Caring For Your Kitten
Basic Vaccination - 3x F3
Kittens need three F3 vaccinations four weeks apart:
8 weeks - Feline Enteritis and Feline Respiratory Diseases (includes Rhinotracheitis virus and calicivirus)
12 weeks - Feline Enteritis and Feline Respiratory Disease
16 weeks - Feline Enteritis and Feline Respiratory Disease
F3 + FIV Vaccination
8 weeks - Feline Enteritis and Feline Respiratory Diseases (includes Rhinotracheitis virus and calicivirus) and FIV
12 weeks - Feline Enteritis and Feline Respiratory Diseases (includes Rhinotracheitis virus and calicivirus) and FIV
16 weeks - Feline Enteritis and Feline Respiratory Diseases (includes Rhinotracheitis virus and calicivirus) and FIV
Annual Booster Vaccination
- Outdoor cats and cats going to boarding kennels require annual boosters
- Isolated, indoor cats may be vaccinated triennially (every three years) as pet the guidelines set out by the Australian Veterinary Association.
Cats need to be wormed regularly to remove parasitic worms, which live in the intestine. Kittens should be treated every 2 weeks until 12 weeks of age, then monthly until 6 months of age. After this, all cats should be treated for roundworm, hookworm and tapeworm once every 3 months, using drops, paste or tablets.
From July 1st 1999 all cats/kittens being sold, re-homed or born are by law to be microchipped before being housed. Microchip implantation is required to be performed by 12 weeks of age. Payment of the lifetime registration fee is due at the local council when the animal is 6 months of age. From July 1st 2020, if your Kitten is not desexed before 4 months of age, payment for an annual permit is required as well as a one-off lifetime registration fee. We recommend desexing your cat before 4 months of age to take advantage of the lower fee for desexed animals.
The key to a balanced diet is a variety of the right mixed nutrients. Fresh meats, vegetables, fruit, fish, offal (liver, heart, kidney), canned food and a good quality dry food. Dry cat food is essential as it ensures your cat receives the correct balance of vitamins and minerals, especially important in kittens that need the correct amount of calcium and phosphorus for their growing bones. Kittens require a ‘kitten’ diet for the first 12 months of life. The hard consistency of dry food is important as it breaks away plaque and tartar from the cats teeth helping with dental hygiene and reducing the need for dental procedures.
Raw bones such as chicken necks and chicken wings should be offered to your pet to help keep their breath and teeth, fresh and clean.
Kittens from 6-12 weeks need three small meals daily of a good quality kitten food, then from 12-20 weeks two meals daily, then as an adult cat a small snack in the morning (if desired) and the main meal at night.
Foods to avoid: chocolate, onion, macadamia nuts, grapes, sultanas and avocados as these can be toxic, even in small doses.
Fresh water should be available at all times.
Flea Treatment and Prevention
Remember that 95% of fleas live in the environment so as well as treating the cat it is als important to treat the environment, i.e. clean your cats bedding regularly by washing and vacuuming.
It is best to start flea prevention as soon as you welcome your pet into your home, to minimise the chance of fresh fleas eggs contaminating your environment. There are several flea products on the market including tablets or spot-on applications.
No product is 100% effective against ticks. So it is still recommended to give your pet daily searches. There are not as many tick preventative products on the market for cats as there are for dogs. The products we recommend are Bravecto for cats and Revolution Plus. (both spot ons)
Tick poisoning, caused by the toxic saliva from the female tick Ixodes Holocyclus, is a serious condition in dogs and cats, and in fact all susceptible mammals. The Ixodes Holocyclus tick species occurs only along the Eastern Australian Coast, so than means ticks are found just about just about everywhere in the Hastings region. They are blue-grey in colour and vary in size from 3mm to 20mm. Ticks are most commonly active between the months of August and January, so daily searching of your pet is a must during these times, with the majority of ticks found on the front section of your pet around the head and neck area. However, ticks can be found anywhere on your pet!
The earliest signs seen in dogs and cats usually occur two to five days after the female tick commences to feed on the host. The signs are extremely variable and can include any of the following:
- Weakness or loss of coordination in the hind legs
- Difficulty breathing or rapid breathing
- Change in meow
- Progressive paralysis to include the forelegs
- retching , coughing, gagging or vomiting
As soon as the symptoms of tick paralysis appear, the animal must receive immediate treatment to ensure survival. NEVER under any circumstances assume that an animal will improve because a tick has been found and removed. Animals may continue to worsen for up to 48 hours following removal of all ticks. The longer the delay before treatment is commenced the poorer the prognosis. Never give anything by mouth as these animals frequently have difficulty swallowing.
When removing the tick it has been shown that the best method is to simply use tweezers or your fingers and pluck the tick off without bursting it. It is not recommended to kill the tick prior to removal.
Treatment consists of sedation followed by the injection of anti-serum, which is specific for the toxin of the tick. The anti-serum will save most patients if given early enough. More advanced cases which are having difficulty with respiration and swallowing need intensive treatment to avoid fatal complications such as aspiration or asphyxiation. Insecticidal rinses are used to kill any remaining ticks and to aid in keeping the patient cool. Hence careful hospitalisation is an absolute necessity. Despite the best treatment complications can sometimes arise such as heart failure, anaphylactic serum reactions and aspiration pneumonia. However, if treatment is sought rapidly, most patients will make a complete recovery.
Desexing is an important part of pet ownership. It should be looked upon as a means not only of helping to control the number of unwanted strays but also as a method of prevention against disease later in life. We desex kittens from 4 months of age. The timing is more crucial for the female as it is far more preferable to do the desexing operation when the cat is not pregnant or in season.
Female animals undergo a procedure called an ovariohysterectomy, or spey. In this operation the uterus (womb) and ovaries are removed. The female will therefore have no further seasons and will not be able to fall pregnant.
It has been medically proven that if a female cat is speyed before her first season, the chances of developing mammary (breast) cancer later in life is reduced to almost zero. In addition, a common disease that affects entire animals is a pyometra. This is a serious infection of the uterus and can be life threatening. Obviously, if the uterus is removed at desexing, the risk of the condition is eliminated.
Male animals undergo the procedure called a castration. In this operation, the testes, which produce the male hormone testosterone and also sperm, are removed. This means that males can no longer cause pregnancy. It also eliminates unwanted male behavioural traits like spraying urine, aggression and straying to find a mate. There are also many medical benefits in castration including prevention of testicular cancer, prostatic disease, anal tumours and perineal hernias.
Animals put on weight after desexing
This is not true. By removing organs that produce hormones your pet’s metabolism may be slowed. Carefully feeding your pet the correct amount of good quality food will prevent obesity.
Females should have a litter before desexing
There is no evidence at all to support this. In fact, as you can see from above, the earlier your female is desexed the better.
Remember that humane societies are not able to re-home all unwanted animals. Every week, hundreds are euthanased. By desexing our animals, we can keep the numbers of unwanted strays to a minimum.
Before you start training your cats to do something or to stop doing something, you need to look at how cats learn. They don’t understand English, they can’t read books or attend lectures. They learn by experience. If the experience is good, they will try to repeat it. If the experience is unpleasant, they will try to avoid it in the future. They enjoy raking the furniture with their claws, so they continue to do it. But quite a shock when they stick their nose in a candle flame, so they won’t do that again.
The key to training is to make sure that whatever you want your cat to do is exceedingly rewarding and pleasurable. Whatever you don’t want your cat to indulge in must never be rewarding or fun, in fact, it must be unpleasant.
Sometimes we unintentionally reward out cats for obnoxious behaviour. A common complaint is that the cat pounces on the owner at five in the morning, meowing up a storm and generally being a pest. What do the owners do? They get up and feed the cat, play with him or let him outside. Kitty has learned that his behaviour get him exactly what he want. You need to push the cat off the bed or just ignore him until your ready to get up.
Motivation is the key to training. Money and love are great motivators for people. Toys, walks, car rides and praise can do it for dog. For most cats, it’s food. They care less about “good kitty” than about good kitty treats. So to motivate your cat, you need to reward him/her with a treat every time she uses the scratching post, lets you brush her, or brings you a beer from the fridge. Scratch her head and tell her she’s a pretty girl at the same time, but make sure you give her that treat.
The best time to train is right before meal time when your cat is most motivated by food. Only train for short periods at a time (15 minutes max) or your at may lose interest. As soon as he/she stops responding, stop training.