What to look for when it comes to Your New KITTEN
Your New Kitten’s Wellness Visits
Each time a cat comes to us for core vaccines, he/she is examined by the doctor. It is important to assess your cat’s health prior to vaccinating and provides an opportunity to discuss any questions or concerns regarding your cat’s health.
Most kittens are born with intestinal parasites, which are acquired from the mother. Some of these parasites infect people as well. At a kitten’s first visit a stool sample needs to be screened for intestinal parasites. Additionally, we deworm all kittens for the most common parasites acquired from the mother to protect your kitten and your family.
FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT:
Parasites in Kittens
What to Look For
These parasites inhabit the cardiovascular system. Heartworms are transmitted by mosquitoes and can cause severe heart and lung disease. Heartworm disease is very costly to treat and can ultimately cause your pet’s death; therefore, we recommend all dogs be on a monthly heartworm preventative. Cats are inherently more resistant to heartworm infections than dogs, but they can become infected. Ask us if your cat should be on preventative.
These parasites live in the large intestine and can cause diarrhea. Feline whipworms are rarely seen in North America.
A protozoal organism that can cause gastrointestinal upset.
Fleas and rodents are the carriers of tapeworm eggs. Tapeworms are flat, white, segmented worms. The ricelike segments break off and can usually be detected under the pet’s tail or on your pet’s bedding.
A very common parasite that inhabits the small intestine. The infective eggs are shed in mammary milk and feces. These parasites can cause vomiting, gas and diarrhea.
A bloodsucking-parasite that lives in the small intestine and can cause severe anemia due to blood loss. Symptoms can include dark, loose stools.
A protozoal organism that pets can acquire by consuming contaminated water. These parasites are most often associated with diarrhea.
Depending on your cat’s lifestyle, he/she may be at increased risk of acquiring intestinal parasites. Ask us if you should be regularly deworming your pet as a part of routine healthcare.
FLEAS and TICKS
These burdensome parasites are common but can be controlled with an effective flea/tick prevention product, such as Frontline Plus. We recommend using Frontline Plus monthly for all cats.
*(ZOONOTIC DISEASE) Any disease that can be transmitted from a wild or domestic animal to a human being.
The Benefits of Spaying and Neutering Cats
Spaying your female cat is the surgical removal of the ovaries and/or uterus. This surgery is ideally performed by 6 months of age. Spaying your cat by this age can provide numerous benefits:
- Eliminates unwanted heat cycles, howling, rolling, and other annoying behavior associated with the estrus cycle.
- Reduces the urge to get outdoors in search of a male, decreases fighting with other cats, decreases the risks associated with escape like getting hit by cars or becoming lost by reducing urge to roam.
- Greatly reduces the risk of mammary (breast) cancer when performed prior to the first heat.
- Protects against uterine and ovarian cancers, as well as lifethreatening uterine infection called pyometra.
- Helps control the pet population crisis by avoiding unwanted pregnancies.
Neutering your male cat is the surgical removal of the testicles. This surgery is ideally performed by 6 months of age. Neutering your cat by this age can provide the following benefits:
- Eliminates or reduces unwanted behavior such as marking his territory (your house) with urine.
- Reduces the urge to get outdoors in search of a female, decreases fighting with other cats, decreases risks associated with escape like getting hit by a car or becoming lost by reducing the urge to roam.
- Eliminates the risk of testicular cancer.
- Helps control the pet population crisis by preventing pregnancies.
If you have any other questions about altering your cat, we welcome you to call us at 301-631-6900.
Is anesthesia safe for my pet?
With any anesthetic and surgical procedure there are inherent risks. However, Kingsbrook Animal Hospital takes every precaution to ensure your pet’s safety when going under anesthesia. We perform pre-operative bloodwork to assess liver and kidney health, protein levels and make sure your pet is not anemic. An IV Catheter is placed in every patient and fluids are administered to maintain your pet’s hydration and maintain a stable blood pressure. All medications and anesthesia are tailored to your pet’s individual needs to maximize comfort before, during and after surgery. Our licensed technicians monitor your pet continuously under anesthesia to ensure your pet is stable and doing well. They assess your pet’s heart rate, respiratory rate, blood oxygen level, blood pressure, temperature, anesthetic plane and pain control throughout the procedure.
Will altering my cat make him/her become fat and lazy?
No. Obesity is caused by excessive calorie intake and lack of exercise. A pet’s caloric needs can decrease by up to 25% after spaying/neutering because they no longer need to metabolically support reproduction. Your cat’s weight is controlled by proper feeding and exercise. There is no reason that a spayed/neutered pet’s weight cannot be managed to maintain a lean body condition.
Will altering my cat change his/her personality or disposition?
No. Cats’ personalities continuously develop until 2-5 years of age. Any personality alterations will occur with or without surgery.
Should my cat go through one heat cycle or have a litter of kittens first?
No. Studies have shown no advantages to allowing your cat to experience a heat cycle or pregnancy prior to spaying. In fact, the risk of breast cancer increases with each heat cycle your cat goes through. Breeding cats is an enormous responsibility. It is extremely time consuming as well as a large financial commitment when done conscientiously. Due to the overwhelming “pet over-population” crisis, healthy, adoptable cats are being euthanized daily due to over-crowded shelters.
Isn’t it cruel to take away my cat’s testicles?
No. Studies have shown no advantages to allowing your cat to remain intact. In fact, it is the exact opposite. Neutering your male cat will make him a calmer, healthier and a more devoted pet.
YOUR FELINE’S NUTRITION
Cats develop food preferences based on what they are fed as kittens. Some older cats benefit from eating canned food for a variety of health issues. If they have eaten only dry food, it can be difficult to transition them from one texture to another should the need arise in the future. Feeding your kitten some canned food for a few months and as a weekly treat, may help them transition to it later in life.
Most cats sustain well on ½ cup of dry daily. If you are feeding any canned food, the dry portion can be adjusted proportionally.
Treats should only account for a maximum of 5-10% of your cat’s total daily calories. Keep in mind a lot of treats on the market are high in salt and fat content. Try giving your kitty dental treats like T/D kibbles or a kibble or two of his/her regular diet.
Companies with a longstanding commitment to nutritional research and innovations, benefit our companion animal’s quality of life (Hills, Royal Canin, Purina). We understand that there is a natural organic presence in today’s pet food market to which many people migrate. Let us help you select a diet that will meet your pet’s nutritional needs most effectively.
Nutrient ranges established by Small Animal Clinical Nutrition are the basis of our nutritional recommendations, as shown on page 7. It is important to consider your pet’s age, weight and activity level when choosing a food.
On most occasions, we recommend transitioning to an adult maintenance food at one year of age.
Obesity is a growing problem in our pet population and can contribute to a variety of severe health issues. Lean cats are less likely to become diabetic, develop liver disease and suffer joint problems.
Feeding good nutrition with appropriate portions is the key to maintaining a good body condition and to assure your cat’s long term health and comfort.
Keeping Your Cat Content
Countless cats are relinquished to community shelters for behavioral issues. The two most common behaviors that result in household issues are scratching and inconsistent litterbox use.
Scratching is a normal instinctual behavior for cats that conflicts with human desires to maintain damage free furniture, carpeting and curtains. Scratching helps cats groom their nails and is important for stretching. Be sure to provide your cat with many appropriate opportunities for scratching, such as cat trees in multiple inclines and in places the cat frequents most. Some cats are accepting of claw covers which can help if cats are not discriminating about what they scratch.
Cats have a natural tendency to eliminate in areas where they can cover their eliminations. That is why they acclimate to the litterbox fairly well.
A clumpable clay or grain based litter, with no perfumes, is usually preferrable to cats. Two recommended brands are Dr. Elsey’s Precious Cat Clumpable Clay and The World’s Best Cat Litter which is grain based. Both litters scoop well, are low dust and have great odor control.
Cats are clean creatures and scooping the litterbox at least daily is best. Nobody wants to use a dirty toilet! Provide one litterbox per cat plus one additional box in your home. The boxes should be placed in quiet locations and on each floor in multi-level homes. Every two to four weeks completely discard litter and wash the boxes with mild soap and water.
These are some things you can do to set your cat up for SUCCESS
- Play with your cat often. Use toys that simulate prey and give them the opportunity to stalk, chase and pounce.
- Provide an elevated resting place/perch where your cat can look down at its surroundings. Being high up gives them a sense of security and boosts their confidence.
- Be aware of whether your cat is inclined to chew and ingest toys, as this could be dangerous and life threatening. If they are, supervise their play time and take toys away if necessary.
Oh those Pet Carrier blues…
Familiarizing your kitten with their pet carrier at an early age is always a good idea. Leaving the carrier out in the open and placing blankets inside will create an enticing, comfortable atmosphere. This converts the image and feeling from cage to a bed.
Anytime your feline companion enters the carrier willingly, reward them with treats and praise. This will make preparation for travel less stressful for everyone involved.
A great resource for keeping indoor cats happy & healthy is the Indoor Cat Initiative. https://indoorpet.osu.edu/cats.
Cat’s scratching is an innate behavior. This instinctive action helps condition nails, allows marking of territory and provides healthy stretching of muscles.
Cats are drawn to the biggest, most stable, thing in the room. Provide a scratching post that is tall and sturdy.
For multi-level homes, provide scratching posts for each level.
Use catnip to attract your cat to the appropriate scratching objects.
Give your cat a treat when you see him use the correct surface to reinforce its use.
Use double sided tape or aluminum foil to deter your cat from scratching furniture and carpeted areas.
Trim your cat’s nails every 4-6 weeks. Short dull nails are less destructive than long sharp ones.
Mix it Up!
Cats may prefer one surface over another: Carpet, sissal rope and corrugated cardboard are all enticing options!
Routing Care for Cats
Cats benefit from daily toothbrushing for all the same reasons people do. Plaque, which hardens into tartar, accumulates on your cat’s teeth. Accumulation of tartar and inflammation of the gingiva leads to irreversible progression of periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is painful, adversely affects your cat’s health and results in bone loss and tooth loss. In addition to brushing, many oral health care products are available. Ask us how we can help!
Recommended Dental Products:
CET toothpaste (poultry, vanilla mint, malt)
Do Not Use: human toothpaste as it is not safe for our pets to ingest. MaxiGuard Wipes
Greenies Science Diet Oral Care or Hill’s Prescription T/D food
A cat’s nails should be trimmed every 2-6 weeks depending on individual factors. We can teach you how to trim your cat’s nails at home or we offer this service on a technician appointment. We can also talk with you about helpful techniques and what to look for in quality instruments.
Some cats require more routine ear care than others. We recommend using D o u x o M i c e l l a r E a r Solution. This gentle product does not sting, is good at dissolving even hard to reach wax and it dries the ears after cleaning. This product is known to have fewer negative side effects than a lot of other ear cleaning products on the market.
Fill the ear canal with an ear cleansing solution until it is spilling over. Massage the base of the ear to help break up any debris deep in the ear canal. Swipe out any debris that you can easily reach with your finger and a cotton ball. Repeat this process 2-3 times for each ear until minimal to no debris is coming from the ear.
Some cats with chronic ear issues or allergic skin disease may require more frequent ear flushing.