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Adding a kitten (or 2 kittens) to your family is one of the most rewarding experiences. Two kittens can keep one another company, play together, and can share a long life together as best friends.
The first year is full of milestones for your kitty, from learning how to play and interact with your family, to growing strong and healthy. It is important to learn to recognize and anticipate your kitten’s natural behaviors while being proactive in your cat’s health care plan. Kickstart your kitten’s lifetime of wellness with proper vaccines, parasite prevention, and safe socialization so you can enjoy many happy years to come.
A crucial step in preparing for your kitten to come home is to find a veterinarian you trust. We recommend you consider using a designated Cat Friendly Practice®, like The Cat Hospital of Tampa Bay! We have taken specific extra steps to make our practice more comfortable and welcoming for cats and their caregivers.
Most kittens are full of energy and excitement. Don’t let their energy distract you from keeping them healthy. Your kitten needs a thorough physical exam and protection from preventable diseases by receiving appropriate vaccines.
Ideally, the first visit to the veterinarian should happen within the first week you bring your kitten home. If you have other cats in your household, your new kitten should be tested by your veterinarian before coming into your home.
To keep a kitten healthy, vaccines are given as a series at specific intervals beginning around 7-8 weeks old until they have developed sufficient immunity, typically around 16 weeks old. During this time your kitten will become protected against the “core” group of diseases, panleukopenia (feline distemper), calicivirus, rhinotracheitis, and rabies.
A less obvious point of wellness care is parasite prevention. Unfortunately, many parasites go undetected since young kittens can be infected without showing any clinical signs. To make sure your kitten does not have intestinal parasites, be sure to bring a stool sample to your first veterinary checkup. Your veterinarian will probably also de-worm your kitten at each visit since kittens don’t always shed parasite eggs in their stool.
As your kitten grows older, your veterinarian will likely discuss spaying or neutering. We recommend this common surgery be done when the kitten is 12 weeks or older, and at least 3lbs. Cats that are adopted from a shelter are usually spayed or neutered before going to their new homes.
Wellness exams for your kitten may include:
As a member of the family, your cat deserves the very best possible care. One of the best ways to ensure your cat stays healthy is by making sure they have a preventive care examination or check-up two times a year (or at least yearly), or more frequently for senior cats and those with chronic conditions.
During the exam, our veterinarian will assess your cat’s nutrition, lifestyle, environmental enrichment (key resources such as food, water, litter box, scratching areas, play areas, resting areas, etc.), disease and parasite prevention, and behavior. This is also the perfect time to ask any questions and share any changes you have noticed in your cat’s behavior. Even very minor changes could be an indication of a hidden issue.
With a thorough physical examination combined with the information you share, you and our veterinarian can create a plan to meet the individualized needs of your cat.
Regular check-ups are key to a healthy and happy cat
Wellness exams for your adult cat may include:
Recommended vaccines may include:
Cats are masters at hiding disease and may appear well, despite underlying problems. Examining cats more often as they age will help detect problems earlier, often resulting in easier disease management and a better quality of life.
The American Association of Feline Practitioners recommends that healthy older cats be examined by a veterinarian every six months. In the life of a senior cat, six months is about the same as two years for a person — long enough for significant health changes to occur.
As with middle-aged and older people, a range of illnesses can occur as your cat ages. Being alert to changes in your cat’s behavior and habits and seeking veterinary care will help ensure early detection and timely treatment. Here are some of the common diseases affecting older cats:
A senior wellness exam at The Cat Hospital of Tampa Bay focuses on:
Call us today to schedule a senior wellness exam for your cat.