At some point in time, most of us have had the pleasure of bringing home a new kitten. For the most part, it tends to be an exciting and happy occasion, but the key to that excitement and happiness is making sure that you have done your homework and are prepared for the event. Once the kitten is home and adjusting to its new surroundings (as well as the family adjusting to the kitten), there will no doubt be questions that arise regarding the care of your new pet.
For the purposes of covering the bases properly, we have focused on the six most frequently asked questions regarding having a new kitten in the home. This first article focuses on the following FAQ’s:
Is it necessary to have my kitten vaccinated every few weeks as they are growing?
My kitten’s fecal samples are negative (clear), so why do I need to keep paying to have them dewormed?
Is it necessary to have my kitten vaccinated every few weeks as they are growing? My suggestion here is that you rely on the information that you will find at the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP). The AAFP differentiates between two categories of vaccines – specifically, “Core” and “Non-Core” vaccinations. The Core vaccinations include the following:
• Rabies – Check to see if your state or county requires this as most states do. This vaccine is typically administered when the kitten is 3-4 months old.
• Distemper (aka panleukopenia) and upper respiratory viruses (e.g., calicivirus and herpesvirus) – These vaccinations are normally administered as a series and given to the kitten every few weeks until they are between the ages of 12-16 weeks.
• Feline leukemia (aka FeLV) – The FeLV is a critical vaccination for your kitten if they are going to be going outdoors with any regularity and could possibly come into contact with an infected cat or a cat whose health status is unknown.
My kitten’s fecal samples are negative (clear), so why do I need to keep paying to have them dewormed? The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that your kitten be dewormed beginning at three weeks of age, and done several times despite negative fecal samples. Hookworms and roundworms have the tendency to infect your kitten through the mother cat’s milk. Additionally, the environment is a breeding ground for contaminants as well and can also make your kitten quite sick. The typical signs of infection are diarrhea and vomiting.
Several weeks can pass once your kitten has been infected before the worms mature in your kitten’s intestinal tract. Fecal tests conducted by the veterinarian look for eggs that are passed from the adult worms. The tests can also be negative even when the infection is already present. This is the main reason to deworm your kitten more than once – to ensure that worms are no longer present.
In the next article, we will focus on the topics of grooming routines for you kitten as well as their energy levels.
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