These two little stray kittens were brought into Willows Veterinary Centre in a box and lovingly raised by a member of staff. Taking on new kittens can be a big responsibility, so we wanted to share with you some of the key things you need to know.
Food and water bowls: Ceramic or china bowls are generally best as plastic ones can become chew toys and tooth marks can be a breeding ground for bacteria. The FAB recommend one water bowl for each cat plus one extra one in the house.
Diet: When getting your kitten, ask for a sample of its food so that you can change it over to a new food gradually. It’s important that your kitten has a food specially designed for his growing needs, so our vets will discuss this with you at your first appointment. Call us now on the number below to book an appointment or ask one of our receptionists about the bags of food in our waiting room.
Housing: Kittens need a lot of sleep and will appreciate a basket or bed in a secluded spot. They love crawling under loose blankets. Putting their bed / basket inside a cardboard box or draping a blanket above it, for the first few weeks will give them an added sense of privacy and security. You may want to get a cage or crate to put your kitten in when you’re going out, so that it does not have free range of the house when you’re not there to supervise.
Litter trays: As a rule, you need one litter tray per cat, plus one extra tray for the house. Place one tray out in the open and another in a secluded spot, since some cats are shy whereas others want to be able to see all around in case a predator is stalking them.
Worm and flea treatment: Your kitten will need regular worming and flea treatment. These can be as drops on the back of the neck or in tablet form. Our staff will be happy to recommend the best product for your kitten. You can also have a look at our VIP scheme for more information about the programm that we recommend.
Vaccinations: Your kitten should have its first vaccinations at 9 and 12 weeks. When your pet has its first vaccinations we will make sure to give them a treat and make a fuss of them, so that they will find visits to the vet fun rather than scary.
Neutering: Most kittens are neutered (spayed or castrated) at 5 months of age although it is possible to do them earlier. Over fifty percent of 6 month-old female cats are already in early pregnancy, so don’t leave it too late. You can read our blog here on the benefits of neutering.
Microchipping: To help prevent your pet from being lost or stolen, we strongly recommend microchipping. This can be done during a consultation with the vet or when your kitten is neutered. Cats do not do well with collars, since they often get them snagged on things or get one foreleg through them, with dire results. If you buy a collar, make sure it is an easy-break variety to allow the kitten to escape if they become snagged. If the kitten is already microchipped then the breeder can change the registration to your address.
Toothbrush: It’s a good idea to train your kitten to allow you to brush its teeth if possible. Brushing has to be done daily to be effective, but it can save you a lot of money and prevent a lot of suffering and illness in your cat. Feel free to speak to a member of staff to find out about dental hygiene.
Brushes, shampoo and nail clippers: Brushing and washing your pet is not only good for their coat but can be an important bonding experience. We have a range of brushes and shampoos in our waiting area and our receptionists are happy to talk to you about which one would be best for your pet. If you are worried about clipping your cats nails then book an appointment with one of our nurses and we’d be happy to do it for you. Just call us on the number below to book.
Pet insurance: It’s important to compare different insurance policies. Make sure you insure your pet as soon as possible as most policies wont cover pre-existing conditions. Choose a policy which will cover your pet for life and will not exclude conditions each time your renew. Make sure the level of cover per condition is adequate. If you find a policy you are happy with, stick with it even if you feel that you are not getting any value from it – you will regret cancelling it when things go wrong later.
If you prefer to set aside money for medical care, we recommend a sum of £3000 for emergencies. You will need to have the money set aside as soon as you buy your kitten. It does not work to start with a zero balance and pay in each month since an emergency in early life will not be covered. If you do not use the money during the life of your cat, then it remains yours.
Our VIP Scheme: For information on how we can help you with the cost of looking after a new kitten, click here.
If you would like any more information then phone 01621 818282 (Tiptree Veterinary Centre) or 01206 561407 (Willows Veterinary Centre) to book an appointment with one of our vets. Alternatively, visit out websites at www.tiptreevets.co.uk or www.willows-vets.co.uk