So you have just brought home a little bundle of joy. Congratulations! But make sure you're scheduling your first veterinary appointment, as well as routine exams going forward. To help you prepare, our Clarksville vets discuss when to take your kitten for their first vet visit and what to expect.
When you bring home a kitten, it must be examined by a veterinarian. This is important not only for your kitten's health but also to ensure that it does not share any communicable infections. If the kitten shows signs of illness, such as watery eyes, sneezing, difficulty breathing, or inability to eat, it should be examined as soon as possible.
Do I need to bring anything?
Some things are nice to have ready before the initial checkup, whether you go immediately to the doctor after picking up your new kitten or after a day or two at home. These include:
- Any information and paperwork provided by the shelter or breeder
- Notes of any concerns you have about the kitten
- Stool sample
- Cat carrier
- Cat Treats
If you're taking your kitten to the vet for the first time, bring any adoption documents with you. Your veterinarian should also be informed of any past treatments or vaccines provided to the kitten. If this is not possible, write down what you were informed during the adoption process to avoid forgetting.
What happens during the physical exam?
The staff and doctor will interview you and examine your kitten physically. They will also search for other parasites like fleas and mites. The veterinarian will inspect your kitten's eyes, ears, lips, skin, coat, and complete body. This includes palpating the abdomen to feel the organs and using a stethoscope to listen to the heart and lungs. A stool sample may also be taken to see whether you have any underlying health issues.
For optimal health, weaning time, and socialization, kittens should be adopted at the age of 8 to 10 weeks. If your kitten is young, especially if it is 6 weeks or under, the vet will need to examine the kitten's nutrition and hydration status and offer any necessary supplementation.
Will my kitten need any lab tests?
Yes, your kitten will likely need both a fecal exam and a blood test.
Fecal Exam: You will very probably be requested to bring a fecal sample from your kitten to your veterinarian for parasite testing for intestinal worms, giardia, and other potential concerns. Because fecal tests do not detect all intestinal parasites and a considerable number of kittens have them, your veterinarian may provide deworming medicine at each consultation. Because many parasites can be spread to humans, it is vital to remove them from your cat.
Blood Test: The American Association of Feline Practitioners recommends that all newly adopted cats, regardless of age, be tested for FeLV and FIV. If your kitten is less than nine weeks old, your veterinarian may advise you to delay testing until it is at least nine weeks. If you have other cats in the house with your kitten, keep them separated until they have tested negative in case your new kitten has a transmissible disease.
How much will the first vet visit cost?
The first vet visit, as well as subsequent routine exams, can vary from vet to vet, cat to cat, and pet to pet. For an accurate estimate of cost, please contact your veterinarian directly.
What questions should I ask at my newborn kitten's first vet visit?
Here's a list of questions to ask your veterinarian during your first appointment. Of course, you can ask many more questions, and we encourage you to do so, but these should get you started on the path to ethical cat ownership:
- Is my cat a healthy weight?
- Are they eating the right food and getting proper nutrition?
- Are they sleeping too much or too little?
- What resources are available at this vet clinic? (ex. X-rays, labs, etc.)
- Are there any common parasites or pests in the area? How can I prevent them?
- Is cat insurance worth it and if so, who do you recommend?
- Do you have any grooming recommendations for my cat?
- Are there any vaccinations my cat needs?
- Where are the nearby emergency services for off-hours or holidays?
- What do you recommend for flea and tick prevention?
- How is my cat’s dental health?
- Any cat food label questions such as how to read them, what to look for, etc.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.