Kitten Care Guide

Kitten Care Guide

 

Vaccinations

Vaccines are essential in keeping your kitten healthy and happy. Many of the diseases we prevent through vaccination cause severe disease, some of which can be deadly. Others are an annoyance but are very common (like the flu!). Kittens require vaccination at 8, 12 and 16 weeks age for proper immunity into adulthood.

  • Rhinotracheitis (Herpes virus), Calici virus, and Panleukopenia – this is a combination vaccine against severe upper respiratory and diarrhea viruses.
  • Rabies will be administered at 16 weeks of age or any time after this age, if you’ve acquired your kitten later in life.
  • Myth: Rabies is so uncommon that there’s no need to vaccinate my cat against it. While rabies infection is uncommon,  there have been several reported cases in domestic cats in Alberta in the past 10 years.  There was also a human fatality in 2007. Rabies is 100% fatal in humans and domestic animals, killing an estimated 50,000 people annually, worldwide.
  • Kittens and adult cats who will be boarding or going outside, even limited to the backyard, require vaccination against Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV)
  • We will boost these vaccines one year after the last set (given at 16 weeks) then begin a three year rotation of core vaccines to maintain protection throughout the life of your cat.

Nutrition and Feeding

  • It’s important for growing kittens to get the appropriate nutrition. Kittens should be fed three times daily until they are 6 months of age. They can then be fed twice daily.
  • A great alternative to feeding set meals is to hide your cats 24 hour nutrition requirements in places through the house, or placing food in one or more food puzzles. Make your cat work for their food; let them hunt; its natural and they love it! This method can help overweight cats shave pounds and help treat and prevent unwanted behavior problems.
  • Kitten food is different from adult and senior formulas because they are more calorically dense, it has higher quantities of proteins, fats and carbohydrates and different calcium/phosphorus ratios for growing bones.
  • It’s important to introduce your kitten to a variety of flavors and consistencies. Feed canned and hard foods made from different basic ingredients. The staff at Companion Veterinary Clinic is trained in nutrition and can help in making the right nutrition choices for your kitten.
  • It’s recommended your cat eat mostly canned food. Water content is the main reason for this. It can help prevent urinary tract issues in male cats and is less likely to contribute to obesity as it is less calorically dense. Don’t worry about needing crunchy food for the health of your cat’s teeth. We have better ways of preventing dental disease.

Parasite Prevention

  • Because cats can be born with intestinal parasites or be infected early from their mom’s milk kittens must be dewormed every 2 weeks between the ages of 2-9 weeks then monthly until 6 months of age.
  • These recommendations have been put in place after rigorous studies conducted by the Companion Animal Parasite Council (www.capcvet.org) and the Centre for Disease Control (CDC).
  • As an adult, intestinal parasite prevention will be tailored to your cat’s lifestyle. Minimally, even strictly indoor cats should be dewormed once yearly as they often have access to mice, which carry tapeworms.
  • If your cat is boarded or goes outside frequently, it may become necessary to apply preventive medications against fleas, ticks and lice.
  • Please be aware when considering the use of parasite medications from pet stores and other major retailers as they are often ineffective and can even be dangerous to your cat if used incorrectly.

Dental Care

  • Your kitten’s teeth and gums are as susceptible to the buildup of plaque and gingivitis as yours. Over time this will result in infected gums, loose, painful, teeth, and an unhealthy pet; not to mention horrible breath. Imagine what your mouth would be like if you NEVER brushed your teeth!
  • We strongly advocate brushing your cat’s teeth daily and it should start from day one. Handling your kitten’s mouth at an early age is crucial to the success of a long-term dental health plan.
  • Using a baby Oral-B toothbrush or soft finger brush, which we provide, and flavored toothpaste for cats is a great start. Do not use human toothpaste as it contains fluoride, toxic when swallowed.
  • Place your kitten on your lap, facing away from you and gently slide the toothbrush under the top lip and massage in circular movements. Do this on the bottom and on both side.
  • Remember: start small. If your kitten becomes agitated, do not fight him. Stop the training session; give them a treat for being calm around the toothbrush and try again tomorrow.
  • Just as with your teeth, brushing daily is not enough to avoid regular trips to the dentist. Regular physical examinations and health consultations will allow us to recommend dental cleaning procedures BEFORE major dental disease start affecting your cats health.

Spay and Neuter

  • We recommend having your kitten spayed (female) or neutered (male) between the ages of 5 and 7 months.
  • There is no evidence to support waiting until your cat is a year of age. Contrarily, there is great evidence supporting early spaying and neutering to prevent mammary cancer and infected uterus conditions in female cats and behavior urination problems in male cats.
  • Stray animal population control is a civic duty we take seriously at Companion Veterinary Clinic. One visit to the Edmonton Humane Society to see all the beautiful animals without homes will be enough to encourage even the most skeptical that spaying or neutering your kitten is an essential part of responsible pet ownership.

Pet Insurance

  • It is important to be prepared for all the potential health concerns your kitten could face throughout their lives. Remember, accidents happen!
  • Pet insurance is a great way to ensure your kitten will always be able to receive the care they may require, especially when it’s unplanned.
  • There are two companies trusted by most veterinarians: Trupanion and Petsecure. Research these companies and their policies to choose a plan that is right for you and your family. Have questions? We can help!
  • Two providers we recommend: Trupanion and PetSecure

Kitten Training and Behavior

  • What?! Yes, we said it. Kitten training. It IS possible. We are aware that cats are peculiar creatures. Sometimes it feels like it’s a cat's world and we’re all just renting their space.
  • At Companion Veterinary Clinic it’s our goal to nurture the bond between you and your new kitten. This starts with proper manners.
  • Proper behavior (manners) can be achieved with the application of stress-free positive reinforcement and negative punishment training. This means we reward the behaviors we like and ignore the behaviors we don’t like.
  • There’s much more to training your kitten than can be discussed here. We will cover this in more depth during your kitten’s first health exams and in regular articles published on this website.
  • Common behaviors include:

    • Biting
    • Scratching (you, your kids, your couch, your carpet…you get the point)
    • Litter habits
    • Travelling (we really want your cat to enjoy coming the vet!)
    • Aggression

For more information visit: http://drsophiayin.com/resources/cat_behavior


Dr. Kevin Benoit and the team at Companion Veterinary Clinic are here to ensure you get to enjoy many healthy, happy years with your new addition.

Should you need further advice regarding the health and well-being of your pet: