Your kitten’s first visit to the vet is one of their most important of their lives as it can show underlying problems, will ensure that the kitten receives all the necessary vaccinations, get dewormed, and much more.
You should preferably get your new kitten to the vet within 1-3 days (24-72 hours) of adoption. If you have other pets at home and you need to take your kitten home first; keep your kitten separate from them until you return from the vet with a clean bill of health.
What you should bring with you to the vet
- All the paperwork you completed and/or received at the shelter where you adopted your kitten or the breeder where you bought your kitten.
- A stool sample, if possible
- Your cat carrier to ensure that you can transport your kitten safely
- A list of any questions you have or any other notes, for example symptoms that they might have if they are rescue kittens.
The elements of the vet visit:
The physical exam
The physical exam that the vet will perform will be thorough to make sure that there is no underlying physical ailments. The exam normally consists of the following:
- Checking the mouth for any sign of ulcers, to see if the baby teeth are in a good condition or, depending on the kitten’s age, to see whether the permanent teeth are in a good condition and all the baby teeth have fallen out.
- Taking the kitten’s temperature to make sure that it’s neither too high nor too low, as both can be a sign of an underlying illness.
- Palpating the abdomen.
- Listening to the heart and lungs to ensure that the heart doesn’t have a murmur, for example, and that the lungs are clear.
- Checking the joints to ensure that they are all well-formed and show the correct response.
- Checking the eyes to ensure that the kitten has good eyesight and that there is no sign of conjunctivitis or other infections. If there are infections, it can be treated right away.
Blood tests and urinalysis may also be done to ensure that there are no other underlying infections, for instance FIV, present. The tests that are run will not only depend on your kitten’s age, but also on whether they are a rescue kitten or from a breeder. This is also why your paperwork is so important. The paperwork is also important so that the vet is able to see which vaccinations your kitten has already received.
Your kitten needs to receive a series of vaccinations to protect them against various feline illnesses.
The core kitten vaccinations protect your kitten against illnesses that are very common and that can be especially dangerous. They are for all cats and kittens. The vaccinations included in the core vaccinations (FVRCP), are against:
- Feline rhinotracheitis
- Feline calicivirus
- Feline panleukopaenia
The schedule for vaccination against these illnesses start as early as 6 weeks.
Deworming, fleas and ticks, mites, and more
Your vet will also make sure that your kitten has been dewormed and treated for ticks and fleas. They will also check their ears to make sure that they do not have ear mites. If they do, the vet can then also start with treating your kitten for them straight away.
Booking their desexing
If your kitten has not already been spayed or neutered at the shelter where you adopted them, this is the perfect time to book their operation. The operation is usually done at the age of 5 or 6 months, but can be done earlier. It’s best to speak to your vet about the timing for your kitten.