Introducing a new kitten
Introduce your kitten to the household gradually-it can be an overwhelming experience for a young kitten, especially if you have other pets and young children. Initially, we suggest you place your kitten in a room or cage/pen, with a warm bed, litter tray, food and water bowls, and allow him or her to become accustomed to their surroundings.
A Feliway Diffuser can help reduce stress during this period of change. Introduce your kitten gradually to the rest of the household. If you have other pets in the house it can help to swap their bedding over for a day or so prior to introducing them to allow them to get used to each others scent. A pen or cage can also be useful to introduce your kitten safely to other pets-we advise you do not leave them together unattended until your new kitten is well established.
Cats are naturally clean and kittens are often taught by their mother to use a litter tray at a very early age. If possible, try and supply your kitten with a cat litter it is used to and place the litter tray in a quiet area away from food and water bowls.
Ensure the tray is cleaned regularly-cats can be very fussy about re-using a used litter tray! Confining your kitten to a cage or small room can help with initial litter training-it is not unusual for previously litter-trained kittens to forget their toilet training when introduced to a larger and more stimulating environment. Please contact us if you are having difficulty with litter training or if you see abnormal stools or urine.
Vaccinations are available against Cat Flu and Enteritis , and Feline Leukaemia Virus, all of which can cause fatal illness, especially in young kittens. Vaccination against Flu and Enteritis is recommended for all cats and is a requirement for admission to a cattery.
Feline Leukaemia vaccination is recommended for all cats which go outside or share food bowls with other cats. Rarely, kittens may be infected with Feline Leukaemia Virus at birth. In this case vaccination will not protect against disease. If your kitten is unwell or comes from a high risk area (generally either an area with known Leukaemia Virus infection or where there are large numbers of unvaccinated cats) , a blood test is available to check for infection prior to vaccination.
Kittens require two vaccinations initially to fully stimulate the immune system. It is important to complete the course to give optimum protection. The first vaccine is generally given at 9 weeks of age with the second dose 3-4 weeks later. Kittens can go out a week after the second vaccination, although many owners prefer to keep their kitten indoors until neutering.
Kittens are very susceptible to parasites as their immune system is less well-developed. Roundworms are especially common and are zoonotic, which means they can cause disease in people, particularly young children.
Kittens may also carry tapeworm, most commonly picked up through grooming and ingesting fleas, but also, in older or feral kittens, by hunting. Fleas and ear mites (which cause accumulation of dark wax and irritation of the ears) are also common.
As a routine, we suggest treatment with Stronghold drops (which covers fleas, ear mites and roundworm) at around the time of first vaccination, plus treatment with a Milbemax tablet (which covers tapeworm) at around the time of second vaccination. Thereafter , monthly Stronghold and three-monthly Milbemax treatments are generally required, although we may suggest an alternative regimen depending on the presence and risk of parasites. Please discuss this with your Vet.
Neutering in both males and females, is performed as a day procedure under general anaesthetic. We recommend neutering at 5-6 months of age to prevent unwanted litters. Neutering also reduces the risk of straying, road traffic accidents, fighting, and infection with Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (also known as Cat Aids Virus).
A microchip can be implanted through a wide-bore needle at any time after 2nd vaccination, although it often performed under general anaesthetic at the time of neutering. The chip holds a unique number which, once you have registered your details on the Database, means that you can be contacted if your cat is picked up as a stray, or in the event of an accident