Congratulations on your new family member! Kittens are a lot of fun, and there is a lot that you, as a new “parent,” need to do to maintain your pet’s well-being. As you go through the following information, please be sure to ask the veterinarian any questions that you may have.

  • Vaccinate:
    Be sure that your kitten gets all the vaccinations that it needs. Kittens need to have a complete series of vaccines, usually beginning at approximately 6 weeks old and continuing approximately every 3-4 weeks until they are approximately 16 weeks old. The required vaccines are the distemper vaccine (that also protects against other viruses) and the rabies vaccine. The feline leukemia vaccine is recommended for all kittens in their first year of life. At next year’s visit, you and your veterinarian will determine if the leukemia vaccine series should continue. If the cat is ever going to go outside or will be in contact with other cats, he/she should also receive the leukemia vaccine booster as directed by your veterinarian. This vaccine works best when it is given to young cats.Important Testing:
    It is important to test your kitten for feline leukemia (FeLV) and feline AIDS. In most cases, the parental history of the kitten is unknown, and it is important to know the virus status of the kitten. If the cat ever goes outside or is ever in contact with other cats, this test should be repeated annually.
  • Important Tests:
    It is important to test your kitten for feline leukemia (FeLV) and feline AIDS. In most cases, the parental history of the kitten is unknown, and it is important to know the virus status of the kitten. If the cat ever goes outside or is ever in contact with other cats, this test should be repeated annually.
  • Treat for Worms:
    Make sure that your kitten receives an appropriate series of dewormers for roundworms and hookworms (that may cause infections in people as well) and that fecal samples are examined for other parasites. After the “kitten series,” this is done every 6-12 months. You can bring in a fresh stool sample with you for your veterinarian to examine whenever you go in for an exam.
  • Spay and Neuter:
    Make sure your kitten is spayed or neutered before it reaches sexual maturity. This should be done before he/she is 6 months old. It is best to wait until the vaccine series is completed before doing the surgery, but it can be done sooner if needed. In tact cats have a much higher chance of contracting life-threatening illness than do sterile cats. Spaying and neutering are the best means to help control the severe pet overpopulation problem. If you have any questions about the procedure or why it is important that it be done, please ask your veterinarian.
  • Consider keeping your kitten indoor:
    Consider keeping your kitten an “indoor-only” cat. Indoor only cats generally live longer lives than do those that are allowed outside. This is because, when allowed outside, cats run the risks of encountering cars, dogs, and other cats. Being hit by cars, attacked by dogs, and bitten by other cats (possibly leading to feline leukemia or feline AIDS) are common reasons that cats are presented to the veterinarian. Any cat that has a white or light-colored face or ears should be indoors-only to decrease its chance of getting sun-induced cancer.
  • Provide a Healthy Diet:
    Feed your kitten a well-formulated diet. Science Diet Feline Growth, and Iams kitten are examples of excellent foods. They are strictly formulated to meet a growing kitten’s needs, without any excesses that may be harmful. Unlike some grocery-store foods, the ingredients and formulations generally do not vary, so there won’t be any sudden changes in your cat’s food.
  • Microchip:
    Make sure your kitten can be returned to you in case he/she is ever lost. Get a safety-release collar now, and let your kitten get used to wearing it. Get a name tag with your address and phone number to put on the collar. Once the rabies vaccine is given, make sure that he/she wears the rabies tag at all times. Injecting a permanent microchip under the cat’s skin provides a permanent unchangeable ID .
  • Litterbox Training:
    Cats tend to be litter-box trained very readily. The general rule is to have one more litter box than the number of cats in the household. For example, if you have two cats at home, they should have access to three litter boxes.