Welcoming a new kitten into your home is an exciting time, but it's important to ensure their ongoing health and well-being. To help you prepare for this journey, our Santa Clarita team has provided this checklist for your kitten's first visit to the vet!
When you bring a new kitten into your home, it is crucial to have it examined by a veterinarian. This is not only essential for the well-being of your kitten but also to ensure that it is free from any contagious infections.
If you notice any signs of illness in your kitten, such as watery eyes, sneezing, difficulty breathing, or loss of appetite, it is important to seek veterinary care as soon as possible.
Should I Bring Anything To My Kitten's First Vet Visit?
Some things are nice to have ready before the initial checkup, whether you go immediately to the doctor after picking up your new kitten or after a day or two at home. These include:
- Any information and paperwork provided by the shelter or breeder
- Notes of any concerns you have about the kitten
- Stool sample
- Cat carrier
- Cat Treats
If you're taking your kitten to the vet for the first time, make sure to bring any adoption documentation with you. Your veterinarian should also be aware of all treatments and immunizations that have already been administered to the kitten. If it is not possible, write down what you were told at the adoption so you don't forget.
What Should I Expect During Their First Physical Exam?
The staff and veterinarian will ask you about your kitten's history and do a physical examination. They will also search for other parasites like fleas and mites. The vet will examine your kitten's eyes, ears, lips, skin, coat, and entire body. This includes palpating the abdomen to feel the organs and using a stethoscope to listen to the heart and lungs. A stool sample may also be taken to see whether you have any underlying health issues.
For optimal health, weaning time, and socialization, kittens should be adopted at the age of 8 to 10 weeks. If your kitten is young, especially if it is 6 weeks or under, the vet will need to examine the kitten's nutrition and hydration status and offer any necessary supplementation.
Will the Vet Perform Any Tests During This First Visit?
Yes, your kitten will likely need both a fecal exam and a blood test. Here are some details about both:
Your veterinarian may ask you to provide a stool sample from your kitten for testing. This test helps identify common intestinal parasites like worms and giardia, among other potential issues.
Since not all parasites can be detected through fecal exams and a significant number of kittens may have them, your vet may administer deworming medication during each visit. It's important to remove these parasites from your cat's system as they can also be transmitted to humans.
The American Association of Feline Practitioners recommends testing all newly adopted cats, regardless of age, for FeLV (feline leukemia virus) and FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus).
If your kitten is younger than nine weeks, your vet may suggest waiting until it reaches at least nine weeks for testing. If you have other cats at home, it's advisable to keep them separated until they have tested negative, in case your new kitten has a contagious disease.
What is the Typical Cost of a Kitten's First Vet Visit?
The first vet visit, as well as subsequent routine exams, can vary from vet to vet, cat to cat, and pet to pet. For an accurate estimate of the cost, please contact your veterinarian directly.
What Are Some Important Questions To Ask During Kitten's First Visit?
Here are some key questions to consider asking your veterinarian during your kitten's first visit. While there are many other inquiries you may have, these will help you begin your journey as a responsible cat owner:
- Is my cat a healthy weight?
- Do you have any grooming recommendations for my cat?
- Are there any vaccinations my cat needs?
- Where are the nearby emergency services for off-hours or holidays?
- What do you recommend for flea and tick prevention?
- How is my cat’s dental health?
- Any cat food label questions such as how to read them, what to look for, etc.
- Are they eating the right food and getting proper nutrition?
- Are they sleeping too much or too little?
- What resources are available at this vet clinic? (ex. X-rays, labs, etc.)
- Are there any common parasites or pests in the area? How can I prevent them?
- Is cat insurance worth it and if so, who do you recommend?
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.