Kittens require a course of three vaccinations 4 weeks apart to ensure they are protected against the highly contagious conditions of Feline Panleukopenia Virus, Feline Herpesvirus and Feline Calicivirus. These diseases are covered in the core F3 vaccination that we give all kittens.
Depending on the lifestyle risks of your cat your vet may also choose to add in additional vaccinations for Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) and Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV).
The recommended age for each vaccination is:
- First vaccination – 6-8 weeks old
- Second vaccination – 12 weeks
- Third vaccination – 16 weeks
After this initial course of vaccinations as a kitten, they will then just require a once-yearly booster vaccination as an adult.
Your new kitten should be microchipped – this is a simple process whereby we use a needle to implant a chip under the skin. Each chip has a unique number and we register your details to it so that your kitten can be identified as belonging to you. Most commonly this occurs if a pet is lost – if your cat is found councils and vet clinics can easily scan the microchip, bring up your phone number and be able to contact you to reclaim your pet.
We can easily microchip your kitten at any time, for example at their first vaccination.
If the breeder of your kitten has already had them microchipped then all you need to do is ensure the microchip is registered with your details.
Kittens should be regularly wormed every 2 weeks until they are 12 weeks of age, and then once a month until 6 months of age, the every 3-6 months for life.
There are a variety of worming products to choose from including tablets, oral paste or spot-on treatments.
Whilst heartworm is uncommon in cats, heartworm prevention is still recommended due to the severity of the disease it causes and the ease with which it is prevented. These products come as tablet or spot-on options and are often part of a combination treatment that includes intestinal worming and/or fleas, meaning you can cover multiple parasites with one treatment.
Fleas and ticks
A flea and tick preventative specific for cats is strongly recommended for all cats. A common misconception is that just because fleas are not visible on your cat’s coat then they do not have fleas – however, we know that fleas are not always able to be seen on your cat’s coat but can still be present. Fleas not only cause irritation, but they can also transmit tapeworm to your cat, making prevention important.
Whilst we are fortunate enough not to have paralysis ticks in Western Australia, we do still have other types of ticks present in our environment. Tick prevention is therefore recommended as ticks are capable of causing painful bites and transmitting infection and disease. And always remember to make sure tick prevention is up to date if your cat is travelling outside of WA!
We recommend feeding your kitten a high-quality commercial diet designed for growing kittens. These diets are designed to ensure they meet all the nutritional requirements your kitten needs during the important growing phase of its life.
Always have fresh clean water available for your kitten.
It is important to ensure your kitten’s environment incorporates these important things:
- A safe, comfortable place to sleep and hide
- Multiple resources: food, water, litter box, scratching area, play area, sleeping/resting area
- Opportunity for play and predatory behaviour – there are many toys, including food puzzles, that can facilitate this behavioural need
- Provide positive and consistent human-cat interaction
We recommend getting your kitten desexed from when they are at least 4-6+ months of age for females, and earlier around 3-4+ months of age for males (depending on their weight). This is generally a day procedure where you will drop your kitten off to the clinic in the morning, we perform the procedure during the day and they can be discharged home in the afternoon.
Pet insurance is highly recommended for all pet owners to help with the cost of any veterinary treatment your pet may need throughout its life. We are lucky to have such up-to-date and advanced veterinary care available nowadays, however, unlike the human healthcare system, there is no government funding available to pay for veterinary treatment for your pet. This is why we recommend all pet owners obtain pet insurance – there are a variety of companies and policies available so we encourage you to investigate and choose one that best suits your needs.