Your new kitten can start their vaccinations from eight weeks of age. They will need two doses of vaccines to complete the kitten course. We vaccinate against feline flu, enteritis and feline leukaemia virus.
Routinely, the first vaccination is given at eight weeks, then a second dose given at 11-12 weeks of age. They are protected to go outside two weeks after the final vaccine. They will need this immunity boosted every year for the feline leukaemia component. You will receive a text or email reminder when this is due.
Before receiving their first vaccine, we would advise to keep your kitten in the house and not venture out to the garden. Principally due to the risk of getting lost and being unprotected.
We offer a kitten pack which includes the cost of these vaccines, as well as microchipping and one month’s flea and worming. Please contact us for more information.
If this is something you would like for your kitten, we can microchip them at any point from their first vaccination. As of August 2020, it is not a legal requirement for cats to be microchipped, but it is recommended as one of the few ways to facilitate finding your cat, should they run off, get lost or stolen.
We will ensure all of your details are correct and these will automatically be registered to the Petlog database. We cannot make changes to any information on this once registered, but you can contact them directly to update details.
You can register up to four contact numbers on the microchip so it is worth putting some back up contacts on in case of emergency.
Flea & Worming
There is a wide range of products used for flea and worm treatment and it is important to use a safe reputable product, and to dose your kitten correctly.
With most products, we will recommend for you to flea and worm your kitten monthly.
Our nurses can advise a treatment that suits your kitten and individual requirements.
Please check out our Pet Health Plan which includes the cost of monthly flea and wormers, in addition to other products and services! One of our nurses will be happy to go through what this includes and get you set up.
Like us, what your kitten eats is important for their development. A healthy, complete, well balanced diet means a healthy life for your kitten. There are many different brands of food that include diets for your kitten, as well as further life stage diets, and those specific for different breeds. Our nurses will be happy to direct you towards the right food and stage for your pet. Crucially, kittens and cats need a good quality, higher protein content food as they are obligate carnivores.
For the first few months, your kitten should be offered food three or four times daily, spreading out the recommended daily amount given by the food manufacturer. Once weaned, you do not need to give any sort of kitten milk. Remember – feeding a single complete diet is all you need, mixing diets essentially unbalances their nutrition.
Make sure your kitten has water bowls available in different places around the house, and ideally not right next to their feeding bowl – they often prefer to eat in different locations to where they drink. Also make sure any litter trays are well away from any food bowls, else they can become averse to toileting in that location or eating there.
We stock the Virbac range in practice which offers all life stage options as well as food to cater for larger/smaller breeds. We also have a supply of veterinary diets for more specific requirements.
It is important to monitor weight gain while your kitten is growing. We offer a monthly kitten clinic with the nurse, where we can advise if they are putting on too much weight or too little and offer guidance on how best to manage this.
As kittens grow quite rapidly, we also need this information to be able to dispense the most appropriate dose for flea and worming, which can be provided at the nurse appointment.
Please speak to the nurse if you are ever concerned about rate of weight gain.
Your kitten will tend to lose their baby teeth around three to six months of age. However, you will rarely notice the lost teeth as they will often be swallowed.
Dental hygiene is just as important for pets as it is for us. Brushing your cat’s teeth is crucial to maintain dental health and should be done daily if possible.
Poor pet oral hygiene leads to plaque build-up causing tartar or gingivitis and your pet may require surgery to extract problem teeth. Dental treats (e.g dentabites/dentalife) can be used as an alternative but remember these can contain a lot of calories so it is important to include these when working out your pets daily food intake.
We stock a range of toothbrushes and toothpastes, as well as other solutions suitable for your pet. You should never use human toothpaste as this can be toxic for our pets. Please get in touch for more info.
Start them young – introducing tooth brushing at a young age means they are used to it as part of their daily routine. There are some excellent guidance videos available on YouTube for best ways to encourage tooth brushing, but remember our nursing team is always available to offer advice too.
Having a good pet insurance policy helps cover the cost of vet bills, which can be very expensive! A lifelong policy is gold-standard and will cover your pet for illness and injury throughout its life. It’s very important to check your level of cover – always read the small print, to ensure you don’t get caught out if you ever come to need it. It is best to get a cover arranged as early as possible to avoid any possible exclusions later in life.
We can help you to access four weeks free, no obligation insurance with Petplan which can be set up for you when you come in for your first vaccination and health check.
There are many different types of pet insurance policy available: please see our insurance advice page for more detail. Committing to a policy should not be a quick decision. Make sure the policy and its benefits are suitable for your needs and the future needs of your pet.
Lifetime policies cover your pet year in, year out, so are ideal for any long-term conditions, e.g. epilepsy, heart disease, diabetes etc.
Neutering means surgically preventing pets from reproducing.
· In males the surgery is called castration and involves removing both testicles.
· In females the surgery is called spaying and involves removing the uterus and ovaries. In cats, this is typically performed via an incision in the left side abdominal wall. This can be altered if you have a specific breed such as ragdoll or Siamese, with which the hair can grow back a slightly different colour after surgery.
Neutering is recommended for a range of health and behaviour benefits, as well as removing the risk of unwanted pregnancies and straying.
The surgery can be booked from four months of age, but we do recommend your kitten is over 2kg in weight. You can book a neutering check up with one of our vets to discuss this further.
Neutering requires your pet to be with us for the day. You will be asked to come in first thing in the morning, and the vet or nurse will call you after surgery to arrange a discharge appointment time. We then require to see your pet three days and 10 days after surgery to check on the surgical site and ensure your pet is recovering well.
Socialisation and Training
Ideally start socialisation early by positive, gradual introductions to new situations and people.
Establishing a routine is useful for cats, so they know when to expect meals to be available, or when they will get some quiet time. By nature, they are solitary animals, so even though they can learn to enjoy our company, they still need time alone.
Cats can get into bad habits such as inappropriate toileting and fearful responses, so it is useful to understand any potential reasons why these may occur.
Commonly, inappropriate toileting develops from a stress response, or the litter tray being in an inappropriate location, or not liking the litter substrate. Place the litter tray in a quiet, low footfall area, so your cat can have privacy. Reward good behaviour with treats or fuss and ignore bad behaviour. Cats are very intelligent and soon learn cause and effect.
It is crucial to spend time playing with your kitten – the mental stimulation is important to development, so playing with toys, or hiding food for them to search out are all beneficial.
Ensure there are plenty of scratching posts available for them to wear their claws down, unless you want your sofa to be given a fetching frayed appearance. Declawing is illegal in this country for good reason, so keep an eye on claw length, as if your little one doesn’t wear them down enough, they can grow around into the pad and cause significant discomfort.
It is quite rare that kittens require actual training to use a litter tray, as they learn from watching their mother when very young. If you take on a kitten that hasn’t been exposed to this opportunity, place them in a shallow litter tray after eating/drinking, waking up or if you notice them starting to crouch as this helps them to develop the connection with where they are meant to toilet and where not to. The litter tray must be kept clean, but just remove any soiled debris every day so your kitten learns the familiar smell of where to toilet.
Cat flaps are great for allowing our cats access outdoors when we are not around. There are a lot available on the market, but generally we would recommend a microchip cat flap, so only your cat is able to come into the house, to maintain their sense of territory and safety.
Ideally, cats shouldn’t go out before they have been vaccinated, microchipped and neutered. Getting your pet used to the cat flap requires patience. Allow your cat to investigate gradually and reward them for their inquisitiveness. They typically have to learn by doing.
We are always on hand for additional questions or to discuss any concerns.
The best way to contact us is via the phone for urgent issues or via email for non-emergency enquiries.
Phone: 02920 869928
Please allow up to three working days for a response to an email.