Kitten Wellness Guidelines
Congratulations — you have a new kitten!
… So, now what?
In the first few months with your new kitten, it is very important that s/he see a veterinarian every few weeks for the proper vaccinations. Your cat’s immune system relies on receiving these vaccinations at specific times so that your new best friend can stay healthy. Here’s how the vaccination protocol for kittens works:
- What? This vaccination protects against 3 severe viruses—commonly referred to as “feline distemper”—that could be fatal if left unvaccinated.
- When? Starting at 8 weeks of age, kittens should be vaccinated every 3-4 weeks until 16 weeks of age. Your kitten should be re-vaccinated 1 year after this 16-week vaccine and, if you follow this protocol, every 3 years after that.
- What? Rabies raises significant public health concerns, so this vaccination is required by state law to protect both your cat and you.
- When? At 14-16 weeks of age, your kitten will get his/her rabies vaccination, which will be valid for 1 year. The next dose of the rabies vaccine should be administered within 1 year after the initial dose, regardless of the animal’s age at the time of the initial dose. The rabies vaccine should then be administered every 3 years, unless state, provincial, and/or local requirements stipulate otherwise.
Other Vaccines / Tests
Other vaccinations / tests may be required for your kitten’s health based on where you live or what activities your cat will be doing.
- What? If your kitten will be spending time outdoors or will have any contact with other cats who could be FeLV-positive, you should consider the FeLV vaccine.
- When? Your kitten can receive the vaccine at 12 weeks, followed by a booster 3-4 weeks later. S/he should then receive annual boosters.
- What? Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) is usually spread when an uninfected cat comes in contact with the saliva or the urine of an infected cat while they groom each other or share food bowls or litter boxes. Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) is most often spread when an infected cat bites an uninfected cat. Humans cannot become infected through contact with an infected cat.
- When? Any new cat entering your house (especially if you already have other cats at home) should be tested for FeLV and FIV.
*Although extremely rare, reactions to vaccinations are possible. It can be normal for your cat to be a bit sleepy after the vaccine or for you to see a bit of swelling around the injection site. If your cat experiences vomiting, swelling of the face, or sudden collapse, please seek immediate medical attention.
Flea and Tick Prevention
Fleas and ticks are a big nuisance—to your cat AND to you! They carry diseases, can infect you and your home, and cause great discomfort to your pet. Thankfully, there are many preventive options available, including topical applications, oral applications, and impregnated collars. Please ask your Vetter vet to provide more detail during your next appointment.
Seeing worms in your kitten’s feces can be a scary sight—but it is quite a common one! Kittens can get intestinal worms from their mother during/after birth, so regular deworming is important.
Treatment can vary depending on which species of worm your kitten has. Here are a few common species that you may see: Roundworms / Hookworms / Whipworms / Tapeworms.
If you think your kitten may have worms, please schedule an appointment immediately!
Keep your kitten—and any other pet—away from:
Avocados, chocolate, grapes, raisins, macadamia nuts, and raw bread dough made with yeast
Onions, garlic, and chives
Milk, alcohol, coffee, and caffeine
Food sweetened with xylitol (such as gum, baked goods, and candy)
Electrical wires, pesticides, antifreeze, lead
Household medicine cabinet contents — do not ever give your kitten human ibuprofen or acetaminophen (found in Tylenol, Advil, Motrin, etc.)