Congratulations for your new companion! The arrival of this little "furball" comes with many responsibilities that you'll need to take care of all of its life, and especially during its first year. Below is information that could be especially useful. During your visit, the veterinarian will be happy to answer all your questions.
During your first visit, the veterinarian will determine with you which diseases your cat could be exposed to, and the appropriate vaccination schedule.
Though the schedule can vary, it is important that kittens receive the basic vaccines that give protection against infectious diseases such as panleukopenia, rhinotracheitis, feline calicivirus infection, and rabies.
Vaccination can begin as early as the age of 6 weeks, with a booster shot every 3 or 4 weeks until the cat reaches the age of 12 to 16 weeks.
Then, an annual exam is recommended and at that time, the veterinarian will discuss with you which vaccines your pet should receive during the year. Don't forget to tell the veterinarian if your cat will be going outside; the vaccine against leukemia will then be necessary.
At your first visit, a stool analysis (coprology) is recommended to identify the different intestinal parasites that your pet may have, to allow us to prescribe an appropriate treatment. Since your pet can be contaminated when it goes outside, a yearly analysis is ideal.
Sterilization (castration for males and ovariohysterectomy for females) will be done when your pet is around 6 months. To reduce the risk of complications, it is preferable that your pet not be in heat at the time of surgery.
We recommend preoperative blood tests to make sure that your cat can safely undergo anesthesia and to help in the selection of the appropriate anesthetic agent; this reduces anesthetic risks. All cats that have had elective (routine) surgery receive post-operative analgesics, so they will be more comfortable when they wake up and go home. Antibiotics can also be prescribed to reduce the risk of infections.
Until the age of 6 months, a kitten should be fed with food that will sustain good growth. Cats love to nibble; give them a specific amount of food per day, divided it into many meals (like snacks during the whole day).
As cats age, they are prone to obesity problems. To prevent this condition, avoid feeding them at will. If you have several cats, make sure that each one eats its own portion. Ideally, each one should have its own bowl.
When you change to adult cat food, make sure the transition is gradual; don't make an abrupt change as this could cause diarrhea and/or vomiting.
If you have several cats, make sure each one eats its portion; ideally, each pet should have its own bowl. As they get older, our pets are subject to obesity problems; to help avoid these problems, don't let them self-feed.
In Québec, cats can receive heartworm protection from June to November; products are readily available and easy to administer.
Since there are no screening tests (blood analysis) to efficiently detect this parasite in cats and because they are asymptomatic, it is difficult to know exactly how widespread this disease is among felines. This preventive treatment can be combined with a preventive treatment against infestations by fleas, mites, and some intestinal parasites. For this reason, it is strongly recommended.
Some kittens have ear mites; these are parasites that are easy to see with a microscope. The veterinarian may judge it necessary to do an ear smear in order to identify them. Do you want to see these mites? Ask a technician to show them to you under a microscope.
As with humans, cats can have ear infections; but with regular ear cleaning, you will be able to avoid this problem. Use an appropriate product and the proper technique; the veterinarian or the technician will show you how to proceed.
The golden rule: Don't cut too short and clip more often. Stroke the legs of your kitten often so that it gets used to being handled; this way, it will be less nervous when its nails are clipped. Clip your pet's nails when it is calm.
A little tip for your kitten: To prevent her from damaging your furniture, get her one or even several scratching posts and teach her how to use them from an early age! You can also give her treats when she scratches her post - but make sure to count these in the amount of food she gets, since they're often higher in calories.
As with people, your pet’s teeth should be brushed often. Of course, a specially formulated pet toothpaste should be used; one that does not contain fluoride. In addition, some food companies offer kibble especially made to reduce plaque and tartar build-up because of their abrasive action during mastication; please note that they do not replace brushing. Our technicians and veterinarians will be happy to give you advice on the best food, don’t hesitate to ask for advice.
Get the right information before giving medication from your pharmacy to your pet; human medications are often toxic for them. Call your veterinarian before playing doctor! You risk worsening your cat’s condition.