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Welcoming a new kitten into the home is an exciting time for a pet parent and their family. At the same time, taking care of a new kitten is a significant responsibility. Kitten preventative care is essential to ensure that the young cat lives a long, happy, healthy life.
Kitten preventative care can prevent serious cat health issues later. A good place to start with kitten preventative care is making sure they get routine wellness visits. A wellness exam involves a thorough nose-to-tail inspection during which a vet checks the kitten for signs of potential health concerns. The vet will go over the kitten’s life at home and provide any necessary vaccines.
Vets recommend that kittens be spayed or neutered as early as five months old. One of the main reasons is to avoid pregnancy in adult cats. It can also help cats to live longer, healthier lives. Spaying a female kitten before her first heat cycle can prevent uterine infections and uterine cancer while also reducing the risk of developing breast (mammary) cancer. Neutering a male kitten prevents testicular cancer and reduces the risk of prostate problems.
While cats and kittens are less likely to get heartworms than dogs, they’re still at risk. Heartworm disease presents different symptoms in cats than it does in dogs, and it can be harder to detect. According to the American Heartworm Society, kittens should start taking a heartworm preventative at eight weeks of age and get tested every twelve months. A kitten’s dose depends on their body weight, not their age.
Pet parents should also use regular flea and tick preventatives on their kittens starting once they are 8 weeks or older and over two pounds. Even fully indoor kittens are still at risk, especially if there are other pets in the household that spend time outside. By preventing fleas and ticks, a pet parent can help avoid issues like tapeworm, bartonellosis, and Lyme disease.
A healthy diet is a critical component of good overall health and wellbeing. A kitten’s needs are different from an adult cat’s, though. Kittens need a kitten-specific food that has all the nutrients kittens need to support proper growth and development. High-quality wet food can provide these nutrients and offers adequate hydration. In the case of a very young kitten dependent on its mother’s milk or formula, pet parents will need to make the transition to solid food gradually.
If a pet parent has questions about kitten nutrition or the best foods to feed, they can consult with their vet or an online vet for advice.
Roughly 50% to 90% of cats over four experience some form of preventable dental disease. Fortunately, there are several things a pet parent can do early in their kitten’s life to avoid oral health issues.
One thing a pet parent can do is brush their kitten’s teeth with a soft-bristled brush and cat-safe toothpaste. The earlier a pet parent starts, the easier it may be to acclimate a kitten to the routine and help them feel comfortable with it. Pet parents can also use things like:
Cats are meticulous self-groomers, but that doesn’t mean they can’t use a little help. Regular brushing of both long and short-haired kittens can help remove loose hair, reducing the risk of hairballs. For long-haired kittens, grooming gets rid of potentially uncomfortable tangles.
Brushing also distributes natural oils through a kitten’s fur and improves blood circulation. That can help to improve their skin health and the appearance of their coat. Regular nail trimming and ear cleaning can also help keep kittens clean and healthy.
Even the most cautious pet parent can lose a frightened kitten during a move, natural disaster, or while distracted. A collar with an ID tag could come off, making the odds of finding a lost pet slim. The best thing a pet parent can do to increase the likelihood of being reunited with a lost kitten is having them microchipped and keeping the information up-to-date.
Even the healthiest kittens can have an accident, come down with an illness, or develop issues later in life. A pet health insurance plan can help a pet parent afford the cost of expensive treatments if the need ever arises. Pet parents should sign up as early as possible to ensure that any health conditions or injuries are covered.
Pet parents want the best for their cats through every stage of life. Starting early with kitten preventative care is one of the best ways to ensure a long, healthy, and happy life together.
If a pet parent ever has any questions or concerns about their kitten, Fuzzy’s team of experienced vets is on call 24/7 to help. They can provide answers and advice, saving a pet parent time, money, and unnecessary stress. Sign up today to become a Fuzzy member!