One of the most important responsibilities is booking your first vet appointment so you can give your kitten a healthy start on life. Here’s what to expect.
4 Things to Expect at Your Kitten’s First Vet Appointment
Welcoming a new kitten into your home is exciting, but it does come with responsibilities. One of the most important responsibilities is booking your first vet appointment so you can give your kitten a healthy start on life. Here’s what you can expect at your first appointment at 1st Pet:
1. Medical History Paperwork
Once your kitten comes in, we will gather information at the visit, including the following:
We will ask for some information beyond your name and contact information. We want to understand more about your home environment, such as if there are children or other pets in the home, if your kitten will be kept indoors, and what type of food you may be using so we can ensure your kitten stays as healthy as they can be.
Not all kittens will have a past written medical history. If you adopted your cat from a shelter, breeder, or pet store, you may have been provided with a form detailing what if any vaccines or other medical procedures that your kitten underwent. Please bring this with you to your first appointment at 1st Pet.
2. Basic Check-up
A kitten’s first check-up is usually simple and not too invasive. You and your cat will be placed in a room upon arrival to wait for the doctor’s visit. The following procedures may be done at your visit. The doctor will guide you about which are appropriate for your kitten.
The physical exam provides your vet with a baseline of your kitten’s health. The physical exam typically includes weighing your kitten, checking their temperature, and looking in their ears and mouth. Your doctor may also palpate your kitten’s organs and check their limbs to make sure there are no hidden injuries or concerns. We will also listen closely to their heart and lungs to make sure everything sounds well as well as looks and feels normal.
Ask your technician or the vet if you want your kitten’s nails trimmed at the first visit and if you would like to be shown how to do this. Keeping your cat’s nails trimmed is important for several reasons: Most importantly, overgrown nails can grow into your cat’s paw pad, causing pain (including difficulty walking on the affected limb) and infections. Keeping nails trimmed also helps protect yourself and your furniture from unnecessary scratches!
We may also recommend blood tests, particularly if your kitten doesn’t have past records from a shelter or similar organization showing that these tests have already been performed – (though we may wait for one of the next kitten visits to do any blood testing). All kittens should have a test to verify that your kitten doesn’t have any common viruses, such as feline leukemia (FELV) or feline immunodeficiency (FIV). We also recommend that every kitten has at least one fecal (poop) test to look for parasites, even if their stools look completely normal (as the eggs of parasites are not visible to the naked eye and there are many parasites that can be given to people as well). We may recommend treatment for parasites even if testing is not done and/or we do not see any signs of them, due to the risk of people getting them from their pets. Other testing to check that basic functions, such as kidney function and white blood cell count may be discussed depending on how your pet is doing and their history.
3. Medication & Treatments
Any treatments will be done in your room at your first visit. These treatments are designed to ensure your kitten has a healthy start to their new life in your home. These include the following:
Your vet will likely recommend providing the three kitten vaccines, which are for FVRCP, feline leukemia (FeLV), and rabies. The FVRCP vaccine protects against feline rhinotracheitis, feline calicivirus, and feline panleukopenia. The FVRCP and FeLV vaccines will be part of a series that is recommended to begin no earlier than six to eight weeks of age. Each of these would need to be repeated (“boostered”) after 3-4 weeks. For the FVRCP vaccine, this continues until your pet is over 16 weeks of age. Your kitten is eligible for the rabies vaccine once they are 14 to 16 weeks old, and then they will need a booster every one to three years. After your kitten is an adult, the FeLV vaccine is not considered a core vaccine and we only use it if your cat will have exposure to other cats where we do not know their health and vaccine history (like for indoor/outdoor cats). Rabies is not specifically required for cats in our state, so it is not a “core” vaccine, but we do recommend it.
Depending on your kitten’s health, the vet may need to provide additional treatments. It’s not uncommon for a young cat to have ear mites, for example, or to suffer from fleas or an intestinal parasite. Your vet will begin treatment in the office and then provide you with any necessary medication to complete the treatments at home. Ask about a monthly anti-parasitic medication that we can prescribe to prevent fleas, ticks and both intestinal and heart worms.
4. Future Recommendations
Much like humans, cats will remain in better health with regular checkups and ongoing care for any health conditions. Your vet will make specific recommendations tailored to your cat’s needs.
Spay or Neuter
Often, kittens from shelters are already spayed or neutered before they are put up for adoption, but this isn’t always the case for kittens adopted from private owners. Your vet will recommend an ideal time to schedule the procedure depending upon your kitten’s age. Generally, between four and seven months old, before your cat finishes puberty, is recommended.
All kittens will require follow-up visits for booster vaccines (several in the first few months of their care) as well as their annual checkups. We can help keep track of that for you with reminders for your appointments. If your kitten has any other small health concerns, such as a parasite infection or other illness, then follow-up appointments or ongoing care recommendations may also be made.
Contact 1st Pet Veterinary Centers to schedule your kitten’s first vet appointment today.