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Kitten Care

Congratulations on your new kitten. The team at Cairns Veterinary Clinic are excited to welcome your new addition to “The Cairns Vet Family”. As a new kitten owner there is a lot that you, as a new “parent” need to do to maintain your pet’s wellbeing and we understand you may have lots of questions to ask. We hope the following information offers you some suggestions and tips on raising a happy and healthy kitten. If you have any questions about the information provided or have any other concerns regarding your kittens’ health and wellbeing please contact us, we are here to help.

Vaccination

Keeping your pet’s vaccinations up-to-date is important. Vaccines maintain immunity and prevent infectious diseases. Infectious diseases can be spread via the air or through contact with a parasite, a virus or fecal matter which is brought inside on your shoes, so even indoor pets should be vaccinated. All cats should be vaccinated against Feline Enteritis, Feline Respiratory disease and Chlamydia. We also recommend vaccination against Feline Leukaemia and Feline Aids especially if your cat is an outside pet. These viruses are transmitted by grooming, fighting and mating, and cause severe disease and early death. We recommend you begin your pet’s first course of vaccinations from six to eight weeks of age and after the initial course, yearly boosters are essential to maintain immunity. Annual vaccinations are also a great time to discuss any issues or concerns you may have about your pet’s health and wellbeing.

Heartworm Prevention

Heartworm is a worm which lives in the heart and blood vessels. Transmitted by mosquitoes, it has the potential to cause serious, chronic and fatal heart and lung disease in unprotected pets. Humans can occasionally be infected with heartworm with serious consequences. Heartworm isn’t considered a major threat in cats, however it does occur and prevention is available.

Intestinal Worms and Spirometra Tapeworm

Intestinal Worms are common and can cause illness or even death in pets. It is estimated that around 75% of cats carry intestinal worms. Not only do worms make your best buddy sick, they represent a serious health risk in humans as well. Children especially are most at risk of infection as they are often closest to the family pet. Kittens should be regularly wormed at 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 and 12 weeks of age, then monthly until they are 6 months old. From 6 months, cats should be wormed every three months Spirometra Tapeworm (a.k.a. “the gecko tapeworm”) is common in cats. Pets become infected by ingesting intermediate hosts such as geckos and other lizards, mice/rats, frogs etc. Once infected, tapeworms ranging from 1.5m-5m in length can be found in the small intestine. Spirometra causes serious disease in frogs as well which means it is very important to treat your cats. Treating Spirometra requires a high dose of tape wormer – normal worm treatments just don’t work.

Tick Prevention?

Cats only get one type of tick, the Paralysis Tick. This tick is carried by Bandicoots and is commonly picked up in bushy areas. During feeding, the tick releases a neurotoxin which interferes with muscles and nerves causing life threatening paralysis. It is estimated that over 75,000 dogs and cats are affected by tick paralysis each year. Traditionally the “Tick Season” runs from July to December, however we do see cases throughout the year. Many products are available to prevent ticks and it’s important to choose the correct product for your pet. Unfortunately NO product offers 100% protection and it is essential to search your cat for ticks daily.

Fleas

Fleas can be a major issue for pet owners and their pets. These blood sucking parasites are not only a nuisance but cause considerable discomfort to your pet. Fleas also cause other health issues such as anaemia, flea allergic dermatitis; a common skin condition seen by veterinarians and skin infections. They are also involved in the transmission of tapeworm. Once on your pet, the female flea lays up to 50 eggs per day so it doesn’t take long to go from a few fleas to a serious infestation. Once laid, these eggs are shed from your pet into the home environment. The high humidity and temperatures in the tropics create the perfect environment for rapid hatching resulting in severe flea infestations. When controlling fleas it is important to treat not only the adult flea but the juvenile stages in the environment as well.

Feeding Your Cat

Good nutrition is essential in keeping your pet healthy. As the saying goes, we are what we eat and the same goes for your pets too. Combined with regular exercise and veterinary check-ups, feeding a well-balanced diet to your pet promotes healthy teeth, skin and coat, strong well developed bones, bright clear eyes, good muscle tone, firmer smaller stools, increased energy as well as improved quality of life and longevity. Hill’s Science Diet Vet Essentials diet range has been developed to provide a large range of health support for your pet. It has been clinically proven and uniquely formulated to help address five common health concerns in pets. It contains superior quality ingredients and is great taste, 100% guaranteed with no artificial preservatives, flavours or colours. Recommended by vets worldwide it’s by far one of the best premium pet foods available.

Most cats are grazers so we recommend multiple small feeds throughout the day. Always ensure clean fresh water is available. Cats don't need to drink milk but if you want to give your cat milk use puppy/kitten milk to minimise problems like diarrhoea.

Microchipping

Every year animal management, vets and Shelters are presented with thousands of lost pets. Reuniting these pets with their owners can prove to be difficult since many cannot be reliably identified. In addition to the traditional collar and engraved tag, a microchip is an effective and permanent form of identification. This small implant has a unique code which is entered onto a national database meaning that when scanned your pet can easily be traced back to you. Microchipping can be performed at any age.

Pet Insurance

Responsible pet ownership involves a real commitment to your pet in many ways, but providing them with the best healthcare available to keep them healthy and happy is probably the most important.

Pet insurance allows you to budget monthly for those unexpected veterinary bills that you may otherwise be unable to afford. Having pet insurance means that at the time of a veterinary emergency, your focus is on what is the best treatment for your pet, rather than distressing about how you are going to pay the Vet bill. There are a number of pet insurance policies available. When looking for a plan, be sure to compare policies carefully to avoid getting a policy that is too expensive or has inadequate coverage.

Petplan Insurance is the world’s No 1 pet insurance provider and they have a range of policies, including multiple pet discounts, to suit your budget and needs. Cairns Veterinary Clinic, in conjunction with Petplan insurance, exclusively offers 4 weeks free insurance for all cats from 8 weeks of age to 1 year.

Desexing

Across Australia, animal shelters & rescue organisations are overflowing with unwanted pets and thousands upon thousands of cats and dogs are euthanized across the country each month. All Pet owners need to be responsible and do their part for animal welfare by ensuring they don’t contribute to the pet overpopulation by desexing their pet. Desexing is a surgical procedure performed under general anaesthesia, which prevents sexual and reproductive behaviour and related health and behaviour problems. In males the surgery, called a Castration, involves the removal of the testicles. In females the surgery, called a Spey, involves the removal of both the ovaries and the uterus.

We recommend desexing is performed from four months of age.

Dental Care

Early dental care is essential to maintaining good oral health in later life as by the age of three approximately 80% of cats have gum disease. Dental health can be maintained a number of ways, you could start by gradually training your kitten to allow daily tooth brushing or provide a diet that is specifically designed to clean the teeth such as the Hill’s Science Diet Vet Essentials diet range. As your kitten ages regular scaling and polishing of the teeth is recommended for optimum oral health.

Litter Training

Cats are naturally clean animals and Kittens learn quickly to use kitty litter. Begin training your kitten as soon as you get it home. Place the kitten in the litter tray after feeding, playing, early morning and late at night. Keep the litter clean and in a separate area from food and water. Remember it’s normal for a new kitten to have the occasional toileting accident and rewarding good behaviour is better than punishing bad behaviour.

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