Download a pdf copy of this Kitten Fact Sheet here.
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.
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.
We also recommend the FIV (cat AIDS) vaccine. It can be given to kittens at the same time as the F3 vaccine. Older cats should be tested for FIV before this vaccine is given.
Once the initial course has been given, vaccinations need to be boosted annually.
Vaccination visits include a full check-up.
Microchipping and Registration
Microchipping is a means of permanent identification. A tiny microchip is implanted under the loose skin at the back of the neck and will allow a lost cat or kitten to be identified and returned to its owner.
If your kitten is already microchipped, you need to make sure that the microchip registry (usually Central Animal Records) has been notified that you are the new owner.
Make sure that any flea products you use are safe at your kitten’s age. Advantage and Advocate are safe from 6 weeks of age. These products are simply applied to the back of the neck once a month.
Alternatives for flea control include Comfortis tablets which are safe from 14 weeks and given monthly, and Seresto collars which are safe from 10 weeks and last for 8 months.
All kittens should be given the correct dose (according to weight) of an allwormer like Milbemax 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. Some monthly products such as Advocate will prevent heartworm, roundworms and hookworms but not 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 Advance and Hills Vet Essentials contain high quality proteins mostly derived from meat, fish and eggs.
Once your kitten has his or her adult teeth from around 4 to 6 months of age, a dental food such as Hills T/D will help to keep teeth and gums healthy.
These foods are all available from us. Let us know if you want to know more about them.
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 firmly. 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 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 safer 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 may be quite aggressive towards a new cat.
We recommend desexing cats between 5 and 6 months of age. We offer a reduced rate if it is done before 7 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. Make sure you don't delay getting inurance as insurers will not cover pre-existing conditions.