Are you a new kitten owner in the Killingly, CT area? Our Danielson veterinary hospital has some top tips for new kitten owners. Veterinarian, Dr. David J. Lambert, and veterinary technician, Val D., offer their best insights on kitten care below. Don’t forget – you can book an appointment for your kitten online!
Feeding Your Kitten
Kittens need to be transitioned between milk replacer and hard food as they age. Our general recommendations are:
- Under 5 weeks of age: Feed a milk replacer, meaning a special kitten formula. Do not give kittens cow milk. QVVH vet technician, Val, notes about 98% of all cats are lactose intolerant.
- 5-7 weeks of age: Start transition to a high-quality kitten food. You can mix replacer with wet food, then progress to soaking kitten chow in water or replacer.
- 7-8 weeks of age until time of spay or neuter: Transition fully to kitten chow. “Kittens develop pretty sharp little teeth by 7-8 weeks of age,” Dr. Lambert notes.
- After spay/neuter: Transition from kitten food to a high-quality adult cat food. Mix foods half and half for a few days to make the transition easy on your cat’s stomach.
Spaying or Neutering Your Kitten
Cats should be spayed (female) or neutered (male) at 6 months of age. Spaying and neutering prevents unwanted kittens from being born, and it allows your cat to be more focused on their human family. Not only that, but cats who have been spayed and neutered tend to be healthier. For example, when a female cat is spayed, she avoids the risk of mammary cancer.
Prior to being spayed or neutered at Quinebaug Valley Veterinary Hospital, one of our veterinarians must examine your cat. (You can book your kitty’s first visit online, anytime here.)
Preventing Parasites in Your Kitten
It is very common for kittens to have intestinal parasites, some of which can be transferred to humans. Not only that, but your kitten might have a flea infestation! When you visit Quinebaug Valley Veterinary Hospital for your kitten’s exam, wormer will be given to eradicate parasites. Dr. Lambert, Blakeslee or Previe will also check your feline friend for fleas. If fleas are found, our veterinarians will treat them with kitten-safe medication. (Beware many over-the-counter flea medications for your kitten, as they could be harmful. It is important to seek medical advice when dealing with fleas!)
From then on, it is important to give your cat monthly parasite prevention. Some of our favorite options are the Seresto Collar, which prevents fleas & ticks for 8 months, or Advantage Multi, a topical product that prevents fleas, ear mites, and intestinal parasites.
The Seresto collar can be used in cats 10 weeks of age and older, and Advantage Multi is approved for kitties over 9 weeks of age. If your kitten is younger than this, it is critical to contact us if a flea infestation is present to discuss other treatment options. Fleas can kill a small kitten!
Important Vaccines & Tests for Your Kitten
All kittens that come to Quinebaug Valley Veterinary Hospital must be tested for feline AIDS (FIV) and leukemia (FELV). This test, which is around $40, takes just minutes to run and is critical to your cat’s overall health. Not only that, but both of these potentially deadly diseases can be easily transmitted to other cats. Therefore, it is critical for our Killingly veterinary hospital to know your cat’s status.
The important vaccines your cat needs are FVRCP (aka “Distemper”), Rabies and the FIV/FELV vaccine. Rabies is given once at 12 weeks of age, but other vaccinations may be started around 6 weeks of age, and they must be boostered. You can book an appointment for your kitten’s exam and vaccines here.
Litter Box Training Your Kitten
Kittens are generally savvy when it comes to becoming litter box trained, provided you offer them an easy-to-access box. QVVH veterinary technician, Val, recommends ONE litterbox per cat in your household. She also suggests trying to offer both the open-style pans and covered boxes, to see which your kitten prefers. When it comes to litter, recylced litter pellets or pine/wood-based pellets are preferable to clay. Clay litter can be dusty, which isn’t good for kittens nor cats. Remember: Cats are meticulous groomers. They’re likely ingesting whatever you’re using for litter!
Cat owners often worry that kittens will scratch household furniture and cause damage. To prevent this, offer multiple kinds of scratching posts throughout your home. You can try various types – such as carpet, rope or cardboard varieties. Play around scratching posts with kittens to encourage use.
Kittens nails can be trimmed every few weeks. Starting with nail trims early on in life will help adjust your cat to the process. When you come for an exam, just ask a member of our veterinary staff to give you guidance on how to trim your kitty’s nails!
Kittens can be a great pet, but they are also a serious responsibility. Never gift a kitten without ensuring the recipient is ready to be responsible for a cat! Keeping your cat healthy involves a series of kitten exams and boosters, spaying or neutering, and annual exams as an adult. Please feel free to contact our office if you would like a medical care plan for your cat, which includes the related costs. We’d be happy to offer you guidance!
If you’re looking for a veterinarian in the Danielson, CT area, we’d love to meet you. Book online, anytime!