If you have a new kitten, you’re in for a fun time. Just bear in mind that you won’t always be in charge. As the saying goes “Dogs have owners, cats have staff”.
Please let us know when you ring for an appointment at Mont Albert Vet if you are bringing in a new kitten for a consultation. We like to allocate a double appointment (30 minutes) for these consultations, as there is usually a lot to cover and many questions to answer.
The First Night
A cosy basket with a blanket or towel and perhaps a hot water bottle during cooler weather will help your new kitten to sleep through the night.
Choose a quiet spot and try to ignore any meowing to encourage a pattern of sleeping through the night.
All kittens should be given an F3 vaccine (feline enteritis and cat ‘flu) at 6 to 8 weeks, again at 12 weeks and once more at 16 weeks. Vaccinations should then be boosted yearly.
An FIV (cat AIDS) vaccine is also available. It can be given to kittens at the same time as the F3 vaccines and all cats need 3 injections initially. Older cats should be tested for FIV before this vaccine is given.
Vaccination visits also enable us to check the health of your kitten in its early growth stages and address any questions or problems you may have.
Microchipping and Registration
Microchipping is a means of permanent identification. A tiny microchip implanted under the loose skin at the back of the neck will allow a lost cat or kitten to be identified and returned to its owner.
If your kitten is not already microchipped, this will need to be done before you can apply for pet registration with your local council. All cats in the Whitehorse, Boroondara and Manningham Council areas should be registered by the age of 3 months.
A microchip can be implanted at the 12 week vaccination prior to council registration. It is a quick, simple and virtually painless procedure.
Make sure that any flea products you use are safe at your kitten’s age. Revolution, Advantage and Advocate are safe from 6 weeks and Frontline is safe from 8 weeks.
Program is an alternative way to control fleas. It does not kill fleas but prevents them from breeding and is given either as a 6-monthly injection or, less commonly, as a monthly oral paste.
To treat intestinal worms, all kittens should be given the correct dose (according to weight) of an 'allwormer' at 6, 8, 10 and 12 weeks of age, and then every 3 months afterwards.
Heartworm, although a parasite of dogs, can occasionally affect cats too. Monthly products such as Advocate will prevent this parasite and several others. Please discuss this with us if you wish to find out more. Advocate will control roundworms and hookworms but does not treat tapeworms.
Cats are usually very easy to toilet train. Just have a clean litter tray ready for your new kitten and, chances are, he or she will know exactly what to do with it.
If you have more than one cat, it’s a good idea to have one tray for each of them and, ideally, one extra.
Always make sure the trays are cleaned regularly and try to put them in quiet spots.
For the first week, it’s usually a good idea to stick to the sorts of foods that your new kitten is already used to. This should avoid bowel upsets. After a week or so, you can gradually change over to other foods.
Good quality commercial tinned and dry foods are well balanced for nutrients and convenient for busy owners. Super Premium foods such as Iams, Advance and Hills Science Diet contain high quality proteins mostly derived from meat, fish and eggs.
It’s also a good idea to give your kitten a raw chicken wing or neck at least once a week. This will help to keep teeth and gums healthy.
Never let your kitten do things that you won’t want him or her to do as an adult cat.
Bad behaviour should be discouraged by a firm “NO”. If that doesn’t work, grasp the kitten by the scruff of the neck and give him or her a little shake. Don’t smack a kitten.
When young, kittens should have plenty of human contact. Make sure there are toys that he or she can play with and you should join in as much as possible.
A scratching post covered with carpet or hessian may help to prevent damage to furniture. If the material on the post becomes ragged, don’t replace it, as that’s when it gets really interesting!
Once fully immunised, decide whether your kitten will be allowed outside. A popular option is a cat run or enclosure.
If you do allow your kitten outside it’s a good idea to supervise him or her the first few times. There may be other cats that have made their territory in your backyard and they may be quite aggressive towards a new cat.
We recommend desexing cats between 5 and 6 months of age and offer a discount if it is done before 6 months of age.
Desexing surgery involves a general anaesthetic and we always use a long-acting painkiller injection to allow a comfortable recovery. It is remarkable how quickly young cats recover from this surgery.
As the range of veterinary services increases, it is worth considering taking out pet insurance. There are a number of insurance companies which will cover your kitten for a proportion of your veterinary expenses.