Caring For Your New Kitten

The following information will help you with all the necessary health care your new kitten will require, including vaccination, worming, flea and tick control, nutrition, desexing and microchipping.

Vaccinations for your catVaccination

We recommend vaccinations to help safeguard your pet from potentially serious and sometimes fatal diseases. Cats can be vaccinated against the following:

Feline Enteritis (Panleukopaenia)
This is one of the most dangerous infectious diseases of cats and kittens. It is highly contagious and a fatal viral disease caused by feline parvovirus. The virus is shed in the faeces of an infected cat, and is easily spread on food bowls, bedding, shoes and clothing. It is a disease most common to young cats and kittens and signs include a high fever, depression, loss of appetite, uncontrollable vomiting, diarrhoea with blood and severe abdominal pain. Pregnant cats that are infected may abort or give birth to kittens with severe brain damage. The disease is not as common as it used to be due to highly effective vaccines now available.

Feline Respiratory Disease (cat flu)
Cat flu is caused by a number of viruses and bacteria, although the majority of cases are due to 2 viruses – feline calicivirus or feline herpesvirus. These two viruses affect cats of all ages and are spread by sneezing, coughing, food bowls and bedding or direct contact with another cat. The common signs of the disease are coughing and sneezing, a fever, discharge from the eyes and nose, ulcers on the tongue and eyes and a loss of appetite. After recovery, which may be up to three weeks, the cat may be a carrier of the virus and infect other cats for months or even years.

Vaccination program:
Your kitten will require a course of vaccinations:
6-8 weeks first temporary vaccination with F3
12 weeks second booster vaccination with F3
16 weeks third and final vaccination with F3
Then yearly vaccinations

F3 vaccination protects against – Feline enteritis and Feline respiratory disease (Calicivirus and Feline Herpesvirus)

Kittens need wormingWorming

The most common 4 worms that affect Cats in Australia are Roundworms, Hookworms, Whipworms and Tapeworms. Worms are a common cause of ill health in pets and can cause growth disorders, anaemia, vomiting, diarrhoea or in severe cases death.
Kittens should be wormed every 2 weeks until 12 weeks of age, then once a month until 6 months of age. After this they should be wormed every 3 months for life. Tablets that cover all these worms are available over the counter. Just ask our Nurses or Vets for advice.

Flea and Tick Prevention

The tick season in Ulladulla is generally from July to January, but we do get ticks here all year round! Fleas are more prevalent in the summer months but can be a year round problem if they become established inside the house. The most common cause for failures of flea control products is missing the monthly application, stopping use over winter or not using products on all the animals in the household.
Prevention of ticks is difficult for cats and no products are 100% effective, so daily tick searches are recommended in conjunction with frontline spray.
FRONTLINE SPRAY – Can be used as early 2 days old. It needs to be reapplied every 3 weeks for tick control and every 8 weeks for fleas
FRONTLINE TOP SPOT – Can be applied after 8 weeks of age. Needs to be reapplied every 4 weeks for fleas. Does not carry any manufacturers claim against the Paralysis tick. It may help for ticks but do not depend on it.
ADVANTAGE -Treats fleas but not ticks. Can be used from 6 weeks of age.
PROBAN TABLETS – Can be given after 3 months of age. For flea control a quarter of a tablet for 5kg twice a week. For healthy animals only.
REVOLUTION – Can be used after 6 weeks of age. This product treats fleas, heartworm, ear mites and mange but not ticks.
PROGRAM INJECTION – Can be administered to kittens from 16 weeks of age. They help control fleas, however all cats in household need to be on the injection and any dogs must be on program tablets or sentinel tablets for effective control of fleas. Not for ticks.
CAPSTAR – Can be used in kittens from 4 weeks old. These will kill ALL fleas on the kitten for a period of 24 hours. It has no effect on ticks.
FLEA BOMBS – Are invaluable in reducing the flea population inside the house.

Cat nutritionNutrition

A balance and complete diet is essential for the development of a healthy and happy cat. Kittens and adult cats require a diet made up of meat proteins, vegetables and small amounts of cereals to obtain all these essential nutrients. The diet should have physical qualities (texture, abrasiveness) that will help control plaque and maintain oral health.
Kitten’s energy and nutritional requirements will vary with size and age. As your kitten develops into an adult, its requirements will alter from kitten/growth to adult maintenance varieties. We recommend Royal Canin food as our preferred premium cat food. They use the best quality raw materials in their products and provide all the nutrition requirements for your pet. As a bonus the food is extremely tasty (…..for your pets, that is!). There is food specific for all shapes, sizes and ages of cats. We offer a rewards program with this food. After 10 bags are purchased we will give your 11th bag of the same size free! Although these “premium” cat foods may sometimes seem more expensive per bag, they use high quality products. Therefore less needs to be fed and can sometimes work out to cost less than $1 a day. The benefits will be seen in your cat’s overall general health, teeth, skin and coat condition.
Those who remain unconvinced of the advantages of commercially prepared food and prefer to do a home-prepared diet please consult the veterinarians for advise.
Try not to change your kitten’s diet suddenly as this may cause stomach upsets. It is best to always change food slowly over a few days mixing with the old food. Clean water must be provided at all times. Cow’s milk is not necessary may cause diarrhoea in those kittens that are lactose intolerant.

Desexing

We certainly recommend it. Here are some of the advantages of having your cat desexed, which may help you in your decision:

  1. Desexing your catDesexing avoids unwanted litters of kittens.
  2. Desexing the cat prevents oestrus as well as breeding. Desexing prevents your cat coming into season, which can be every three weeks at times. There appears to be a general misconception that having a litter will improve temperament. There is no scientific evidence to support this theory, however is has been proven that neutering in the cat will prevent certain diseases from occurring.
  3. A male cat is dominated by his sex drive, so he will wander in search of female cats that are in season. When a male cat wanders, he invariably crosses other cats’ territory that can often lead to vicious fighting, nasty fight wounds, and abscesses. A female cat is capable of being served by more than one male during her season, which results in many toms searching and fighting for the one female.
  4. Once your cat no longer has sexual urges, they will prefer to stay close to their own territory and be less inclined to wander, therefore decreasing the incidence of cat fights and accidents
  5. A male cat will mark his territory by urinating (spraying). Castration will decrease the frequency of this behaviour.
  6. Desexed females no longer have that irresistible attraction to males, who will urinate in the female’s territory to claim ownership of her, fight any other contenders for her affection and “catcall” under her window

Will they become fat?
Not necessarily, after desexing an animal’s metabolism may slow down and they may put on a little weight, but if you watch their diets and encourage exercise, obesity can be avoided. It is as easy as just feeding them less!!
At what age should they be desexed?
We recommend desexing at 6 months of age, although the operation can be carried out at any time.  This is the age when the animal is reaching sexual maturity but before they come on heat.

Micro-chip your catMicrochipping

Microchipping is a permanent form of identification in the form of a tiny chip. The chip is about the size of a grain of rice and contains a 15-digit identification number that is quickly implanted under your pet’s skin between the shoulder blades. When the microchip is scanned a number is revealed which is used to assess information about the owner and the animal from the Companion Animals Register. By law, all puppies and dogs, kittens and cats (including those sold or given away) must be microchipped by 12 weeks of age or at point of sale/given away, which ever occurs first. Once your pet is microchipped you will then be required to obtain a lifetime registration by 6 months of age at one of the Council’s administrative offices. The registration is a one off payment and is for the life of your pet.

We will be happy to discuss with you any aspect of your pet’s health so please do not hesitate to drop in or give us a call!