Kitten Vaccination

Vaccination will stimulate your kitten's immune system to generate a protective response to several serious diseases including feline leukaemia virus and feline infectious enteritis. For the vaccine to be effective, two injections are needed, the second 3-4 weeks after the first. The earliest a kitten can be vaccinated is 8 weeks of age but the second must be carried out at 12 weeks of age or older. We recommend kittens should be vaccinated at 9 and 12 weeks of age. The vaccination takes a further 3 weeks to provide full protection; however, we would suggest keeping your kitten indoors until after neutering to prevent unwanted breeding. An annual booster will be required to keep your cat protected. Your kitten may be a little sleepy after their vaccine and you may notice a small lump at the site of the injection. This should resolve in 24-48 hours. Although adverse reactions to the vaccine are very rare, should your kitten become unwell after their vaccine, please let us know. One very rare side effect after vaccination is the development of an injection site sarcoma; this is a tumour that develops as a result of the inflammatory reaction following vaccination. It is estimated there are 0.04 cases of injection site sarcoma for every 10,000 vaccines administered therefore the risk of developing an injection site sarcoma is far less than the risk associated with not vaccinating at all.

Kitten Worming

Kittens can be infected with worms after eating worm eggs or drinking larvae from their mother's milk. It is important to worm kittens for several reasons. Worms can cause damage to the lining of the kitten's gut, resulting in poor absorption of nutrients from their diet, which may result in diarrhoea and poor weight gain. Some worms can also infect humans, especially children, which can result in blindness. We recommend worming kittens every month until they are 6 months old. After 6 months the frequency of worming depends on the product being used, however it is recommended that adult cats are wormed a minimum of every 3 months depending on whether they hunt and if they have fleas. It may be tempting to use products from pet shops. Although these products may be cheaper, they are not effective compared with products available from the practice and do not kill the full range of worms.

Kitten Neutering

Neutering is the surgical removal of the reproductive organs; in females, this involves removing the ovaries and uterus (spaying), and in males, the testicles are removed (castration), which prevents reproduction. We recommend neutering from 5 months old. Neutering should not affect the personality of your pet.

Females: will prevent seasons, which occur approximately every 3 weeks, when they will call. This can be very noisy. Spaying also reduces the risk of mammary cancer and pyometra (womb infection). There are no additional health benefits for a cat to have a litter before spaying. 

Males: entire male cats are more likely to roam in search of possible mates putting them at increased risk of being run over and getting into fights with other cats. Serious infections can be transmitted though cat bites including feline immunodeficiency virus (feline AIDS).

It is a common belief that neutering causes pets to become overweight. Instead neutering reduces the amount of food required due to changes in metabolism. After neutering, regular weighing is recommended and alterations to diet as required.

Kitten Flea Control

Fleas can be picked up at any time from other animals or visiting areas where fleas are breeding. They bite and feed on blood and can also transmit infections, for example tapeworms. You may see flea dirt as a brown fleck in your kitten's coat which turns red when they are placed on damp cotton wool. We recommend Advocate®, a monthly spot-on which also protects against some worms.  Again, it may be tempting to use pet shop flea treatments; however, these are not as effective compared to products available from vets.

Kitten Microchipping

A microchip is a small device (the size of a grain of rice), which is implanted under the skin in the scruff of the neck. Each microchip has an individual number (detectable when scanned), which can be used to trace your pet back to you if they are lost. Microchipping can be carried out from the second vaccination onwards. Some owners opt to microchip their kitten at the same time as neutering when they are asleep.

Kitten Insurance

Insuring your kitten will help to cover the cost of veterinary treatment should they need it. There are several considerations when deciding the best policy for you. Lifetime policies will cover a condition for the life of your pet, whereas a 12 month policy will cover a condition for the length of the policy and will then exclude that condition when the policy is up for renewal. Also consider the maximum amount covered per condition. If this is a low amount, it may not cover the whole cost of some treatments. Ensure you read all the small-print and exclusions of all policies you are interested in to make sure it is the correct policy for you. 

Kitten Diet

Kittens have small stomachs meaning they need feeding little and often; 3-4 meals is adequate. Feed the diet your kitten is used to at first. If you decide to change your kitten's diet, do so gradually over 7 days to avoid sudden changes. It is important to feed kitten food as kittens require a different balance of nutrients to support them as they grow. The quantity required by your kitten is dependent on the diet, therefore you should check with the manufacturer's guidelines. Do not feed cow's milk to your kitten as it may cause diarrhoea. Ensure fresh water is available at all times.