Kitten Information 

A happy kitten has five key welfare needs.

1. Environment

Provide your kitten with a safe, suitable place to live. They'll need their own food and water bowl, litter tray, comfortable bed, hiding place and scratching post. You should always provide spare if you‘ve got more than one kitten, and space these resources throughout the house. Exercise is important for your kitten's mental and physical health. They need to be kept indoors until they’re fully vaccinated and neutered, so they’ll need lots of different toys to keep them stimulated until they’re old enough to venture out. Ensure that you do not have any poisonous houseplants. A few of the more common houseplants/cut flowers are chrysanthemums, lilies, cyclamen and amaryllis. You can view a more comprehensive list at www.pdsa.org.uk

 

2. Diet

Early in life kittens need to eat often! They need relatively larger quantities of food because they are growing rapidly, but have limited space in their tiny stomachs. At eight weeks they need about 5 meals a day. By 6 months the need for food is decreased and can be fed 2 meals a day.

Kitten foods are specially formulated to provide the nutrients needed to meet the demands of rapid growth in a compact form when food intake is limited by tiny stomachs. Since growth is almost complete by 6 months, kittens can be switched to 'adult' cat food at 6-8 months of age.

Contrary to popular myth, kittens and adult cats do not need milk. In fact after weaning, kittens often lose the ability to digest milk sugar (lactose). Therefore, while small amounts may be tolerated, too much can lead to intestinal upset and diarrhoea.

3. Behaviour

If you’re thinking about getting a kitten, check that they’ve been properly socialised by being exposed to different people and other pets, as well as normal household sounds. You should continue to let kittens have lots of positive experiences when they arrive at their new home.

4. Companionship

Cats are naturally solitary animals and usually prefer to live apart from other cats.

5. Health

Maintain your kitten’s health and seek vet advice if your pet becomes ill or is injured.

Vaccinations

When should my kitten be vaccinated?

In most situations kittens are vaccinated for the first time around 9 weeks of age with a second dose 3 weeks later. It is important that a kitten receives both vaccinations to stimulate the immune system adequately. A kitten will not be fully protected until 7-10 days after the second vaccination. Under specific circumstances your veterinary surgeon may advise an alternative regime.

Currently cats are commonly vaccinated against the following diseases:

  • Feline panleukopenia (enteritis / feline parvovirus)
  • Feline herpes virus type 1 and Feline calicivirus
  • Feline leukaemia virus (often abbreviated to FeLV)
  • Chlamydophilia felis (only if specifically requested)
  • Rabies

Boosters

How often should booster vaccinations be given?

After the initial course of vaccination cats will need regular boosters in their life to maintain protection, the frequency of boosters depends on the type of vaccine given, the lifestyle of your cat and the disease we are trying to protect against. In most situations booster vaccination is generally carried out yearly, although some panleukopenia vaccines can now be given once every three years. Your vet will advise on the best regime for your cat.