When Should Vaccinations Begin
Kittens from a healthy mother will have passive immunity to some feline diseases before and shortly after birth. Before birth, the mother’s antibodies cross the placenta and enter the kittens’ circulation. Immediately after birth, the mother produces colostrum, or first milk, which is also rich in maternal antibodies. These maternal antibodies protect the kittens against the diseases to which the mother is immune. This explains why it is often recommended to booster the mother’s vaccinations a few months prior to breeding.
“Although very protective, maternal antibodies last for only a few weeks after this time, the kitten becomes susceptible to disease.”
Although very protective, maternal antibodies last for only a few weeks after this time, the kitten becomes susceptible to disease. The kitten should receive its first vaccines at about six to eight weeks of age. In order to provide strong immunity, one to three booster vaccines will be required to complete the kitten vaccine series. Kittens should be vaccinated against feline panleukopenia, feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, feline leukemia , rabies, and possibly against Chlamydophila felis. Your veterinarian will discuss your individual cat’s needs at the time of the first visit for vaccinations. The specific vaccines and frequency of vaccination will be based on your cat’s lifestyle and its potential risk of contracting infection.
The Importance Of Your First Visit To The Vet
Its important to take your kitten to the vet soon after they come home with you. Its a great chance to learn more about their health and how to care for them. And its worth getting prepared so you get the most out of it and your kitten has a positive experience.
- What to do before your vet appointment
- Things to take to your first vet visit include:
- Information about your kittens diet and drinking habits.
- Whether youve noticed any changes in their appetite, digestion, or behavior.
- Details of any health issues, medications, supplements, or treatments.
- A list of things youd like to ask the vet.
- On the day
- Do a complete health check.
- Microchip your kitten so they can be easily identified.
- Prepare a vaccination schedule.
Make sure you have a sturdy carrier and help your kitten get used to it by encouraging them to play or sleep in it with a blanket that smells like you. Also make sure your kitten’s used to being handled so they’re more likely to be comfortable with the vet.
To help your kitten feel settled, speak to them in a soft voice and move slowly. Make sure the carrier doesnt shake and turn the front towards you and away from other animals.
Remember to share the information youve brought and ask plenty of questions so youre confident about caring for your kitten.
During this first appointment, you can expect your vet to:
New Kitten And Mother Cat Care
The first two to three weeks are the most crucial for a mother cat and her newborn kittens. The kittens should be developing rapidly, and if the mother is going to have any postpartum problems, it will happen during that period.
Let the mother cat set the pace for your attention. If she has been your pet for a while, she may welcome your visits. A rescued stray or fostered cat may prefer that you stay away. As long as the kittens are nursing frequently and appear to be thriving, they will be OK.
Keep the mother cat and her babies in a quiet part of the house a separate room is ideal. Make sure the room is warm enough as kittens are unable to regulate their body temperature when they are only a few days old. The mother cat can keep the babies warm, but if she leaves to eat or use a litter box, the kittens can get cold. Chilling is one of the most critical dangers to newborn kittens. Provide blankets, a heat lamp, or a heating pad to ensure the kittens stay warm.
Use a large enough box to comfortably hold the mother cat and her kittens. Stack clean towels to line it. The towels will become soiled quickly as the kittens defecate. It will be easiest to remove the top towel to reveal a clean layer.
Keep the mother cat’s litter box, food, and water bowls close by. Make sure you are feeding her a high-quality canned kitten food, supplemented with KMR . These specially formulated foods ensure that a nursing, postpartum mother cat gets the nutrients she needs.
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What Lab Tests Will Your Kitten Need
- Fecal analysis: You will probably be asked to bring a fecal sample from your kitten with you to your vet. The veterinary team will run tests using the fecal sample to check for parasites like intestinal worms, giardia, and other potential concerns. Your vet may administer a de-worming medication to your kitten at each visit since not all intestinal parasites show up on fecal tests and a large percentage of kittens have them. Many parasites can be passed on to people, so it is important to eliminate them from your kitten.
- Blood tests: The American Association of Feline Practitioners recommends testing for FeLV and FIV on all newly-adopted cats, regardless of age, and whether or not there are other cats in their new home. If your kitten is younger than nine weeks of age, your veterinarian may want to wait until it is at least nine weeks old before testing for FeLV and FIV since kittens less than nine weeks of age are more likely to show a false result. If other cats are in the home with your young kitten, it is recommended to keep them isolated until they have tested negative for FeLV and FIV in case your new kitten has a transmissible disease.
How Can I Tell If My Kitten Is Happy And Healthy
Happy and healthy kittens have fun and energetic behaviors. They’re curious and constantly playing. You don’t need a television anymore when you get a kitten, as they are so fun. It’s mostly about setting them up for correct boundaries in the household so that we can make sure that their behaviors are consistent with a happy life for everybody.
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What Do Kittens Eat Besides Milk
Once your kitten is about 3.5 to 4 weeks old, you can start weaning them off of the bottle. This is a gradual process that takes time and practice. The process usually looks something like this:
- Begin by offering your kitten formula on a spoon.
- Later, start offering your kitten formula in a saucer.
- Gradually add canned food to the kitten formula in the saucer.
- Increase the canned food in the saucer, adding less and less kitten formula.
If your kitten doesnât take to the spoon or the saucer right away, you can continue to offer the bottle.
As you progress through the weaning process, monitor your kitten and their stool to ensure that they digest everything well. If your kitten is doing well and isnât experiencing digestive issues , then you can gradually introduce more and more food.
At this stage, itâs also important to offer your kitten a bowl of fresh water to make sure that theyâre staying hydrated.
I Have Heard Of Milk Fever What Exactly Is It
Eclampsia or milk fever is caused by depletion of calcium circulating in the bloodstream of the queen and is due to heavy milk production. It generally occurs when the kittens are three to five weeks old and most often to mothers of large litters. Early signs include restlessness, panting, and loss of attention towards their kittens. It can progress to tremors, muscle spasms, and collapse. This condition can be fatal in thirty to sixty minutes, so your cat needs to see your veterinarian immediately. Prompt treatment with intravenous calcium will reverse the condition. If the queen develops milk fever, her kittens should be weaned as soon as possible.
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What Will A Veterinarian Look For During An Initial Kitten Care Visit
We always do a complete nose-to-tail exam, so we’re looking at every body system, listening to their hearts, looking in their ears, looking at their teeth, really trying to get a good overall picture of their health, but we’re also going to spend a lot of time talking. We want to know how your house is set up and what you expect in terms of your relationships with your cat.
Is this cat going to be kind of a couch ornament? Are you planning on doing training with your cat? Do you want to walk your cat on a leash? We want to do whatever we can to help get you the tools that you need to have a successful relationship, so on top of just doing the physical stuff, in terms of examination, we’ll talk about vaccines, those sorts of things. We want to know what’s important to you and your relationship with your cat so we can help you do that.
How To Put Kittens Up For Adoption
The ideal time to start placing kittens up for adoption is when they are 12 or 13 weeks old. By that age, they will be fully weaned. They will also have learned all of the social and behavioral skills that they need to know from their mother and littermates.
To keep the kittens healthy and make them more attractive to potential adopters, get them the shots that kittens their age need. A 12-week old kitten should get its first feline leukemia vaccine along with booster shots for calcivirus, panleukopenia, and rhinotracheitis. Your vet will advise you as to when you should get the kittens their first rabies vaccine.
When adopting out kittens, start by simply asking people you know if they are interested. You want to give the kittens to people you can trust to give them good homes. After exhausting the list of trustworthy relatives, friends, and coworkers, its time get help. Ask your vet or local animal shelter for their recommendations. Some shelters and vets will even help you find homes for your kittens.
Animal shelters always interview prospective adopters, and you should do the same thing if you are considering giving the kitten to somebody you dont know. Ideally, the adopter should be somebody who has had pets before.
Some experts recommend charging an adoption fee between $20 and $60. Such a fee will weed out people who arent truly committed to raising a kitten or kittens.
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How Much Biting And Scratching Is Normal Kitten Behavior
In general, kittens bite and scratch and get into any kind of trouble that they can. The kitten stage is really about learning how to be a cat in a wild-type situation. They’re learning how to catch and subdue prey. And a lot of that comes out as anything that’s fast-moving or super interesting they’re going to pounce on and try and hold, or even do that silly little bunny kick that they do with their back legs. Biting and scratching are normal. We just need to teach the kitten how we want them to interact with us throughout our life together. When these sorts of behaviors happen, we need to redirect them to something that we want them to do or avoid these situations overall in managing how we play with our cats.
Do Weaned Kittens Need A Special Diet
Diet is extremely important for a growing kitten. Many commercial foods have been specially formulated to meet the unique nutritional requirements of kittens, and should be fed until 12 months of age. Kitten foods are available in dry and canned formulations.
“Adult cat food does not provide the nutrition required for a kitten.”
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How Much Should A Newborn Kitten Weigh
Newborn kittens usually weigh about 3.5 ounces, depending on their breed and the litterâs size. A healthy kitten should gain at least 10 grams per day. If you donât see growth in their body size, this is often a sign of illness.
Itâs essential to track and write down your kittenâs weight and how much they’re eating every day. You can use a gram scale for accuracy in weighing animals this small. If your kitten isnât eating or growing as expected, contact your veterinarian right away.
How To Hold A Newborn Kitten
When lifting up a newborn kitten, use both your hands. Hold them from the chest and under their back legs to make sure they are fully supported. Be gentle. If they squirm, do not put them down this teaches them that squirming means they will be released. Instead, soothe them with your voice until they calm down.
In this article, we have explored the essentials of caring for a newborn kitten. With this advice and professional help from your vet, your kitten should grow up to be strong, loving and well-socialised cat.
Next, find out more about kitten vaccinations and how they work to keep your pet protected from a wide range of diseases.
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Caring For Newborn Kittens
Its a joy to watch a mother cat embrace her new role. Many do this without human intervention, but you might offer help by:
- Ensuring each kitten is latching on and swallowing milk
- Keeping the nursery warm, draft-free, and dry
- Offering fresh water and high-quality food
Its hard to resist touching or handling the kittens, but its important to let mama cat do her job. We recommend bringing her and the newborn kittens in to see us within a day of birth to make sure all is well. After that, kittens should be seen around 6 weeks old for their first official wellness visit.
What Should I Ask My Veterinarian In My First Kitten’s Appointment
I think it’s important that you know what to be feeding your kittens, how much water to expect them to drink, how to play with the kitten, how to pick up a kitten, when the next vaccines are due, why we’re giving the vaccines, and why its mportant to kjnow when to have your kitten spayed or neutered. Those things I think are good questions to ask your veterinarian.
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What To Expect At The First Vet Visit
Registration| You will, of course, have to fill out some paperwork on your cat and answer a few questions.
Questions| Some questions might be travel of your kitten , diet , where they live , medications, etc.
Exam| They will check your kitten over, including checking heart, temperature, etc. The vet will look in your cats mouth and at their teeth to ensure they look good. Doing a thorough check is great for your kitten. If your cat needs any vaccinations they will do this at that time.
If you have any questions feel free to ask. They might recommend a special food or treats to give your kitten for optimal nutrition. You will also get some guidelines on when to take a kitten to the vet for any other reasons than this first visit.
Taking your kitten in for their first vet checkup is pretty easy and doesnt take that long. It might take longer to get your paperwork filled out and wait to be seen.
What is your favorite part of getting a new kitten? I love their breath!
Is The Mother Present
The first question you need to consider when caring for a newborn kitten is whether the mother is present. If she is, then there is less that you will need to do. Most cats know instinctively how to raise their young and will do all the necessary actions at all the right stages in the kittens life. It is your job to simply make sure they are warm, safe and protected.
But if you have found a newborn kitten that doesnt seem to have a mother, you will need to take on all her duties. If this is a stray kitten, do make sure the mother is not coming back before taking the kitten in. If you are not careful, you could separate the mother from her young.
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Keep Them Clean And Dry
In addition to keeping kittens warm, the mother also spends a significant amount of time keeping them clean. You will need to take on this role by cleaning the kittens after each meal. This is important not only for their health, but also for socialization and for the kittens to learn how to groom themselves as they get older. To clean the kittens, use a slightly damp, warm washcloth and gently rub them all over. Use short strokes similar to a mother cat grooming with her tongue. Make sure each kitten is clean and fully dry before returning it to the enclosure with its litter mates.
Kittens under 3 weeks of age will also need to be stimulated to urinate and defecate. To do this, simply use a cotton ball dipped in warm water and gently rub the kittens lower abdomen, rectum, and genitals. This should stimulate the kitten to urinate every time. Kittens should also defecate at least once a day with stimulation. Kittens under three weeks of age should be stimulated to urinate and defecate before and after every meal. At three weeks of age, kittens will begin to urinate and defecate on their own and will no longer need stimulation. At this point, you can place a small litter box with non-clumping litter in the kitten enclosure for the kittens to explore.