While kittens can be a lot of work, they are also a lot of fun. To help keep your kitten healthy and happy, regular health checks, vaccinations, worming and flea treatment from your vet clinic are very important.

Vaccinations

To give your kitten protection against cat diseases (Calicivirus, Rhinotracheitis, Panleukopaenia) your kitten must receive the full course of vaccinations. This will involve either two or three vaccinations, each given three to four weeks apart. The first vaccination should be given at approx 6 to 8 weeks of age. Kittens need to have all of these vaccinations in order to have the best possible protection against these viruses. Yearly boosters are required to keep your cat’s immunity levels up.

Vaccination against Chlamydia and Feline Leukaemia Virus is also possible.

Unfortunately vaccinations do not guarantee an animal will not become sick from these diseases, but while unvaccinated animals can become severely ill or die, cats that are up to date with their vaccinations will usually recover much more quickly.

Worm treatment

Roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms and whipworms are parasites that live in the intestinal tract of all cats. These worms can cause gut upsets, diarrhoea, and weight loss. Kittens can become infected from their mothers and their environment. Not all worming products kill all the different types of worms – we recommend using products such as Drontal. Cats should be wormed:

  • Every 2 weeks until 12 weeks old
  • Every month from 12 weeks to 6 months old
  • Every 3 months after 6 months old

If you have trouble giving your cat tablets please ask our staff for a demonstration. Some cats will happily eat tablets if they are hidden in a favourite food e.g. meat or cheese. If your cat won’t eat a whole tablet at once, it is better to break up tablets rather than crush them, as some tablets can taste bitter. If you give your cat tablets this way, only give your cat a small amount of the food until the tablet is eaten – otherwise they may eat around the tablet and be too full to eat the tablet itself!

Kittens can also carry Toxoplasma gondii parasites. Pregnant women should not handle cat faeces as this parasite can infect unborn children.

Flea treatment

All animals have fleas – even though you may not be able to see them! Fleas can be picked up from the environment. Fleas carry tapeworms and other diseases and can transmit these to your cat. Flea collars and powders are generally not very effective. We recommend products such as Advantage, Revolution or Frontline.

Diet

Kittens have different dietary requirements to older cats. Kittens should be fed a good quality kitten diet e.g. Eukanuba, Advance, Science Diet. It is important that your kitten’s diet is complete and balanced for their stage of life – check the package for AAFCO or similar claims. If your kitten’s food is complete and balanced you do not need to feed supplements – in fact these can be bad for your kitten’s health. Kitten foods should be fed until your kitten is at least six months old.

Socialisation and Behaviour

The best time for socialising kittens is between 6 and 12 weeks of age. During this time kittens should be exposed to lots of different experiences – especially children, babies, and other animals. You must always supervise these interactions until you feel that all animals and people are comfortable with the situation. It is important that you teach your kitten not to bite or jump up on people – even when playing. Try to provide toys for your kitten to bite instead.

Toilet training

Most kittens know how to use a litter tray if one is provided. Make sure the litter tray is accessible and the litter is changed daily – cats don’t like to use dirty litter. If the kitten is still toileting in an inappropriate place, try feeding the kitten in that spot as cats don’t like to go to the toilet where they eat. Confining your kitten to the room that contains the litter tray may also help encourage your cat to use it.

De-sexing

If you are not planning to breed from your cat it is a good idea to get females speyed and males castrated. Cats should be de-sexed at 5-6 months of age. This prevents unwanted pregnancies and potentially fatal uterine infections, reduces the risk of certain types of cancer, and can help reduce undesirable behaviours such as roaming, spraying and aggression.