Ingleburn Veterinary Hospital
Unit 4, 2 Noonan Road
Congratulations on the arrival of your new kitten. Owning a kitten is a big responsibility. We are trained in all aspects of caring for kittens, and would like you to think of us as your best source of advice. We are here to help, and answer any questions that you may have.
This page outlines the basics of how to care for your kitten. Health care issues including vaccination, intestinal worming, heartworm, flea control, diet and desexing are all discussed. If you would like more information on any of the subjects on this page, we have a range of more detailed information sheets available as handouts. If you have other questions don’t hesitate to give us a call, or make a list and ask us at your next visit.
The first year of your kitten’s life will be a lot of fun for you both – so enjoy it!
* Visits to the vet are marked with an asterisk
# Initial kitten FIV vaccination course: THREE doses 2 – 4 weeks apart are required, then followed by a single annual booster. We recommend your kitten be confined indoors until the vaccination course is completed.
# # Initial FeLV vaccination: TWO doses 2 – 4 weeks apart are required for full immunity followed by an annual booster.
Vaccinations are essential to protect your kitten from a variety of potentially fatal diseases. Feline herpes virus and calicivirus, together, cause what is commonly known as ‘cat flu’ & is extremely contagious. All cats, but particularly young kittens, are susceptible to it. Ensuring your cat is vaccinated against ‘cat flu’ can help greatly reduce the severity of signs if he/she is ever exposed to it. Feline enteritis is similar to parvovirus in dogs. Affected cats develop a severe gastroenteritis which can be fatal. Protection against ‘cat flu’ (Feline Rhinotracheitis/ Herpesvirus & Calicivirus) and feline enteritis is provided in the F3 vaccination.
Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (also known as Cat AIDS) is primarily transmitted by cat fights. Like in humans with HIV/AIDS, FIV in cats causes gradual destruction of the immune system and there is no cure. We recommend that cats which are outdoors or have outdoor access (and therefore at risk of fighting with an infected cat) be vaccinated against FIV. The initial FIV vaccination course involves THREE injections spaced 2 – 4 weeks apart, followed by annual boosters. An FIV test is needed for cats 6 months of age and older.
Feline leukaemia virus (FeLV) causes suppression of the immune system and can lead to cancer of the white blood cells as well as causing solid tumours in vital organs. Fortunately, FeLV is uncommon. Cats can be exposed to the virus through contacting saliva from infected cats through fighting, mutual grooming, sharing food bowls and coming into contact with urine from infected cats. We recommend the FeLV vaccine to cats which are predominantly outdoors or those that mingle and socialise with a lot of cats (such as in catteries and breeding colonies). The initial course requires 2 vaccinations spaced 2 – 4 weeks apart followed by annual boosters.
We’ve probably all heard about heartworm in dogs but heartworm infection can affect cats too! It is spread by mosquitoes, so all cats are at risk. We recommend monthly Revolution or Advocate which is a convenient ‘top spot’ product applied to the skin on the back of the neck. Revolution can be given from 6 weeks of age and Advocate can be given from 9 weeks of age.
Intestinal worms can cause serious health problems for your kitten, including diarrhoea, vomiting, malnutrition and anaemia (blood loss). The major intestinal worms affecting cats are roundworm, hookworm, and tapeworm. Kittens should be wormed every 2 weeks until 12 weeks. From 12 weeks, they should be wormed monthly until 6 months of age and then every 3 months from then on. Intestinal wormers should be given according to bodyweight. If you are unsure about your kitten’s weight, please feel free to use our scales at the clinic or ask our staff for a rough estimate of your kitten’s body weight according to his/her age.
Monthly ‘top-spot’ products such as Revolution and Advocate provide protection against roundworm and hookworm. To ensure full protection, give your kitten an
additional tapewormer tablet every 6 months. Alternate the use of Revolution or Advocate with intestinal allwormer tablets until 12 weeks of age. After that, you can rely on monthly Revolution or Advocate for parasite control.
Fleas cause irritation, skin allergies, carry blood parasites and in large numbers can suck enough blood to make your kitten anaemic.
We recommend Revolution. As well as controlling fleas, it also provides protection against intestinal worms, heartworm and ear mites in one monthly treatment. Advocate is a similar product. Other flea control products recommended for cats include Comfortis, Frontera Spray and Advantage. It is also important to treat all animals in the household and the immature stages in the environment to control flea populations.
IMPORTANT NOTE: It is extremely important that you DO NOT use dog flea control products or products (including shampoos) containing permethrin on your cat! Permethrin is highly toxic to cats and causes seizures and death. If you are unsure about any product you wish to apply on your cat, please seek advice from any of the staff here first.
Microchips are a safe and permanent way of identifying your cat. A very small electronic chip is implanted (through a needle) under the skin in the back of your kitten’s neck. If your cat is ever lost or injured, then a vet or council pound will be able to scan him/her and contact you. Microchip identification and lifetime registration is now compulsory for all kittens in NSW. Registration is handled by the council and must be done by 4 months of age. You’ll save money by desexing your cat before registration is due.
We strongly recommended desexing all cats, both male and female, between 3 and 4 months of age. As well as stopping unwanted breeding, desexing reduces roaming, territorial aggression, cat fights and spraying. Desexing also has health benefits such as preventing uterine infection and breast cancer.
A high-quality balanced diet is very important. Your kitten has different nutritional requirements than an adult cat, including extra protein for muscle development and calcium for bone growth. We recommend a premium, completely balanced commercial kitten food, eg. Hill’s Science Diet or Eukanuba. Make sure that your kitten always has access to fresh, clean water daily. Introduce raw bones such as chicken wings and necks to keep your kitten’s teeth and gums nice and healthy.