This is such an exciting time, and your new addition to the family will be super excited too!
Before your consultation with the vet, have a read through the following important information, and any questions you still have, can then be answered during your consult.
Congratulations on your New Kitten!
The first few days in a new home, with all the new sights, sounds and smells, can be very stressful for a kitten. They have left the familiarity of their mother and siblings, and now have to navigate a new, and scary world.
The good news is that there are lots of steps you can take before and after your kitten arrives, to make this transition from the breeder, to your home, as smooth and easy as possible.
Give your kitten their own bed, or a cat tower, as they like to sleep high up.
A good kitten food is needed, as is fresh water at all times, a water fountain is ideal.
Lots of cuddles! Your kitten has come from the busy environment of the breeder, with their mum and their litter-mates. Now they are all on their own, and will be feeling scared. Combined with the long journey home, this can all be very stressful for them. Your kitten will be tired, so make sure they have some quiet time to sleep.
Don't let them go outside yet, they must wait until they are not only fully vaccinated and microchipped, but also until they have been neutered, otherwise a female kitten can get pregnant, and a male and female kittens are more likely to roam and get into fights with other cats when un-neutered.
Carefully introduce them to your other pets. Older dogs and cats may be scared or grumpy with a new kitten wanting to play, and your kitten may be scared too. Take it slowly, and don't leave them together unattended.
Kittens love to play! So have some kitten suitable toys available to keep them entertained.
Don't forget that your kitten will need 2 litter trays in separate parts of the house.
Your kitten may have already had it's first and possibly it's second vaccinations done with the breeder, but this doesn't mean that it is safe to go outside yet.
Kittens and cats are vaccinated against feline enteritis, feline rhinotracheitis, feline calicivirus and feline leukaemia virus.
Immunity is developed 3 weeks after the second vaccine, however we don't recommend going outside by themselves until after they have been neutered.
Ask your breeder which product has been used, and when it was given.
Unfortunately, some kittens are wormed with products which are outdated and ineffective, therefore it is important to find out.
Once you know, give the worming information to your vet, and they can then give you a safe and effective worming product to use.
Worming is particularly important, as there will be a chance that your kitten could pass worms to you and your family.
Fleas are pretty horrible things, and you often don't notice a flea infestation until it is really bad. They bite your kitten, and you, (with sore and irritating bites) and they can spread worms.
Fortunately, infestations are easy to prevent with a monthly flea treatment.
Shop (over the counter) flea products are sadly frequently ineffective, because many flea populations are resistant to them. Also the drugs within the product have often been in use for many decades.
Your vet will prescribe a safe and effective flea prevention product for your kitten.
Just like with human babies, it is really important that we check your kitten's development, and we do this by a monthly weight check up until 6 months old.
Not only does this help monitor for too much/too little weight gain, but it also helps your kitten get used to coming to see us, and will help reduce the chance of future fear of the clinic when they are older.
Your kitten may have been given a good kitten food from the breeder. However this often isn't the case.
A kitten food is essential, your kittenshould not be fed junior food, adult cat food, human food, or dog/puppy food.
Unless your kitten is fed the correct balance of vitamins and minerals in their early weeks and months, their body will not grow correctly, and this could lead to future health problems.
Ask your vet clinic for further advice about what to feed your kitten they will be happy to help you.
Your kitten should have been microchipped by the breeder, however its important that we check.
Firstly, there may not be a microchip present.
Secondly, the microchip number might be different to the one you have been given!
Ask your vet to check the chip number, then you can make sure that the chip company has your name, address and phone number, so that if your kitten does get lost, the chance of you being reunited, is significantly increased.
We recommend that your kitten is neutered (spayed or castrated) as soon as they are old enough.
Female cats can get pregnant from when they are just a few months old, that's why they shouldn't be let outdoors.
Male cats will soon start to exhibit 'male behaviour' under the influence of testosterone. This behaviour will become hardwired after a time, and so even if an older male cat is castrated, this may not remove the undesirable behaviour.
We recommend neutering at around 5-6 months old.
Kittens love to play! There are many cat toys available, which can help keep your kitten interested and active. A scratching post is a good idea, to save your furniture being used to sharpen those claws!
We recommend that you take out insurance for your kitten as soon as possible. You simply never know what is around the corner!
Pet insurance is like house and car insurance, you hope you won't need it, but it's there if you do.
Look for policies that have lifetime cover, and bear in mind that pet healthcare, just like private human healthcare, can be costly. A repair for a fractured leg after a car accident could be £3000-£5000, and a hip replacement could be £8000 upwards. So look at the policy in detail, and be aware that a low monthly premium, may indicate that policy may only pay out up to a lower limit (eg £500, or £1000 per condition).
Your vet can offer general advice about insurance, but can't recommend any particular insurance company or policy.
Please note that an insurance policy, is a separate arrangement with an insurance company, it is not through a vet, and it is not the same as the Healthy Pet Club, as this covers vaccinations and parasite prevention, which are not covered under pet insurance policies.
Have a read of this information from the RSPCA about how to interpret your cat's behaviour:
Healthy pet club
Most practices will have a Healthy Pet Club.
This is where you sign up to a monthly subscription and get your flea treatment, and wormers and vaccinations at a lower cost by paying monthly for them.
Some practices, such as Chertsey Vets and Woodham Lane Vets, have unlimited vet consultations as part of the monthly fee, meaning that you an see the vet as often as you need to, without worrying about the cost of repeated consultations, as you will only pay for any treatment or medications required (which can also usually be claimed back, if you have pet insurance).
If you already have pet insurance, not having to pay to see the vet each time, will help keep your insurance claims lower, and potentially keep your premiums lower too.
indoor or outdoor?
Whether to keep your cat as an indoor cats, or as an outdoor cat, depends a lot on where you live, and your cat's personality.
Some cats get very stressed if they are kept indoors, and may continually try and escape. Other cats are reluctant to leave the house (or garden) and are very happy being a home-body.
Using feline pheromones such as Feliway can help with the stress of staying indoors.
You can book a consultation to discuss all aspects of kitten and cat behabviour with our specilaist feline veterinary nurse Amy, (this consulation is free if you are a member of our Healthy Pet Club).
We know that those little kitten nails can be very sharp!
The best way to get your kitten used to their nails and toes being touched, is to get an emery board (the same kind used to file your own nails) and gently file off the sharp tips. You can do this while they are relaxed and sitting on your knee. Proceed slowly, and stop if they get worried or upset.
Cats will keep their nails gently filed by their normal activities outside, such as climbing and walking on rough surfaces. Indoor cats may need their nails trimming more often.
Care must be taken not to cut the nail too short, as it will bleed, and cause your kitten pain, nail clipping can be done free of charge if your kitten is a member of our Healthy Pet Club.