Once you welcome a new kitten into your home, there are several proactive steps that you can take to keep her healthy throughout her life. The following facts about cats and their health care is the quick course in kittens 101 that every cat owner will find helpful.
Kittens 101 – Kitten Care
If you do not already have a trusted veterinarian for another pet’s health care needs, ask your friends and neighbors who adore their pets for recommendations. You should also familiarize yourself with the location of the nearest veterinary emergency hospital in case you cat ever needs urgent care during holiday, weekend or overnight hours.
Kitten proof your home to minimize potential dangers. Crawl throughout your home and seek out hazards from a kitten’s eye level. Pick up all small objects, including strings, and cover all electrical cords with protective covers to prevent shock from chewing. Relocate poisonous plants away from the cat’s reach, and remember that cats can jump and scale tall furniture. Remove all breakable objects. Secure all household chemicals out of her reach. Make sure that window screens are securely in place, and confirm that doors to utility areas, especially laundry rooms, latch securely when closed.
Purchase a litter box and litter for your new cat. There should be one litter box per cat in every household. The litter box should be placed where she will have easy access to it. It should also be located in an area away from noisy appliances, boilers and high traffic areas of the home.Learn more about litter training a kitten here.
Soon after your bring home your new kitten or cat, bring her to the veterinarian. He will examine your new feline friend and analyze a stool sample to check for intestinal parasites, which are common in kittens and easily treated. He may also draw a small amount of blood to perform a test for feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency virus, two viral illnesses that must be properly addressed. The veterinarian will then offer helpful cat care tips and recommend a vaccination schedule for your cat. She will receive a series of a combination vaccine, which includes protection against rhinotracheitis, calici virus and panleukopenia. She will be inoculated with this vaccine once every four weeks until she is 16 weeks old, at which time she will also receive her rabies vaccine. Other vaccines, such as the feline leukemia vaccine, may also be recommended based upon her lifestyle.
Kittens 101 – Kitten Food
Feed your kitten a premium quality food that is specifically formulated for growing kittens. At 10 to 12 months of age, you may begin to wean your cat to an adult food. Make the transition slowly by gradually increasing the amount of new food and decreasing the amount of old food. This should take a full week in order to prevent gastrointestinal upset.
Kittens 101 – Kitten Safety
There are a number of reasons why kittens should be housed strictly indoors when living in a big city to maximize their lifespan. Keep kittens indoors until they are at least 13 to 14 weeks old. Listed are some reasons to keep your cat indoors:
- Indoor cats will not fall victim to being struck by vehicles.
- Indoor cats will not come home with the bite wounds, abscesses and viral diseases that result from fighting.
- Indoor cats will not be tortured or poisoned by human beings.
- Indoor cats have minimal exposure to fleas, ticks and intestinal parasites.
Protect Kittens From Pests
Even indoor cats can be minimally exposed to fleas, ticks, mosquitoes and intestinal parasites. Mosquitoes, which transmit heartworm disease, can get into your home through an opened door. Fleas and ticks can ride into your home on your clothing, and early stages of intestinal parasites can be tracked indoors on your shoes. Protect your cat from the perils that these parasites cause by asking your veterinarian about safe and effective preventative products. Most of them are administered once each month. The treatment for fatal heartworm disease in cats is extremely dangerous, so prevention is essential. Heartworm preventatives also offer additional protection against some of the common intestinal parasites, such as roundworms. Flea control products offer your cat several benefits:
- Flea infestations cause anemia.
- Flea infestations make a cat itchy and miserable.
- Your cat can develop tapeworms if she ingests fleas while grooming.
- One bite from a single flea can set off an unbearable skin allergy, called flea allergy dermatitis, in some cats.
Always use preventative products that are prescribed by your veterinarian specifically for your cat. Many products that are sold in retail stores are not safe for use in kittens. Never, ever apply any dog products on your cat under any circumstances. Some ingredients that are used in flea and tick control products for dogs are highly toxic to cats, and the results will be devastating.
Cats may technically be seniors at seven, but if you follow these tips and facts about cats, she may very well live into her late teens and possibly even longer. The two of you have a lifetime of companionship together, so make them happy and healthy for years to come.