Your kitten requires a series of injections to protect him or her from potentially fatal viral and bacterial diseases – particularly cat flu and feline enteritis. They need the three boosters because maternal antibodies interfere with their response to vaccination, and these antibodies wane at different rates in different kittens. We recommend vaccinating against feline leukaemia virus at the 2nd and 3rd vaccinations.
|6-8 weeks||F3 (Herpesvirus, Calicivirus, Feline Enteritis Virus)|
After the 3rd vaccination, ongoing vaccination is recommended once a year at your cat’s annual health check.
Worms can kill kittens, and are transmissible to humans, especially children. Cats become infected with Roundworms when they consume infected worm eggs from soil in the environment (generally through normal grooming), nurse from an infected mother, or consume a prey animal (usually rodent) that is carrying developing worms. Other intestinal worms include whipworm, tapeworm and hookworm.
Anti-parasitic medications for kittens and annual faecal exams for adult cats can reduce environmental contamination and the risk of human infection.
We recommend worming every 2 weeks until 12 weeks of age, then monthly until 6 months, then every 3 months. However, if your cat is on Revolution for fleas, you do not need worming tablets.
Microchipping and Registration
Microchipping is a mandatory, permanent form of identification. It is a small implant that is inserted under the skin into the scruff (back of the neck) and can be carried out at any age.
All kittens, and rehomed cats, need to be microchipped and lifetime registered with your local council. Mosman Veterinary Hospital is an Australian Veterinary Association accredited microchipping centre. Kittens must be registered before 6 months of age.
All other cats need to be identified either by a microchip, or collar and tag, but registration with council is not compulsory.
Heartworm disease is more common in dogs, but cats can become infected if bitten by a mosquito carrying the immature heartworm. Signs of infection vary, and include sudden death. Revolution is a monthly topspot preparation that prevents heartworm, kills fleas, flea larvae and flea eggs, kills ear mites, and controls roundworm and hookworm. It is a very good parasite control product for cats.
Males and females can be desexed from 8 weeks of age. This is a simple procedure that involves removing the testicles (in a male) and the ovaries and uterus (in a female). The operation can be performed any weekday, and cats go home the same day.
Females can come onto heat from 6 months of age, and males tend to start spraying and other territorial behaviour from about this age. Desexing can help with these behavioural issues, and will certainly curb the risk of any unwanted pregnancies.
Desexing also has many medical benefits such as the reduction of certain tumours and infections.
Your kitten has entirely different nutritional needs from dogs and from humans, and benefit the most from a balanced high quality diet such as Eukanuba, Advance, or Hills Science Diet. Encourage your kitten to chew on raw chicken wings and necks to keep his/her teeth clean. Older cats that have not been trained to eat chicken bones often refuse them.
Many cats are unable to tolerate the lactose in milk and will develop diarrhoea. If they are on a good quality kitten diet, they do not require any other supplements. A fresh bowl of water every day is advisable.
Fleas are the most common external parasite infection for cats. While fleas cannot thrive on humans, their bites can cause itching and inflammation. Cats may become infected with tapeworms when fleas are ingested while grooming. Checking their faeces for worms and proper flea treatment (especially if there is a dog in the house) is essential.
Flea control can start from a young age, with many options available. Revolution has been mentioned above, and is a safe way to protect against a wide range of internal and external parasites. Program injection is a 6 monthly injection that breaks the flea lifecycle, and Advantage and Frontline are effective and safe topspot preparations.
Remember to apply the topspot very high on the back of the cat’s neck, as they are very flexible, and they should not lick the area when grooming.
Cats often remove paralysis ticks when grooming, before they cause signs of paralysis, but are often found between the shoulder blades where cats can’t reach, or on longhaired cats, especially if knotty or matted. Frontline spray used every 3 weeks helps to control ticks, although there is no substitute for daily searching during the tick season and this extends from September to February.
Ongoing Health Checks
It is advised that you take your cat into the vet for a full physical examination and booster vaccination once a year. Medical care will be based on the age, as well as the physical and mental condition of your cat.
Symptoms of Illness
These are some of the signs that your cat is not feeling well so you should call your vet:
- Continual diarrhoea
- Continual vomiting
- Not eating or drinking
- Lethargy – reduction in their level of activity or play
- Lack of interest in grooming
- Loss of color in gums
- Loss of elasticity in fur
- Straining in their litter box
- Sudden change in behaviour
In Case of Emergency
Make sure you have the following phone numbers in an easily visible and accessible place:
- The name, number and address of your vet. If you are on holidays, call before you leave to authorise treatment and payment in case something happens while you are gone.
- The name, number and address of the closest emergency vet (24 hour).