Kitten Care – What You Need To Know
For the first 2 weeks in its new home it is important to keep your cat / kitten indoors so that it can become settled in its new environment. Cats and kittens that are let outside too early are likely to wander and become lost.
It is useful to have a bed or special blanket in a designated place in the house that is quiet and peaceful where your new pet can escape to when it feels threatened by other pets, children or visitors.
Feeding your cat a healthy, wholesome and well-balanced diet will help it to stay in good health. Cats are naturally carnivores and depend on good quality protein and fat to keep them fit and strong.
Ideally feed your kitten / cat a food that is free of chemicals, preservatives and high amounts of grain or carbohydrates. For more information about a well balanced raw food diet please see our information sheet.
With kittens always change their diet gradually as they are prone to getting tummy upsets from sudden diet changes ie. Mix ¼ of the new food with ¾ of their old food for a couple of days, then ½ and ½ for a couple of days, etc.
Worm & Flea treatment
Fleas and worms can be extremely harmful parasites. Not only do they cause a tremendous amount of irritation but they are also responsible for health problems such as flea allergies, sore tummies, diarrhea and they are capable of infesting young animals so severely that they can cause them to be anemic and very sick.
There are a number of ways to reduce worm and flea burdens numbers. Firstly supporting your pet’s immune system with good nutrition will go a long way to making them less tasty to fleas and more able to defend against worm burdens. Regular treatment with worm and flea products are important to help keep your pet healthy. Some products are of much better quality than others and there are some products that can have toxic side effects so be sure to check with your vet what the most user friendly option for your pet is.
With fleas, environmental control is very important as typically the number of fleas on any dog or cat is only the tip of the ice berg reflecting a much greater flea population in the animal’s environment of both adult and immature fleas. Therefore addressing the environment is a very important component of flea control. Immature fleas can be destroyed by regularly hanging pet bedding out in the sunshine, thoroughly vacuuming carpets on a regular basis and sprinkling them with borax or diatomaceous earth afterwards.
Kittens should be dewormed every 2 weeks until they are 12 weeks old and then once a month until they are 6 months old. A Faecal Egg Count (FEC) is a test that we can do to see if worms are present, what types they are and whether treatments are needed or are working.
Vaccination and Regular Health Checks
Vaccinating your kitten / cat can be an important way of helping to prevent serious life threatening diseases like panleukopenia and it can help to reduce cat flu. Other diseases such as FIV (Feline Aids) and Feline Leukemia may be considered depending on risk factors. If your kitten or cat has received a vaccination, its vaccination booklet will indicate when a booster vaccination is recommended. Most vaccinations hold for 3 years but an annual health check is recommended to help keep your pet in top health and pick up any health issues early on.
Unfortunately pet overpopulation is a huge animal welfare issue worldwide and many animals are abandoned, aren’t adequately cared for or can’t be rehomed by animal shelters leading to millions being euthanized each year. Desexing is an important tool to help address this issue. Desexed cats are less likely to have territorial behaviors and get into fights, which is important in helping to reduce their injuries and the need to see the vet. Desexing can be done as young as 8-10 weeks of age but as with any surgical procedure there are risks involved. For more information please refer to our Desexing information sheet.
A microchip is approximately the size of a grain of rice. It is inserted under the skin usually between the shoulder blades and offers a reliable means of identifying an animal. This can be a fantastic help when an animal has been found and it has no collar or other identifying features and when the microchip is listed on the national database, it is relatively easy to reunite an animal with their owner. Microchipping can be done at any age
Sometimes health problems develop suddenly and often unexpectedly and especially for occasions such as these, pet health insurance can be invaluable. A good Pet Health Insurance Plan will cover basic health checks as well as major health issues which may crop up. Ideally choose a pet health insurance plan that covers complementary and natural therapies in addition to all the benefits of conventional veterinary medicine and surgery so that you can easily give your pet all the healthcare options that they may need.
Cats and Wildlife
Looking after your cat responsibly ensuring that they are well cared for and do not threaten wildlife is an important part of helping to preserve our natural heritage. Here are some tips on how you can help:
- Ensure that your cat always has access to good quality food
- Keep your cat inside at night so that it is less likely to prey on wildlife (and get into fights)
- Provide toys and regular playtime so that your cat is well entertained and exercised and less likely to need to hunt
- For those cats that do hunt wildlife, a bell may be placed on their collar to help warn native wildlife about the cats’ presence. Another option is a special “cat bib” that can help to prevent wildlife being caught.
- Never abandon unwanted cats. It is unfair to leave them to fend for themselves and it is a threat to our wildlife.
- Unless you are a responsible cat breeder, always have a new cat desexed.