Kitten Care

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Kitten Care

Congratulations on your new family addition! We know how much information there is to know when first getting a kitten, so here are some of the basics to get you started.

Vaccinations

We routinely vaccinate kittens against 3 viral diseases- Feline Enteritis, Rhinotracheitis and Calici Virus.

Kittens should get vaccinations at 6-8 weeks, 12-14 weeks and 16-18 weeks of age and then yearly.

It is important to realise that your kitten is not fully vaccinated until 2 weeks AFTER their final booster.

Therefore, it is best to keep your kitten indoors and away from other cats until this time has passed.

Feline Aids (FIV)

What is Feline AIDS?

Feline AIDS is caused by infection with feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV). FIV causes a potentially fatal viral disease that interferes with the immune system of a cat. FIV is spread from cat to cat primarily through bite wounds. Although rare, it is possible for a mother to pass the infection on to her unborn foetus.

Should I vaccinate my kitten against FIV?

Outdoor cats are at the highest risk of contracting the disease. Vaccination is the best way to prevent disease in at-risk cats. There is no treatment or cure for an FIV infected cat. If your kitten will grow up to be an outdoor cat, it is worthwhile vaccinating your kitten against this potentially fatal disease.

How often does my kitten need the vaccine?

Similar to the normal kitten vaccination schedule, the FIV vaccine must be given at 8 weeks, 12 weeks and 16 weeks of age. The vaccine then must be given annually. It is important to note that all kittens vaccinated against FIV must also be micro-chipped. Ask your vet or nurse for more information.

Intestinal Worming

What should I worm my kitten against?

Kittens should be wormed for roundworm, hookworm, and tapeworm (including the hydatid tapeworm). Kittens can be susceptible to intestinal worms and can be significantly affected by a small worm burden. These worms can also be spread to humans, especially children. So it is very important to keep up with your intestinal worming regime. Although it is rare, cats can also contract heartworm and therefore it is worthwhile purchasing heartworm prevention. Products include milbemax or revolution (excludes tapeworm) or advocate (also excludes tapeworm).

How often do I worm my kitten?

Kittens should be wormed every fortnight from 2 to 12 weeks of age, then monthly up to 6 months of age, then every three months for life. If your kitten likes to hunt lizards and mice, the vet may elect to worm your kitten at a higher dose rate.

Fleas

Flea control is very important as a large flea burden can cause anaemia and death in a small kitten. Get into a routine and start your kitten on flea prevention straight away. Here are a few options:

  • Advantage – safe from 7 weeks of age-applied once a month
  • Revolution – safe from 6 weeks of age- applied once a month (also prevents heartworm, roundworm, hookworm and ear mites)
  • Advocate – use from 7 weeks of age- applied once a month (also prevents heartworm, roundworm, hookworm and ear mites)
  • Capstar – This tablet will kill all adult fleas in an hour. It is a great fast knock down of fleas but must be used in conjunction with another product for long-term effects.

It is important that ALL animals in the household must be treated for control to be effective.

Microchips

A microchip is a small chip (about the size of a grain of rice) that is inserted under the skin between the shoulder blades via a simple injection. Microchipping can be done any time after 8 weeks of age.

The microchip holds a 15 digit number. Your details are linked to that number. If your kitten goes missing and is found and brought to a shelter or a vet clinic, the kitten can be scanned for a microchip. Once we have the chip number, we can call you immediately. The one-off fee includes the microchip and life-time registration on a nationwide database.

Remember, a collar and tag can get lost, but a microchip is there for life.

Pet Insurance

With the rising costs of veterinary medicine, it may be a good idea to consider pet insurance. There are many companies that provide this service. When comparing companies things to consider include

  • How long has the company been in business and who underwrites the policy?
  • Does the policy guarantee lifetime renewal?
  • Does the policy stop cover once the pet reaches a certain age or does cover decrease as the pet ages?
  • Does the policy place new exclusions or restrictions on cover at the time of renewal?
  • Does the policy have an age limit for joining?
  • Does the policy cover for hereditary and congenital conditions or are there breed specific exclusions?
  • Does the policy have limits per claim as well as yearly limits?

You will also need to decide the type of coverage you want – accident, illness or both.

In general most companies will cover 70-80% of the veterinary bill and most offer some coverage for routine health care. Most have no waiting period for accidental injury but they usually have a 30 day waiting period for illness.  It is important you check their tick paralysis policy as these differ significantly between companies. Some companies that provide house insurance also provide pet insurance. As with any insurance, it is important to read the product disclosure statements carefully and choose the one that suits you.