Kitten First Vaccinations and Veterinarian Visit
Such an Alive and Curious Kitten!
Caring for My Cute, New Kitten
Baby animals - the Supreme Being made them all pretty danged cute.
We humans who are lucky enough to have them in the family may look into those big eyes and half-wish that our pet puppy or kitten would never grow up.
But, grow up they do, and it is our job as the “quasi-parent” to care for them and prepare them for their future. Naturally, health care is a major chunk of this care.
When Should the First Veterinarian Visit Occur?
If your kitten is presumed to be healthy, she should not visit the vet until she is weaned – usually at age 6 to 8 weeks.
In contrast, if the little dear has an observable problem before that age, call your vet’s office for guidance.
What Information Should You Provide Your Vet?
The veterinarian will want to know
- the kitten’s date of birth or approximate date if that is the best you can do.
- if it was born to an indoor or outdoor cat, and how you came to be its caregiver
- if you have health information about its mother or other animals it contacted, volunteer that.
The back story for one of my cats was important for our veterinarian to know.
A neighbor friend took in the entire litter born in to a feral cat who chose his azalea bush as her birthing spot. He lovingly cared for the mother cat and her brood until they kittens were weaned. (And happily got them litter box trained on his watch.)
I adopted one of the kittens - the most adorable one, of course!
Before I let the new kitten anywhere near my established cat, I took the little newbie for a complete exam. Happily, he was negative for any contagious feline diseases. However, it was not at all surprising that he had fleas and worms, given his mom was feral.
So, it is important to tell your veterinarian if other kittens in the litter have diarrhea, fleas, or any known problems. Also, share the “untreated” status of the mother and any of her health problems that you know about.
First Tests for a Kitten
In the case above, the vet will probably recommend performing a blood test for feline leukemia and feline AIDS. Both are very serious and also very contagious to other cats. Of course, you do not want to put any other pets you have at risk for these diseases. A nice feature of this blood test is that it can be done at the beginning of the vet visit and read in about 15 minutes.
Also, you may have been asked to bring in a stool sample of the kitten to be checked for worms. In the case of unknown background of the mother cat, this is a good idea. The worm test also can be completed before the end of the office visit.
In addition to laboratory tests, the veterinarian will listen to your kitten’s heart and lungs and perform an exam.
At the tender age of 6 weeks, a kitten is too young to have any flea treatment. Also, if it will be an exclusively- indoors cat, the rabies vaccination is not given at this visit.
However, a set of injections will be scheduled with the first of the series starting at age 6 to 8 weeks. It is called the FVRCP vaccine. It combats the following viruses:
FVR = Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis
Rhinotracheitis is a severe upper respiratory infection caused by a herpes virus. This virus can be very severe for kittens and can cause blindness or death.
C = Calicivirus Infection
This virus can cause pneumonia, “pink eye,” and other problems. The virus can survive eight to ten days on a bowl, cage, brush, or blanket. Sadly for us and our kitties, carrier cats can pass the virus into the environment for up to one year.
P = Panleukopenia (also known as distemper and feline enteritis)
This disease is a quickly progressing, highly contagious one with a high mortality rate.
As with a new human baby, be prepared for your kitten to want to sleep more than usual after the vaccination as its body assimilates the medicine.
This is not standard procedure for a new kitten, but it can be done if needed.
Kitten in His Basket
More First Visit Agenda Items
The veterinarian will probably advise you on what foods to give and for how long. Also, he or she will discuss the timing of spaying or neutering your kitten. If you desire to have your kitten declawed, that will be done in the future, not on the first visit.
A Kitten Who Can Fit in Your hand
Enjoy your new family member and take good care of him or her.
She will reward a thousand fold with unconditional cat-love. (And take plenty of photos!)
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
© 2012 Maren Elizabeth Morgan