after the last vaccination your kitten can go outside and socialise with other cats. FIV Vaccination requires a course of 3 vaccinations which can be done at 10, 12 and 14 weeks of age or later in life also. Cats vaccinated for FIV after 6 months will require a blood test prior to vaccination.
Leucogen vaccine against feline leukaemia can be given after 9 weeks of age with a second dose 2-3 weeks later. Annual booster vaccinations are required.
The most common worms that affect cats in Australia are roundworm, hookworm and tapeworm. Worms are a common cause of ill health in young cats and can cause signs such as loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhoea and in severe cases even death.
Kittens should be wormed at 6, 8 and 12 weeks of age, then every 3 months for life with an allwormer such as Milbemax.
Fleas are unfortunately an ever present nuisance for our pets. If they exist in the environment they will find a way onto your cat's coat.
Fleas can be prevented easily and effectively with Comfortis, a tablet given monthly, or with Advantage, a topical solution on the back of the neck.
All pets in the household need to be treated at the same time. Kittens can be given a topical flea treatment with Frontline Spray as early as 2 days of age. Our veterinary healthcare team can provide you with more information about effective flea control.
Ticks are endemic in our region and prevention is essential from July through to the heatwave days of summer, when ticks dry up and only a few remain active. The only product registered for tick prevention in cats is Frontline spray which needs to be applied every three weeks. However, Frontline Top Spot applied every two weeks is an effective deterrent, although not registered as a tick preventative.
Tick searching every day is a good back-up to chemical control.
Nutrition - a healthy diet
Getting the correct nutrition as a kitten is very important. Therefore, it is highly recommended to feed a high quality kitten diet. We stock and recommend Hill’s range of foods.
Milk is unnecessary and may cause diarrhoea in those that are lactose intolerant. Clean water must be available at all times.
We strongly recommend desexing all cats, male and female, between 5 and 6 months of age.
As well as reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies, desexing prevents cats from calling, roaming, fighting, spraying and night prowling.
Microchipping is a legislated, compulsory, permanent form of identification in the form of a tiny chip, the size of a grain of rice, which is implanted under the skin at the back of the neck or between the shoulder blades.
Information such as the animal's age, name, sex and description, as well as the owner's contact details are stored on the Companion Animal's Register with the council, and are linked to the unique number stored in the microchip.We can access this database to get contact details for any stray pets that are brought in.
By law, all cats must be microchipped before being sold or given away, or before 3 months of age (whichever comes first), or the owner risks a fine.
It is the responsibility of the breeder or previous owner to update ownership records with the council once they sell or give away an animal, so make sure you check with them that this has been done as soon as you pick up your new kitten.
Owner contact details (e.g. phone numbers and addresses) may be easily changed through your local council over the phone, or we can supply you with a “change of details” form to fill out and send in instead.
If your pet has not already been microchipped, we can quickly and easily perform this procedure during a normal consultation.
Note that microchipping your pet does not mean that it has been lifetime registered with the council.
Pet insurance is strongly recommended, as your pet may fall ill or have an accident when you least expect it, leaving you significantly out of pocket.
Just like your own private health cover, you can now purchase Pet Insurance to cover your pet's medical expenses including illnesses, accidents and preventative medicine. Some companies will cover part of the cost of yearly vaccinations, desexing, worming and flea control, depending on the level of cover you choose. Please ask our staff for information.
Please remember for the safety and well being of your cat and wildlife it is recommended to keep your cat indoors or in an enclosure after sunset. Your cat should also wear a collar and be microchipped to ensure that they can be properly identified.
We look forward to seeing you and your new kitten!