Your home should be well prepared for your new kitten. Before you bring your kitten home there are a few things you will need.
A warm and safe place to sleep.
A cosy bed.
Two clean bowls for food and water.
A kitty litter tray.
A supply of its current food.
A light collar and a name tag.
And of course a name.
Cats are naturally clean animals and toilet training for kittens is usually a relatively simple procedure. Cats tend to be rather secretive about their toilet habits, so allow them to relieve themselves in private. Provide them with a suitable litter tray indoors. There are numerous types of cat litter available, some that only need to have the faeces taken out of them; some that have clumping properties and some that are environmentally friendly. The tray should not be placed near your kitten’s food bowls, as they don’t like to soil their feeding area. Newspaper or cardboard can be placed under the tray to catch any scattered litter. Alternatively, kittens should have access to the outside, preferably by means of a cat flap.
Never punish your kitten if there are any accidents. Instead it is better to try to avoid accidents by giving your kitten plenty of opportunity to go to the toilet in its tray or outdoors, by praising your kitten when it does the right thing, and by picking your kitten up and putting him in the litter tray when it shows signs that it is about to perform.
YOUR KITTENS HEALTH
The basis of good health is a sound diet, exercise and maintenance of an ideal body weight. There are many super premium foods on the market that can provide your kitten with all the required vitamins and minerals for optimal health. We recommend that you feed your kitten biscuits as they help keeping the teeth clean. Please ask one of our health care team for further information on what is available.
Kittens need to be vaccinated against a number of viruses. It is advisable that vaccinations be given at 6-8 weeks, 12 weeks and 16 weeks of age then YEARLY BOOSTERS for life to ensue ongoing and strong immunity.
Feline Enteritis or (Feline Panleukopenia) which is caused by feline parvovirus has various symptoms. Depression, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhoea often with blood and severe abdominal pain are some of the signs cat may suffer.
Feline Respiratory Disease or (Cat Flu) Affects cats and kittens of all ages and is usually spread by a carrier cat coughing or sneezing. Sneezing, coughing, discharge from the eyes and nose, tongue ulcers, loss of appetite and lethargy are some of the signs your cat may develop.
Feline Chlamydia mainly occurs in young cats less than 12 months of age. It generally only produces mild conjunctivitis in one or both eyes, which can be treated with a course of antibiotics.
The feline leukaemia virus causes feline Leukaemia. About a third of infected cats remains carriers and can infect other cats with their saliva, tears, nasal secretions and urine. Also by grooming, sharing food bowls, toys and litter trays. Lack of appetite, apathy, weight loss, pale or yellow membranes, vomiting, diarrhoea, reproductive problems, increased susceptibility to other infections are some of the problems caused by this virus. There is no cure for Feline Leukaemia Virus.
Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV or CAT AIDS) is in the same class of virus that causes AIDS (HIV) but it cannot infect humans. This virus depresses the immune system and allows the cat to become susceptible to other infections. It is primarily spread through biting and therefore cats involved in fights are more at risk.
It is recommended that you worm your kitten at 4, 6, 8 and 12 weeks of age then monthly until 6 months of age. Then every 3 months for life. Worming your cat regularly will keep it healthy and also reduces the risk of infecting you and your family.
Tape worm infection is very common. Fleas transmit most tapeworms. The worm has segments, which break free and pass out in the faeces.
HOOKWORM AND ROUNDWORM
These parasites live in the small intestine of cats. They may cause vomiting, weight loss, or anaemia. These worms are present in most kittens and may infect people. Due to the rapid life cycle of these worms, frequent worming is require in kittens.
There are many quality products on the market for you to choose from. Your cat can be fed wet and dry food or one or the other. Dry food will help control plaque build up on teeth. When bringing a new cat or kitten into your home, it is recommended that you change their diet slowly over a 5-7 day period so they can get used to a new food.
Mosquitoes spread heartworm disease. Heartworms are parasitic roundworms that live in the right side of the heart and blood vessels. The worms can block the blood flow through these vessels and cause damage to the heart, lungs and liver. The most common signs of heartworm disease in cats are coughing and difficulty in breathing. Unfortunately, diagnosis of heartworm in cats is difficult and there is no established treatment that is safe as yet. Therefore, prevention is the only option. Revolution and Advocate are monthly spot on treatments that are available to prevent heartworm.
We strongly recommend sterilisation for both male and female cats. Desexing is performed around 6 months of age. Sterilisation importantly stops adding to the unwanted cat population, helps to reduce catfights as bites and scratches can cause infections, injury and transmit diseases like Feline AIDS and Feline Leukaemia virus.
Check with your shire to see if they have any sterilisation discount vouchers available.
For permanent identification, we recommend a microchip implant, which goes under your cat’s skin. This works in a similar way to a barcode, allowing your cat to be traced back to you through a central registry. In some shires, microchips are compulsory.
Adult fleas on pets typically represent only 5% of the flea population within a household.
The remaining 95% inhabit the animal’s environment. Both adult and immature stages of the flea cycle need to be targeted to effectively break the life cycle. Eggs, larvae and pupae can be present in the carpet and other soft furnishings and these can be a constant source of reinfestation. Fleas are also carriers of tapeworm larvae. There are many flea treatments available on the market. We recommend REVOLUTION, which is a monthly spot on that treats all stages of a flea’s life cycle, heartworm disease, roundworm and hookworm infestations and ear mites.
We strongly recommend pet insurance. Unexpected illness or accident can involve a financial burden. Pet insurance can help pay for unexpected and routine expenses by 80% to 100% of costs. There are a number of pet insurance companies available.
RSPCA 1300 855 150. PETPLAN 1300 738 225. VETS OWN 1300 668 890
If you have any further concerns or questions, please don’t hesitate to call one of our health care teams at the Australind Vet Hospital on 08 9797 1584.