New Kitten Information

Tips and advice for your new kitten.


What To Expect

Kitten timeline for all stages of life.

7-12 weeks

  • Social skills are developing through play. Interacting with humans is important.
  • Kittens love to play (hide & seek, open paper bags with no handles, cardboard boxes). Interactive play with your kitten is great.
  • A common misconception is that strings are a good toy for a cat. While the cay may enjoy playing with string/yarn, this is something that you should definitely avoid. Consumption of string may cause what is known as a “linear foreign body” (which causes vomiting, lack of appetite, and a need for expensive surgery to remove the foreign body).
  • Kittens experience rapid growth and motor skills development.
  • Feed a high quality kitten food.
  • Your kitten needs their first set of vaccines at 8 weeks, and the second 3-4 weeks later. They will continue to receive vaccines every 3-4 weeks until they have received a series of 4 FVRCP vaccines (Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, and Panleukopenia – all upper respiratory viruses). The rabies vaccine will be done around 16-20 weeks of age. The first rabies vaccine is only good for 1 year, and then each one after that is good for 3 years. If your cat is going to be outdoors at any time, they should also be vaccinated against Feline Leukemia. Talk with our veterinarian or veterinary technician about whether or not this is necessary for your cat.
  • Kittens should also be treated for intestinal parasites. Bringing in a same day fecal sample to be sent out to the lab will provide the results of which intestinal parasites the kitten needs treatment for. This can be done at 2-3 weeks of age.
  • Topical flea treatment can begin at 8 weeks of age.
  • Your kitten should be tested for Feline Leukemia and FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus) once it is at least 8 weeks of age.
  • You should have one more litter box than the number of cats you have (Ex: If you have 3 cats, you should have at least 4 litter boxes). This will help to minimize inappropriate elimination caused by territorial issues.
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3-6 months

  • Your kitten will start losing baby teeth as the adult teeth develop.
  • Continue feeding a high quality kitten food.
  • Play with your kittens feet from a young age to get them used to the feeling. You’ll want to start trimming their nails regularly at a young age so that they are accustomed to it and do not fight when you try when they are much larger. Reward them with a treat after they allow you to trim their nails as a means of positive reinforcement.
  • Your kitten should be spayed or neutered before 6 months of age.
  • It is important that during this time you teach your kitten what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior. For some kittens, unwanted behaviors can be discouraged by using a spray bottle filled with water. Putting foil or double-sided tape on countertops/surfaces that you do not want them to climb on may discourage them from doing so.
  • It is a good idea to get a scratching post at an early age. This will encourage the kitten to do their normal scratching/stretching behavior on the post instead of your furniture. If your kitten is doing unwanted scratching in a certain area – try placing a scratching post in that area to deter them. If your kitten is uninterested or not using the scratching post, you can try using catnip or catnip spray on the scratching post to attract the kitten to it.
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6-12 months

  • Switching your kitten to adult food between 9-12 months of age is a great idea. Switch the diet slowly over a month. Start by mixing ¼ new food with ¾ old food, after several days switch to ½ and ½ then ¾ new food ¼ old food, etc. until you are giving 100% new food. Good diets for cats include Hill’s Science Diet, Royal Canin, Purina Pro Plan, Eukanuba, and Iams.
  • Your kitten will continue growing – for up to 4 years.
  • He will begin playing the “dominance” game with you. Continue giving lots of affection and attention. Be sure to discourage play biting.
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Helpful Information

What you should know to protect love.

Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV )

Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV ) is a viral disease that 2-3% of all felines in the United States currently have. FeLV is the most common cause of cancer in cats.

It can cause various blood disorders and can often lead to a state of immune deficiency that leaves the cat susceptible to many other diseases. FeLV cats tend to live an average of 2-3 years post infection under ideal conditions, though many can live longer. Once infected, a cat can appear to be healthy for months or even years before symptoms begin to show.

Young outdoor cats and untested multi-cat households are more susceptible to the disease than single cat houses. Though FeLV can NOT be transmitted to humans or dogs, there are many ways that it can be transmitted between cats.

Most Common
  • Bite Wounds
  • Nursing mothers (roughly 20% of mothers pass the virus to their kittens)

  • Mutual grooming
  • Mouth to nose contact
  • Nose to nose contact
  • Shared food dishes, water bowls, and litter boxes

Once infected, there are two stages that the virus goes through inside of the animal.
  • Primary stage: The Virus starts in the blood stream and saliva during the primary stage. Some cats are actually able to fight off the virus through their own immune system and eliminate it
  • Secondary stage: The infection spreads from the blood stream to the bone marrow and other tissue. At this point the cat will never be able to fight off the disease and will live the rest of its life carrying it.
Tests can be performed per the owner’s request during a normal visit and is highly recommended before introducing any new cats to your current population. The test that the Veterinary Wellness Center uses detects both primary and secondary stage infections. For this reason we require a secondary test 30 to 90 days after the initial test. This 90 day period gives an adequate amount of time for the disease to either be eliminated or progress to the secondary stage, which provides the most accurate results.

If your cat has been determined to actually be positive then we suggest organic diet supplemented with digestive enzymes and vitamins. Please remember to also give your cat filtered fresh water. At the first sign of illness FeLV positive felines should be seen immediately to receive antibiotic therapy.
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HomeAgain is an advanced lost pet recovery service dedicated to the safety and well-being of your pet.  Our system is best utilized when a microchip with a unique ID number is injected between the shoulder blades of your pet.  This can be done by a veterinarian, if your pet is not already microchipped.  A veterinarian simply injects a microchip about the size of a grain of rice (12mm), beneath the surface of your pet’s skin between the shoulder blades.  The process is similar to a routine shot, only takes a few seconds, and your pet will not react any more than he would to a vaccination.  No anesthetic is required.

A HomeAgain microchip is a permanent pet ID.  The microchip itself has no internal energy source, so it will last the life of your pet.  It is read by passing a microchip scanner over the pet’s shoulder blades.  The scanner emits a low radio frequency that provides the power necessary to transmit the microchips unique cat or dog ID code and positively identify the pet.

Once your pet is microchipped, it is enrolled in HomeAgain’s pet database, which is critical to reuniting you immediately with your lost pet once he is found.  Once informed of a missing pet, HomeAgain immediately sends out Rapid Lost Pet Alerts to veterinarians and shelters surrounding the area in which your pet was lost.  HomeAgain also supplies you with an easy-to-personalize “lost Pet” poster that you can print and post in the neighborhood.  Once enrolled, you pet is entitled to all the additional benefits of the HomeAgain annual membership including:

Updates to your pet or contact information online or by phone
  • 24/7 access to our lost pet hotline
  • Rapid Lost Alerts and Lost Pet Posters
  • 24/7 access to the Pet Medical Emergency Hotline
  • Travel Assistance for Found Dogs or Cats
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Tips & Advice

Helpful info to understand your kitten better.

New Introductions

  • Upon bringing the new kitten home, do not allow your current cat(s) to see the kitten. Take the kitten into a separate room and set him/her up with a litter box, food, toys, etc.
  • Keep them separated for several days, allowing them to hear/smell each other but not see/touch each other.
  • Try feeding your cats their meals on either side of the door so that they associate each other’s smell with something positive (getting something to eat). Also, giving special treats during this time is a good idea (tuna, catnip, etc.).
  • Another idea is to rub your cats’ toys on the new kitten, and vice versa, and then allow them to play with the toys that smell like each other. You can also trying this with their bedding.
  • Make/buy a toy that has something on both ends attached to a string (but supervise then when using it and DO NOT allow them to eat the string!). Place one end of the toy on either side of the door so they can interact with each other by playing with the toy together.
  • After 2-3 days, try switching the cats environments (moving current cat to where the kitten was, and vice versa). This will allow them to further adjust to each other’s scents.
  • After a week or so, you may try introducing your cats face to face. Make sure this is a supervised visit, and do it slowly. There will probably be hissing, maybe even some swatting, and probably some running away. This is normal. They will take time to adjust to each other’s presence. A good time to try this is just after a meal when they are likely to be calm. Continue to supervise the first few visits and once they seem warmed up to each other, allow the new kitten to start exploring your home and interacting with your cat on its own.
  • For more detailed information, visit:
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Tips For Going To Vet

We know it can be tough to wrangle your cat for a trip to the veterinarian’s office. Many cats dislike the cat carrier as well as riding in the car, so heading in for an annual checkup can sometimes be a stressful proposition. Follow these four tips when you head to your next veterinary appointment to reduce your cat’s stress and make for a calmer ride.
  • Make the carrier your cat’s second home. Cat carriers are typically associated with many unpleasant things. Many cat owners keep the carrier in a closet or in the garage, so the cat hasn’t’ rubbed on it or slept inside it. Cats who haven’t transferred their scent to the carrier, therefore, see it as a foreign object. So give your cat time to mark the carrier with facial rubbing – she’ll feel like it belongs to her, and you may find it easier to place her inside. If you have room, make the carrier part of your family room furniture. That means leaving it out all the time with the door open. Place a soft towel inside to make it a little more cozy. Pretty soon, your cat won’t think twice about entering the carrier.
  • Turn the carrier into a meal center. Put part of your cat’s daily food in the carrier to help your cat associate something good with the carrier. Even better – use a bit of especially yummy food, such as canned food or a small amount of tuna. Or try tossing your cat’s favorite treat in the carrier when she wants to be left alone. This will reward her for seeking solitude and continue to reinforce the notion that the carrier isn’t so bad after all.
  • Try a different kind of carrier. If you have an emergency and don’t have time to let your cat adjust to the carrier, try using a pillowcase as a carrier. With the cat on your lap slip the pillowcase over the body, head first. Knot the top of the case and support the bottom when holding your cat. Alternately, you can use any type of item your cat like to nap in – two laundry baskets connected together could also work. These items aren’t a trigger for fear like your standard carrier might be.
  • Consider using a synthetic product. Using a product that contains feline facial pheromone can help calm cats during stressful events. These products can be sprayed on blankets, towels or bandanas before you head to the veterinarian. Many cats become less agitated when their owners use these sprays, so purchasing one could make your life easier when it’s time to take your cat for a car ride.
Regular wellness exams are crucial for keeping your cat happy and healthy. Use these tips the next time you head to your veterinarian to make it much easier on both you and your cat.
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Spay & Neuter

The benefits explained.

Benefits of Spay

Early spay (between 5 and 6 months, before first heat) has many health benefits. Spaying your pet can help prevent:
  • Mammary cancer, a common often deadly disease. Mammary tumors can be large and difficult to remove; these tumors can also metastasize (spread) to other parts of the body.
  • Pyometra, a severe infection of the uterine lining. Dogs with Pyometra are prone to becoming septic, or systemically ill as a result of the infection. If left unchecked, the disease is potentially life-threatening. Surgery to remove the ovaries and uterus is indicated and far more risky than if it is an uninfected, younger dog.
  • Number 1 reason of getting hit by car
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Benefits of Neuter

Early neutering of your pet has many health and behavioral benefits. Neutering your pet can help prevent:
  • Early neutering (between 5-9 months of age) will prevent almost all disorders of the prostate and anal area.
  • BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia) – characterized by enlarged prostate which leads to difficulty in defecating because of pressure on the rectum; this can lead also to bacterial infection, cysts, and abscess of the glands that drain the prostate (surgery indicated to correct these issues)
  • Prostate diseases are often not life threatening, but can be expensive to diagnose and treat.
  • Perianal Hernia – prostatic enlargement and testosterone may contribute to a weakening of the pelvic diaphragm, allowing abdominal organs to pass through the pelvic canal into the areas surrounding the anus. Surgery to repair the hernia is indicated to alleviate the constipation or straining that accompanies this condition.
  • Perianal and testicular tumors – these tumors can be painful and surgical removal with biopsy is recommended to rule out cancer.
Some behavior benefits to neutering your pet include:
  • Less likely to “mark” territory by urinating in inappropriate areas
  • Diminishes mounting, “humping”, roaming
  • Lessens aggression toward other animals or family members
  • Number 1 reason of getting hit by car
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