Congratulations on the new addition to your family. This is an exciting time for everyone and our job is to make sure that you have many quality years together. This article gives you some great pointers to get your kitten off to the best start possible. So read on and if you have any further questions please ask one of the team.
Getting the right food for your cat is one of the most important decisions you'll make. The right choice will help keep your pet fit for life.
At Roundwood Vets we believe that best food your kitten can get is the Hill’s Vet Essentials kitten range. It is designed to satisfy all of your cat's dietary needs from the beginning of its life, right up until the end. It's a fact that if you feed your cat a diet like Hill’s Science Diet it will live a longer healthier life because it is less likely to suffer from problems like obesity and dental disease.
As your cat gets older its dietary requirements change and different breeds have different needs as well. With our animal nutrition experience and range of premium pet foods you don't need to worry about this because we will recommend the right diet for your cat regardless of its age, breed or lifestyle.
6-12 weeks: 4 meals daily of Hill’s Vet Essentials kitten food.
12-16 weeks: 3 meals daily of Hill’s Vet Essentials kitten food.
From about 16 weeks: 2 meals daily of Hill’s Vet Essentials kitten food. Change to an adult complete diet at about 1 year.
Remember if you are feeding Hill’s Vet Essentials you do not need to add any form of supplementation or milk.
Vaccinations are an essential part of keeping your pet fit and healthy. At Roundwood Vets, we perform a health check and vaccination for your pet each year to ensure it is in tip-top condition.
Your kitten should have a primary course of two vaccinations starting with the first at nine weeks, the second at twelve weeks of age. Remember older kittens still need vaccinating if the breeder has not already done it. We recommend that kittens should not go out into public areas until after their second vaccination.
Once adult, your cat should receive yearly booster vaccinations at its annual health check.
Parasite Control – Worms, Ticks and Fleas
There are a number of parasites that pose a threat to your kitten and your family. Understanding each and using the right products to protect your pet is the key to avoiding problems.
The important parasites to be aware of are:
Fleas – Fleas are a very common, highly irritating problem for cats, who can develop very serious allergies to flea bites. It is therefore essential to treat your pet monthly with a preventative and also treat your home against flea eggs and larvae every 12 months.
Roundworms – Did you know infected cats pass millions of roundworm eggs into the environment? These eggs can infect children and cause blindness and asthma. So you should worm your kitten each month. This is especially important if your cat is going to be around children regularly or toilets outdoors.
At Roundwood Vets we will assess the risk to your pet and your family from each parasite and recommend a personalised parasite protection plan accordingly.
We would recommend not purchasing parasite products from a pet shop or supermarket as they often stock poor quality products which can cause serious harm to your pets.
Neutering Your Kitten
We recommend that cats are neutered at 5-6 months old. Not only does this prevent unwanted pregnancy, but it also has several health benefits to our pets.
Neutered male cats have a reduced chance of spraying urine in the house.
Neutered male cats are also less territorial, so they roam around outdoors much less, reducing their chances of getting into catfights and being involved in car accidents when crossing roads.
Unneutered female cats can behave very erratically when on heat and also are very likely to become pregnant and have several litters of kittens.
Neutering Myths Debunked
Neutering your pet will not change its personality.
It is not necessary for a queen to have a season before neutering.
If you are considering breeding from your pet you should weigh up all the pros and cons carefully. If things do not go according to plan it can be time consuming and expensive.
Further advice about breeding can be obtained from books or at the practice. Please also think carefully about all the unwanted cats and kittens stuck in shelters that have no hope of getting a home.
Insurance for your pet is something we strongly recommend. Veterinary fees can be expensive. There is no NHS for animals but many people want the same quality of care and treatment for their pets. Many of the more complicated procedures can cost hundreds if not thousands of pounds!
Microchipping is a unique way of identifying your pet. A small microchip is easily implanted under the skin of your kitten's neck during a check-up. Should your pet go missing, most rescue centres and vets can scan for these chips and identify you as the owner.
Cat’s teeth, like our own, are susceptible to cavities and tartar. Regular oral hygiene is, therefore, an essential part of the care of your pet. Daily tooth brushing with a soft child's toothbrush is recommended. We stock a range of toothpaste, brushes and dental diets to keep your pet’s teeth shiny and bright. If you do not brush your pet’s teeth then it is very likely that your cat will require a scale and a polish each year to help control dental disease.
Toys, Playing & Training
Your kitten will need lots of toys to keep it occupied. Try not to buy toys with bits that can come loose and be swallowed. Avoid playing with cotton thread and wool if the kitten is unsupervised as these can be easily swallowed and cause serious problems.
Most kittens will automatically use a litter tray without needing to be trained. While the kitten is young a litter tray should always be readily available for use. If, as the kitten gets older, you would like him or her to use the garden instead the litter tray can gradually be moved nearer to the door, then outside and then into the garden before removing it altogether.
Roundwood Vets is open longer and later than other local vets (8:30am – 8:00pm Monday - Wednesday , 8:30am - 7:30pm Thursday and Friday, 8:30am - 12pm Saturday.) After hours we refer emergencies to a local pet accident and emergency centre. In the event that your pet becomes unwell outside of normal practice hours, just call our number and you will have the option to be connected to our emergency service.
Our practice is built to help your kitten be a Vital Pet. As such we are here to ensure you will have lots of fun and pleasure from your cat over the coming years as it lives a happy, healthy and long life.
Should you need further advice about the health or welfare of your cat then make Roundwood Vets your first port of call.
For any more information or to book any of your kitten appointments at Roundwood Vets call us 020 8459 4729.
Your Kitten’s First Year - Health Visit Schedule
1st Visit - 9 weeks old - Health check up, vaccine and microchip. Plus advice on parasite control, diet toilet training
2nd Visit - 12 weeks old - Health check up and vaccine. Plus advice on parasite control and diet.
3rd Visit - 5-6 months old - Neutering and dental health assessment to ensure all teeth developing properly.
4th visit - 14 months - 1st year booster vaccines and wellness assessment.