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  • Feeding
  • Fleas
  • Ticks
  • Microchipping
  • Dental Care
  • Neutering
  • Kitten Vaccinations
  • Worming
Your kitten might have come to you on a specific diet already. It is important that initially we keep this the same to avoid upset especially in the initial stressful time of moving into a new home. There are many wet and dry foods available along with milk products and treats. As a general rule we normally recommend dry kitten food three-four times daily from 8 weeks old. A good premium quality food is recommended to ensure it is balanced and made with quality meat/fish cuts and fresh ingredients. Dry food is better for dental care than wet. The frequency of feeds can be reduced to twice daily when they are over 6 months of age if wanted. In general they stay on kitten food till 1 year old then move onto adult cat food until 7 years old when they move to senior diets. Your kitten should not get milk as they become lactose intolerant as they get older and it upsets their stomach. We recommend water only for fluid intake. The amount of water your cat drinks will depend on their diet. Cats on wet food will drink less than those on dry. If feeding wet try to have a mixture with dry. Ask our nurses/vets for advice. We have samples of our recommended diets and special promotional offers in place for kittens. We also have variations within our kitten/adult/senior diets to cater for specific conditions e.g. indoor cats, hairball control etc Feeding human scraps is not recommended as it is not balanced and can lead to deficiencies in nutrients.
The most common flea for cats is Ctenocephalides felis (cat flea). Your kitten may contract a flea from another animal, its mother or the environment of the house which has larvae/pupae present. Fleas are small parasites that live on the skin of your kitten, they feed on blood. One flea can lay up to 200 eggs before it dies. These eggs fall off the pets’ coat onto the carpets, floors or furniture. The eggs then develop in larvae and then in turn into pupae. The pupae will then become adult fleas continuing on the cycle. The pupae can remain dormant in the environment of your home for a long time and will only hatch when the environment is suitable (vibrations, movements, heat etc) These triggers of movement, heat and vibration are all produced by your kitten playing, moving around and also by central heating within our homes, our walking around, hoovering etc. Adult fleas only represent 5% of the total flea life cycle, meaning that the other 95% is in your home carpets, beds, seats etc. Fleas can be hard to spot on your kitten, they are small and very fast. You might spot flea dirt (faeces), this is small black/brown specks in the coat. This is a sign of an active infection. Fleas cause multiple problems – they cause irritation to your kitten, skin rashes/lumps from bites, allergies to flea bites causing hair loss and over grooming/biting self. The fleas feed on your kitten’s blood which in a young kitten can cause weakness and anaemia. Fleas also transmit tapeworm when they feed on your kitten.  Family members within the house might get small red itchy bite marks. What can you do? Prevention is better than cure. Prevention – spot on or injection flea treatment. Again there are many products available - tablets, spot-ons, sprays, shampoos, collars etc. Unfortunately a lot of these products have poor efficacy and it is not uncommon for us to see kittens that have been treated using some of these products to still have fleas. Here in Rutland we use very effective spot-ons to prevent flea infestation and will kill any fleas your kitten gets within 24 hours. Some of these spot ons are applied monthly, some every 3 months. We also have an injection to protect your cat from fleas which only needs to be given every 6 months. The vet/nurse will be able to give you advice about which product will be best for you and your cat. If your cat gets fleas then we can help – we recommend a spot-on treatment to kill the fleas and help prevent more going forward. BUT remember, 95% of the problem is in your house now, not on the cat. So it is also very important to treat your house. This is done by hoovering and washing bedding but also we have an environmental/house spray which will kill the larvae and pupae and lasts for up to 1 year.
The most important tick species in the UK is Ixodes. Ticks are generally found in grassland, shrubs, forests, low hanging trees and wait for an animal to brush against them so they can climb on. They are more prominent in warmer weather of March to November. Once on your cat they will attach to the skin, burrow and feed on their blood. Ticks are small white/brown/red/black swellings normally found around the face/ears, armpits or leg regions. Their colour depends on the type of tick and also whether it has ingested blood or not. Ticks can cause infected swellings, anaemia and transmit diseases to cats, some of which are zoonotic to humans. If you find a tick seek advice on removal by a vet/nurse to do correctly ensuring no mouth parts are left behind. Prevention is with veterinary spot-ons, often combined with flea treatment in one formulation. The frequency of application depends on the product used, some are monthly and some every 3 months. These are very important if you have an active outdoor cat. Ask your vet/nurse for more details and a free weigh/tick treatment with the nurse
This is also a very important thing to do to protect your kitten. Microchipping is a quick, safe procedure which will increase the chances of your kitten being returned to you if lost, injured or stolen. The microchip is a small plastic chip inserted under the skin of your kitten’s neck. Each chip has a unique number linked to it and hence unique to your cat. The number is linked to your personal contact information, name, address and phone numbers which is completed by post and registered in a central database. This means if your cat did wander off or get lost and was then presented to any vets, animal shelter, sanctuary, RSPCA, police that they can scan your cat, get the number and then return your cat safely back to you. Your kitten can be microchipped at any time by one of the vets but as they in general will not be going out until after neuter, a lot of our clients like to have it performed at the time of neutering while they are asleep.
Good dental health begins with the proper diet. The best way to keep your cat’s teeth clean is by brushing their teeth. Make sure your vet checks your cat’s teeth first, as brushing a sensitive or sore mouth can be painful for your cat. Also do not brush kitten’s teeth as it can be painful whilst they are teething. Wait until all their adult teeth are through, which is normally by about 6 months of age. It is important to use the correct type of toothbrush, and a toothpaste suitable for cats so check with your vet or veterinary nurse. Step 1: Start by getting your cat to lick a cat toothpaste off your finger. They are normally fish or meat flavoured to make them more appetising. Step 2: Once your cat is used to the toothpaste, get them used to the brush or finger brush by letting them lick the toothpaste from that Step 3: Gradually start to brush the teeth, starting with the front teeth. It is normally sufficient to brush the outside of the front teeth, as your cat’s tongue will help keep the inside surface clean. Step 4: When your cat tolerates that start to brush the cheek teeth. There are also antiseptic sprays and rinses available to use after brushing. If your cat will not tolerate you brushing their teeth, there are supplements that you can add to their water or food so ask your vet or veterinary nurse for more information.
This term is for boys and girls. Specifically male cats are castrated and females are speyed. Your kitten can get neutered from 4 months of age, we do not recommend letting your kitten outside until this is done as there is a risk of girls becoming pregnant and males wandering/fighting. Unfortunately in the UK we have lots of unwanted kittens who cannot find homes so to help prevent more unwanted kittens we recommend neutering at a young age. There are also lots of benefits to getting it done. Castration – will reduce the chances of your kitten wandering, roaming and fighting. It also removes the risk of testicle cancer and other health problems linked to hormones in older cats. Spey – prevents unwanted pregnancy, reduces wandering, stops male cats stalking your house/cat if she comes into season. It will prevent uterine and ovarian cancer. It will also minimise the risk of mammary (breast) cancer. We perform ovariectomy in female cats when doing routine neutering, which means that we remove only the ovaries, not the ovaries and uterus. This has the same effect in preventing pregnancy and hormone related diseases of the ovaries and uterus, with generally smaller wounds, shorter anaesthetics and better recovery. Both of these procedures are DAY procedures so your kitten will be admitted and discharged in the same day. They are also generally safe procedures. Any of our vets will be happy to go into more detail and we perform pre-operative health checks on all kittens within a week of the anaesthetic and operation. We send all our kittens home with some pain relief after the operation to keep them comfortable. Females get a collar to prevent them licking their wounds.
Your kitten will start his/her vaccinations at 9 weeks old. This consists of a primary vaccination course of 2 vaccines at an interval of 3-4 weeks apart. Vaccines are essential to ensure we look after the health of your new kitten. The vaccines we use within the practice cover the following diseases; Feline Panleukopaenia (infectious enteritis or feline parvovirus) – this is a fatal disease were the virus attacks the cat’s gastrointestinal tract and other dividing cells in the body/blood stream. Feline Herpes virus type 1 and Feline Calicivirus  (cat flu) – these viruses as the names suggests cause flu like symptoms with eye, nose, throat and gingivitis problems. The infection is often treatable but can be fatal in young kittens with low immunity. Often once contracted the disease process will recur intermittently throughout life at times of illness/stress. Feline Leukaemia virus (FeLV) – this virus causes immunosuppression, destruction of cells within the blood and is linked to many forms of cancer. A lot of cats that contract the virus can combat it but many may become ill if they are not able to do this. This disease is prevalent in outdoor cats especially entire tom cats that fight with each other spreading infection. We have a blood test which can be performed to check for this virus if a clinical suspicion arises. Your cat is protected by the vaccines immunity >7days after the 2nd injection. However, usually you will not let your kitten outside until neutered at 4 months old. Within the practice we do a 3 yearly vaccination cycle as the level of immunity against the different viruses varies and we don’t want to over vaccinate your cat. If you are particularly concerned about over vaccination we have the facilities to check antibody levels in house.
This may already have been performed by the breeder/sanctuary before you got the kitten. There are many products available through pet shops and supermarkets consisting of tablets, liquids and spot-ons but unfortunately a lot of these are not very effective and only have a small spectrum of activity, so might only kill one type of worms. As a result we recommend you seek advice from our vets or nurses and obtain a trusted product from ourselves with the professional advice that goes with our products. The most common worms are roundworms (Toxocara cati and Toxoscaris leonina) and tapeworms (Dipylidium caninum, Taenia taeniaformis). Worming can be performed from 2wks of age. 2-12 weeks old – worm every 2wks, 12-24 weeks – worm once monthly >24 weeks – worm every 3 months (unless your cat hunts or you have children <3yrs old, someone in the household is immunocompromised, we then recommend to keep worming at a once monthly interval) The reason for the last point in relation to your children is that some worms are zoonotic, i.e. They can pass from animals to humans. Young children are very hands on with their new kitten and so more at risk and also have no hygiene skills yet. The main risk is from a worm called Toxocara which can cause blindness in children. There have been many cases reported in the North West. We offer a free weigh and worm service within all our branches by trained nurses, these are free of charge, you only pay for the product. This is important as your kittens grows as the dose might alter. Look out for our promotional offers on worming!!