Kitten Education

Kitten Education

How do I insure that my kitten is well socialized?

The socialization period for cats is between 2 and 12 weeks of age. During that time, the kitten is very impressionable to social influences. If it has good experiences with men, women, children, dogs, other cats, etc., it is likely to accept them throughout life. If the experiences are absent or unpleasant, it may become apprehensive or adverse to any of them. Therefore, during the period of socialization, we encourage you to expose your cat to as many types of social events and influences as possible.

Vaccinations

The core vaccinations for cats are Rabies and FVRCP (panleukopenia virus, Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, and calicivirus.)

In order to be effective, the FVRCP vaccine must be given as a series of injections. The schedule for these vaccines may vary depending on several factors. The rabies vaccine is given starting at 12 weeks of age.

The Feline Leukemia vaccine is appropriate for any cat but a necessity if your cat does or will go outside, or if you have another cat that goes in and out. This deadly disease is transmitted by contact with other cats, especially when fighting occurs. This vaccine will be administered in a two part series initially and maintained yearly thereafter.

Microchipping Your Cat

The microchip is a tiny computer chip, about the size of a grain of rice, programmed with an identification number. Once an animal is injected with a chip, it can be identified throughout its life. A special scanner is used to send a radio signal to the chip to read the identification number. The number is displayed on the scanner, and the person reading the scanner can contact a national registry to find out who the pet belongs to.

The microchips are enclosed in biocompatible glass and small enough to fit into a hypodermic needle, making injecting them as easy as giving a vaccine.

Microchips are permanent and can’t be lost, altered, or destroyed. Pet owners have been reunited with chipped pets that have been missing for years or that have traveled thousands of miles.

After your pet is chipped, you will be given information about how to contact the national registry to update your information. Remember to do this whenever you change your address or phone number.

Heartworm Disease

Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal condition caused by parasitic worms living in the arteries of the lungs and occasionally in the right side of the heart of dogs, cats and other species. Dogs and cats of any age or breed are susceptible to infection.

Heartworm disease has been reported in all 50 states. The map shows particularly endemic areas based on the number of cases reported by clinics.

Cats may exhibit clinical signs that are very non-specific, mimicking many other feline diseases. Chronic clinical signs include vomiting, gagging, difficulty or rapid breathing, lethargy and weight loss. Signs associated with the first stage of heartworm disease, when the heartworms enter a blood vessel and are carried to the pulmonary arteries, are often mistaken for feline asthma or allergic bronchitis,
when in fact they are actually due to a syndrome newly defined as Heartworm Associated Respiratory Disease ( HARD ).

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Intestinal Parasites

Intestinal parasites are common in kittens. Kittens can become infected with parasites from their mother or through contaminated water, soil, or ingesting feces. The microscopic examination of a stool sample will usually help us to determine the presence of intestinal parasites. Even if we do not get a stool sample, we recommend the use of a deworming product that is safe and effective against several of the most common worms cats can contract. It is important that it be repeated because the deworming medication only kills the adult worms. Within 3-4 weeks, the larval stages will become adults and need to be treated. Kittens with moderate to severe infestations can become malnourished and sick from the parasites. Additionally, some of these internal parasites (roundworms, hookworms, giardia) can be transmitted to humans.

Spaying/Neutering Your Cat

Spayed cats are at much lower risk for ovarian cancers and cysts, mammary gland tumors, and uterine infections. Unspayed females are also more likely to exhibit inappropriate urine marking during their heat cycles—not to mention their aggravating wailing and crying to be let outside.

Neutered males are less susceptible to prostate disease and testicular cancer. Castrated male cats are often more affectionate and people-oriented, and neutering your cat usually keeps him from spraying his objectionably strong-smelling urine in your home to mark his territory. Neutered males are also less likely to wander from home, so neuter your pet before his heart leads him into the path of an oncoming car.

It is recommended to spay or neuter your cat by 6 months of age.

Resources

How to play with your cat
How to choose a carrier
General Tips for Bringing a New Cat Home
How should I introduce my new kitten to my other cat?
Cat Body Language
What Your Kitten Needs