When does my kitten need to be vaccinated?
Your kitten can be vaccinated from 9 weeks old. He/she needs to have 2 vaccinations at least 3 weeks apart. The second vaccine can be given at 12 weeks of age. Until your kitten has finished its primary vaccination course it is important that it doesn’t mix with other cats that are not vaccinated; this usually means keeping your kitten indoors for the first few weeks. It is also important to vaccinate annually as immunity wanes 12 months after vaccination.
What diseases does the vaccine protect him/her from?
The standard kitten vaccination course includes a three-in-one vaccine against the two main viruses that cause ‘cat flu’; these are a herpes virus and a calicivirus. The third component of the vaccination protects against feline parvovirus infection. A relatively new vaccination again feline leukaemia virus is available also and is recommended for all kittens along with the three-in-one injection. Cat flu and feline leukaemia are the most commonly seen diseases in Ireland and both can cause serious long term illness and often death.
How often should I worm my kitten?
The worming protocol practised by our Veterinary Clinics is as follows:
Worm every 2 weeks until 3 months old
Worm every 4 weeks until 6 months old
Worm every 3 months for life.
We recommend using an oral worming dose, i.e. a tablet or powder. Remember as your kitten grows so too will his worming dose. Make sure to weigh him regularly.
What worms can my kitten get?
Cats most commonly are infected with roundworms, tapeworms and less frequently lungworms. Roundworms are more common in kittens and can cause a potbelly, vomiting/diarrhoea and weight loss. All kittens are born with roundworms as they are passed through their mothers milk. Tapeworms can affect a cat at any stage in life and can be related to flea infestations. Both roundworms and tapeworms pose a risk to human health.
What should I feed my kitten?
Your kitten should be fed a complete dry kitten food and water. You can also add some good quality wet food (tins or pouches) on occasion but dry food is much better overall for teeth and digestion. When kittens are weaned from their mother they no longer need milk and feeding a kitten cows milk often results in diarrhoea; as a treat special lactose free cat milk is available. It is important to change from kitten food to an adult food once your kitten has finished growing- at this stage they no longer need the increased calories in kitten food. Of course occasional treats are allowed – in moderation!
Should I treat my kitten for fleas?
Fleas like a warm environment so are usually more prevalent in the milder months of the year. However with more Irish pets sleeping indoors or even in beds we are now seeing fleas all year round! Their bite causes your cat to itch and often can result in a severe allergic reaction. A spot on treatment can be applied to the skin on the back of your cat’s neck to treat or prevent fleas. Generally these treatments last one month. Fleas also lay thousands of eggs in carpets/beds/rugs etc so it is important to treat the environment as well as your pet.
When should I neuter my cat?
We advise that both male and female cats should be neutered from 5 months of age. Neutering prevents females coming into season and becoming pregnant and can reduce urine spraying and inter-cat aggression in males. For both male and female cats neutering also has the benefit of preventing many illness and certain types of cancer.
Should I get my kitten insured?
We do recommend insuring your kitten. Veterinary medicine has become more advanced in recent years. More sophisticated medication and equipment are being used to treat pets and therefore costs have increased substantially. Bills can run into several hundred or even thousands of euros. Insurance allows a vet to carry out his/her job to the best of their ability without financial constraints. Insurance not only covers illness/accidents, it also covers referral to specialists if needed and treatment for ongoing/ lifetime conditions e.g. heart disease/diabetes/arthritis. Sadly it is unlikely your pet will be 100% healthy throughout his/her life.
Should I microchip my cat?
A microchip is a tiny device about the size of a rice grain. It is usually inserted under the skin in the neck or shoulder area and remains there for life. When your cat is scanned by the vet its unique microchip number appears on the screen. When he/she is microchipped he/she is also registered on a pet database. This means that if your pet ever gets lost and someone brings it to a vet or rescue agency/shelter they will be able to contact you. It is not a tracking device but it certainly helps re-unite missing pets with their owners.