The First Visit
Kittens should have their first veterinary visit generally around 2 months (8 weeks) of age. At their initial visit, a comprehensive physical exam is conducted, evaluating body condition, checking for congenital disorders, external and internal parasites, signs of respiratory disease and ear infections, as well as obtaining initial weight and baseline vital signs.
Kittens require a series of immunizations as they develop immune competency. Generally, kittens will receive a series of FVRCP (Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus and Panleukopenia Virus) vaccinations, a Rabies vaccination, and a Feline Leukemia vaccination.
- Rhinotracheitis virus and Calicivirus are common respiratory pathogens that cause “feline upper respiratory infection” resulting in ocular drainage, sneezing and nasal discharge. These viruses are easily spread via respiratory secretions.
- Panleukopenia virus (also called Feline Distemper) is a highly contagious virus that causes severe vomiting and diarrhea in kittens and can be fatal. When kittens are infected in-utero, they may be born with a neurologic problem called Cerebellar Hypoplasia, causing incoordination and abnormal movement. Panleukopenia is easily spread through secretions and feces.
- Feline Leukemia is another viral disease of cats that can cause illness and death; some cats survive infection and remain persistently infected. Feline Leukemia is transmitted by secretions and bite wounds, and shared food/water dishes. Infected cats become progressively ill and may die; however some survive and may become persistently infected.
- Rabies virus is transmitted through bite wounds from infected mammals and is often fatal.
In addition to immunizations, kittens should have a series of deworming treatments, since intestinal parasites are not uncommon (several can be passed from the queen to the kittens). In addition to deworming, we also recommend a fecal test for common intestinal parasites following completion of the deworming series.
Spaying & Neutering
Spaying and neutering are commonly performed in kittens under 1 year of age. Not only does this prevent unwanted litters of kittens, but spaying can also help reduce your female cat’s risk of breast cancer. Females typically have heat cycles every few weeks from spring through fall, and during heat cycles become very vocal and nervous. Intact males have very strong-smelling urine and tend to mark their territory by spraying.
If you have a new kitten, or plan to get one soon, contact Especially Cats today. Our staff would be happy to talk to you and plan for a lifetime of comprehensive care to keep your cat healthy for years to come!