Caring for a kitten
Greencross Vets are by your side when it comes to caring for your new kitten. To make sure they start off on the right paw, follow our advice.
A new fluffy member of the family can be overwhelming and exciting, for both you and the kitten. Introduce your kitten to the family with as little noise and over-excitement as possible, and let eager visitors know that your new family member needs to settle in before they can be introduced. Ensure your kitten gets plenty of quiet time for naps, especially in the first 24 hours while they’re getting used to their new environment.
How do I housetrain my kitten?
Initially, it is important to keep your kitten confined to a small area with an appropriately sized litter box. As long as this area is free from other loose materials, like clothing or bedding strewn on the floor, your kitten will likely be drawn to the litter box when they need to use the bathroom.
Generally, kittens will need to go to the toilet after they eat, when they wake up, and after play. At those times, place the kitten in their litter box and praise them for their work. A kitten does not need to be confined continuously but should be supervised and frequently brought back to their litter box to prevent accidents.
The diseases that vaccinations protect against are serious and often hard to treat. Vaccinations are vital to your kitten’s health. Complete protection can only be achieved if all vaccines are given, and your kitten is kept away from public areas and other pets until after their 16-week vaccine.
- 6 to 8 weeks old – Feline Enteritis and Cat Flu + FIV*
- 10-12 weeks old – Feline Enteritis and Cat Flu + FIV* + Leukaemia*
- 14-16 weeks old – Feline Enteritis and Cat Flu + FIV* + Leukaemia*
* Please consult with your Greencross Vet to tailor the most appropriate vaccinations for your cat.
Adult cats require annual boosters to maintain immunity.
Kittens should be wormed every two weeks until they are 12 weeks of age, then every month after that until they are six months old. From then, and depending on which product is used, worming your cat every three months will maintain effective worm prevention. Worming should be performed regardless of whether worms are seen in stools or not, as many are too small to be seen with the naked eye. A high-quality all-wormer should be used and is available in a variety of forms. Speak to your Greencross Vet for more information about worming.
Heartworm is transferred via a mosquito bite, so all pets are susceptible and continuous lifelong preventative medication is required. The easiest method for protecting cats is a spot-on application. The drops are simply applied to the skin at the back of the neck. Whilst it is ideal to tests cats before starting heartworm medication in mosquito prone areas, testing is challenging and more than one test may be needed. Heartworm tends to occur within certain geographical locations of Australia, but if your cat travels, they may be at risk. Check with your Greencross Vet about the best product to use on kittens and when you should start treatment.
Preventing fleas in the first place is the best way to stop infestation before it starts. Speak to your Greencross Vet about the most appropriate flea prevention treatment for your kitten.
Paralysis ticks are found around bushes, scrubland and riverbanks predominantly along the east coast of Australia. Traditionally, tick season is mainly August to January; however, ticks can be present at any time of the year. If you and your pet live in a tick-prone area, you should check them daily. Prevention can be difficult, so ask your veterinarian for more information as treatments vary. No method of tick prevention is 100% effective, so you still need to search your pet for ticks every day.
Kittens should be desexed between four and six months of age. Desexed pets are less likely to roam and fight. Several behavioural problems can be reduced with desexing, plus unplanned litters are avoided. There is no advantage in allowing female kittens to have a ‘heat’ or litter before considering desexing. Learn more about desexing your kitten.
Complete and balanced nutrition is essential, particularly during your pet’s growth period in the first one to two years of life. Please ask our healthcare team for advice on feeding your kitten the most appropriate food for a long and healthy life.