Kitten Care


Kitten Vet in The Woodlands

Nothing is more purr-fect than a kitten!

There is a reason why the internet is so full of kitten pictures and videos, they are irresistible, goofy, funny, sweet, and sassy! Dr. Dolan and Dr. Robinson would love to meet your new feline family member! Our team has many years of caring for cats and kitten in The Woodlands and surrounding communities.

At Creekside Animal Hospital we understand the strong bond has already developed between you and your kitty. We are here to make the best kitten care recommendations so that your new family member will have the happiest and healthiest years to come. Caring for a kitten can certainly be one of the most fun and rewarding experiences you can have as a pet owner, however, if you are under-informed about the needs of your kitten during this time, you can leave them at a developmental disadvantage. That is where we come in.

When should you schedule your cat’s first visit?

Kitten Vet in The WoodlandsNo matter when you get your kitten, you should schedule a veterinary appointment within the first week. We want to help you with planning what it takes for the long-term health of your kitten, and overall positive kitten development. We will get to see you and your kitten for a few visits while it is growing and developing. We will have the opportunity to discuss the essentials of kitten care and cover all of the basics of wellness care as your kitten grows into a cat. This includes topics about:

  • Preventative care
  • Nutrition
  • Basics of socialization
  • When to spay and neuter

Schedule your kitten's first exam.

Preventative Care

The focus of a preventive care program is to ensure that your cat is receiving everything they need and to detect disease and illness early to ensure that they have the best opportunity for a long, happy, and healthy life. With a combination of preventative vaccines, medicine and a good understanding of how to identify illness indicators your kitten will be able to have the advantage of living with the best health possible. The following are some helpful tips to begin planning for the long-term health of your kitten, and overall positive kitten development.

Intestinal Parasites, Fleas, And Heartworm In Kittens

All kittens need to be checked for intestinal parasites so bring a fresh stool sample which includes medication to kill most intestinal parasites. We will want to check your kitten's stool for more uncommon but potentially serious parasites. In addition to intestinal parasites/worms, cats can contract heartworms. If cats develop heartworm disease, there is no treatment. Therefore we recommend heartworm prevention for all cat patients. A discussion about your cat's lifestyle and proper flea and tick control is an indispensable component of kitten care. We do not recommend over-the-counter sprays, powders, and collars. They are less effective and more toxic to your kitten. 

What you need to look for?

Vet in the WoodlandsGet your kitten used to being handled; accept stroking and grooming, and a thorough once over as part of its daily routine. Once every week or so, take a good look at your kitten’s eyes, ears, mouth, paws, nails, skin, and coat. It is important to find problems early before they become serious. If you notice anything unusual, be sure to consult your local veterinarian.

  • Eyes
    • check your kitten’s eyes for redness or inflammation a half-closed lid excessive watering a yellow-green discharge or discoloration A kitten with an infected eye will rub it a lot. Should you notice any of the above conditions please contact your local veterinarian immediately; we do not recommend treating the eye unless it has been examined by a veterinarian. Cleaning around the eye with a cotton ball soaked in warm water is recommended.
  • Ears
    • Check your kitten’s ears for discharge, excessive wax build-up (dark brown or black wax) and unpleasant odor. Your kitten will scratch at its ears or shake its head frequently if its ears are dirty, infected or have ear mites. Healthy ears are pale pink, clean looking, and odor-free. A gentle cleaning periodically will help ears remain healthy. Moisten a cotton ball with either water or a veterinary ear cleaning solution. Clean only the easy to reach external areas. DO NOT PROBE INTO THE EAR.
  • Teeth and Gums
    • Kittens will lose their baby teeth when they are 4-6 months Examine the mouth for any soreness, discoloration, broken or loose teeth, or inflamed or receding gums. Pets, like people, need regular dental care. Dental disease is one of the most common health problems in pets, yet it can easily be prevented. The best thing you can do for your kitten now is It is important to start brushing your kitten’s teeth early in life so that it becomes accustomed to the procedure. Cats require frequent brushing and regular dental check-ups to prevent tartar, gingivitis, abscessed teeth, and bad breath. Special animal toothpaste, toothbrushes, and oral rinses are available at our clinics. Do not use human toothpaste as they contain foaming agents, which may upset your kitten’s stomach.
  • Nails
    • Kitten’s nails can become very sharp. Therefore, to avoid any unwanted scratches or climbing, it is recommended that you clip your kitten’s nails frequently. Hold the paw firmly and clip a little at a time—don’t try to take the whole tip-off at once. Be careful not to cut into the “quick”—the sensitive flesh underneath the nail. Should you accidentally cut too far and bleeding occurs, use baby powder or flour to help stop the bleeding (it can take a while!). Do not try and clip all the nails at one sitting—clip a few nails when your kitten is quiet to help accustom them to the procedure. If you have never trimmed a kitten’s nails before, have your local veterinarian show you how. Pet nail clippers or human clippers are better to use than scissors. Provide your kitten with a scratching post and every time they attempt to claw your furniture tell them “NO” and encourage them to use the post. Try toys and catnip spray to entice your kitten to use the post.
  • Body and Coat
    • Watch for any changes in your kitten’s skin and hair coat: increased shedding, dandruff, raw areas, dry, itchy skin, rashes, lumps, or anything unusual. A healthy coat is a sign of a healthy pet. Regularly running your hand over the kitten’s body is also a good way to determine if there are any lumps, swollen joints or painful areas. Should you notice any changes please contact your local vet.
  • Grooming
    • Should begin at an early age so that the kitten gets accustomed to the procedure. If your kitten gets dirty wipe its fur with a wet cloth. Refrain from bathing your kitten unless it is medically necessary. Bathing your kitten can drastically drop its body temperature and shampoos can be harsh on your kitten's skin

Please contact us if you observe any of these common indicators of illness:

  • Not eating
  • Not playful
  • odd or concerning behaviors
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Congestion
  • Increased vocalization
  • Discharge from the eye and nose

Vaccinations

Vaccinations are essential to proper kitten care and should be started soon after you get your kitten. The average age to get a kitten is 6 weeks. Kitten vaccination starts at 6-9 weeks of age and should take place every 3-4 weeks during the first several months of life and continue with booster immunizations throughout adulthood. This is when we recommend starting the vaccination program. Boosters will follow at one year and we can help you understand a long term plan for the rest of the cat's adult life. Kitten vaccinations are given to prevent feline leukemia, rabies, and distemper. These infectious diseases are devastating and completely preventable with simple vaccinations. 

Rabies- An acute and fatal viral infection of the central nervous system that can affect any mammal. Cats are the most commonly reported rabid domestic animal in the US. Transmission is almost always by the bite of an infected animal. Symptoms include unexplained paralysis that worsens over time and sudden behavioral changes that can include sudden loss of appetite, signs of apprehension or nervousness, irritability, hyperexcitability, a social dog that becomes anti-social or an otherwise unfriendly animal may become friendly.

Feline Viral and Rhinotracheitis (FVR) Feline Calicivirus (FCV) infection- These can both cause a severe upper respiratory infection that can kill kittens, old cats, and immune depressed cats, and make an otherwise healthy cat very sick. Signs include discharge from the eyes and nose, inflammation of the eye lining, ulcerations of the mouth and nose, and infection of the lower respiratory tract (pneumonitis).

Feline Panleukopenia Also known as Feline Distemper- This virus is actually the precursor to Canine Parvovirus. This is an easily transmitted disease with high death rates in unprotected cats and kittens. The virus mounts a widespread attack on the major body organs, particularly the intestinal tract. Lymphoid tissue and bone marrow are also targets of this infection. Cats with Panleukopenia exhibit a variety of signs, including depression, fever, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, and in kittens, central nervous system involvement.

Feline Leukemia Virus- A highly contagious virus that is the leading cause of pet cat deaths. It can cause several disease syndromes. Leukemia is only one of the outcomes of this disease. Another cancer, Lymphosarcoma, is more common. Feline Leukemia also causes AIDS-like syndrome, where the cat is immune-compromised and cannot fight off even the most common infections (especially those diseases that we vaccinate for).

Feline AIDS Virus- A less contagious virus that Feline Leukemia, this disease shows similar signs. This virus is related to the human AIDS virus but has shown no indication of being dangerous to humans. There is no vaccine for this virus at this time, so the best preventative measure is to keep your cat away from infected cats.

Nutrition

Vet in the WoodlandsKittens typically grow eight times their size in just about eight weeks and continue to gain about a pound a month until 6 months old. The early, rapid growth of the typical kitten will give you an idea of their nutritional needs:

5-8 weeks-  Your kitten should be able to chew its kitten food, and you should provide a protein-rich and energy filled diet, with feedings taking place 3-4 times daily. There are many different types of kitten food available, and we would like to discuss these dietary options with you at your next veterinary appointment. Typically we recommend canned kitten food because it will mimic the natural diet both in consistency and formulation. However, a good diet may also consist of a combination of canned and dry kitten foods.

6 months of age- Kittens should be fed 2 times per day. Kitten food is usually very high in protein, calories, and fats, which are all necessary to support healthy growth and body function. Feeding the right kitten food in the right amounts, and at the right times throughout the day is essential for happy, growing cats.

Canned food is best. Keep in mind that cats are carnivores and have evolved to receive the majority of the water in their diets through the consumption of food. This is why sound feline nutrition includes a diet that is rich in unprocessed proteins and water. Canned cat foods are usually formulated with water content in mind, and can contain up to 80% of this feline nutrition requirement per serving. They require three times more protein than dogs. Considering that dry foods need grains to make the kibble, they are not the best choice for your cat’s health.

Socializing Your Kittens

As you can see, kitten development is filled with fun but requires you to be actively involved in the process. It is critically important that you consider the time commitment necessary to do your part and ensure proper kitten development. A huge part of kitten development is socializing your kitten with both human family members, as well as any other animals in your household. The adage about dogs not getting along with cats is anything but true, however, some dogs have a strong prey instinct and cannot decipher a cat from a rabbit. For this reason, proper interspecies interaction, and overall behavior requires hands-on, responsible and sustained social development, including :

  • Litter box training
  • Frequent petting and cuddling Toy introduction
  • Exploration with boxes, paper bags, etc.
  • Rewarding good behavior with treats
  • Time outs for bad behavior
  • Redirection from biting or scratching
  • Introduction to new people and animals in a controlled environment
  • Weekly combing and grooming and handling
  • Controlled outdoor excursions (only after kitten vaccinations have begun) is acceptable in some areas.
  • Signs of aggression and play-biting
  • Fears and other behaviors that we want to address while they are still impressionable

When Should You Spay/Neuter Your Cat?

By 5-6 months of age, kittens are reaching a point of mature adolescence, or kitty puberty if you will. Why is it SUPER important to spay/neuter your cat at the right age? Kittens and the heat cycle, Avoiding unpleasant habits like territorial scent spraying Avoiding unplanned litters A decrease in the chance of mammary or testicular cancer later in life. If your kitten is in contact with other kittens or cats of the opposite sex, it is essential that you have them spayed or neutered before or as they reach 5-6 months of age. At Creekside Animal Hospital kitten care is one of our greatest joys. Our veterinary staff would be delighted to spend some time with you and your kitten ensuring that your relationship will be a healthy, happy and rewarding one for many years to come.

Schedule A Kitten Care Appointment With Creekside Animal Hospital Today!

Creekside Animal Hospital is proud to be an active member of our community and to serve as your veterinarian in The Woodlands, Tomball, Spring, Conroe, and surrounding areas.

 

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