Here are some simple guidelines to assist you to enjoy and appreciate your new kitten.
Kittens are normally weaned and on solid food by 6 weeks of age. Feeding specially formulated kitten food (dry or cans/sachets) is recommended. They are fully balanced to meet all a growing kitten’s nutritional requirements. You do not need to add any extra calcium to these foods. Dry food can be moistened for younger kittens by soaking them in warm water.
From 6-8 weeks feed your kitten 4 times daily, 8-12 weeks 3 times daily, then twice daily after that. Always provide fresh water. Try to avoid feeding milk as it may cause diarrhoea in some kittens.
Most kittens will naturally use a litter tray by 4-6 weeks of age. Make sure the litter tray provided is easily accessible and in a quiet area but not placed too close to where your kitten sleeps or eats.
Placing your kitten near to or in the litter tray after eating or waking from sleep will help if toilet training seems a bit slow. As your kitten starts to play outside, the litter tray can also be placed outside to further encourage appropriate toileting.
Worming and Fleas
All kittens need to be treated for roundworms and if fleas are present, tapeworms too. Kittens are infected with worms from their mother early in life, so worming can start as early as 3 weeks of age. Flea Control is not just a summer problem. Fleas can cause anaemia in kittens and skin disease in cats.
Bravecto Plus spot-on for cats can be administered every 3 months from 9 weeks of age (kitten should weigh at least 1.2kg) and it kills fleas, ticks, roundworms and lungworms. Tapeworms will need to be treated with a single tablet effective against tapeworms once a year, though if your cat is on Bravecto Plus all year round, it is extremely unlikely to develop tapeworm.
Alternatively, tablets can be administered to treat worms in kittens and cats. They need to be given every 2 weeks, up until 12 weeks of age. From 12 weeks of age, continue to worm your cat every 3-4 months with a broad-spectrum wormer effective against tape and roundworms. Please ask our Customer Service team about the best flea treatment for your kitten.
Female kittens should be spayed at 4-6 months of age. Left any longer, pregnancy is almost a certainty. Males too, can be neutered at this age. Neutered males are far less likely to wander, which means less fighting and less chance of catching and spreading disease around the neighbourhood. We strongly recommend the de-sexing of all cats that are not intended for breeding. Contrary to popular belief, a female cat does not benefit at all from having a litter of kittens.
Kittens need vaccination to help protect them against both cat flu and enteritis. The primary vaccination course is made up of 2 injections; the first at 8-9 weeks of age, with the second or “booster” 3-4 weeks later. It takes 2 weeks after the final injection for the vaccination to be fully effective. A third booster is given at 6 months and then every 3 years after that to ensure continued protection. However, an annual health check is recommended and essential if the cat will be going into a boarding cattery.
At each vaccination visit your kitten will receive a thorough physical examination to ensure that he or she is healthy. You will also receive advice on how best to care for your new pet and it is a great chance to ask the vet any questions you may have.
Vaccinations are also available against Chlamydia and Feline ImmunodeficiencyVirus (FIV). Our Vets can discuss the importance of vaccinating against these diseases with respect to your kitten.
The pet equivalent of our health insurance plans are well worth considering. There are a number of different schemes and our customer services team will be able to give you brochures of the policies available.
Travelling to the Vet/Cattery
Getting your cat used to the carrier can make trips in the car a lot less stressful for you and the cat. Choosing a carrier with a removable lid makes it easier to get the cat in and out of the carrier. Acclimatising the cat to the carrier by having it available as a sleeping place in the home means they are used to going in and out of it. Having a piece of clothing with familiar smells on it inside the carrier can also make them feel more comfortable, as can the use of feliway pheromone spray which is sprayed on the inside walls of the carrier 15 minutes before the cat goes in.
When travelling ensure the carrier is secured in the car so it doesn’t move if you have to suddenly stop and alot of cats prefer the carrier to be covered up. Remember to also bring some spare bedding in case the cat soils the cage on the trip.
When you return home, remember that your cat will smell a bit different to normal to other cats so reintroduce to other cats in the household slowly with supervision.
Something else worth thinking about. A small ‘chip’ is injected under your pet’s skin to give permanent identification. The chip is detected and read by a scanner. Each animal has its own identification number that is stored on a readily accessible database. Talk to our customer service team about this.
Please feel free to ask any of our team any questions you may have.