Having a new kitten is exciting, but now you need to make sure they're healthy and will stay that way for the rest of their lives. To help you prepare, our vets in Jackson give you some information on what to expect on your kitten's first visit to the vet.
When you bring a kitten home, don't forget to take it to the vet for a check-up. This step is crucial to ensure your kitten's good health and to rule out any contagious infection. If you notice any signs of illness in the kitten, such as watery eyes, sneezing, breathing problems, or difficulty feeding, don't hesitate to ask: "When should I make my first appointment with the vet?
Should I Bring Anything To My Kitten's First Vet Visit?
It's a good idea to prepare certain items before the initial examination, whether you go to the doctor immediately 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, don't forget to bring all your adoption papers with you. Your vet should also be aware of any treatments and vaccinations the kitten has already received. If this isn't possible, make a note of what you were told at the time of adoption, so you don't forget.
What Should I Expect During Their First Physical Exam?
The staff and veterinarian will ask you questions about your kitten's history and perform a physical examination. They will also check for the presence of other parasites, such as fleas and mites.
The veterinarian will examine your kitten's eyes, ears, lips, skin, coat, and entire body. He will palpate the abdomen to feel the organs and use a stethoscope to listen to the heart and lungs. A stool sample may also be taken to check for underlying health problems.
For optimal health, weaning, and socialization, kittens should be adopted at 8 to 10 weeks of age. If your kitten is young, especially if 6 weeks old or less, your veterinarian will need to examine its nutritional and hydration status and suggest any necessary supplements.
Will the Vet Perform Any Tests During This First Visit?
Your kitten will likely need a fecal exam and a blood test.
Fecal Exam: You will probably be asked to bring a stool sample from your kitten to your veterinarian to check for parasites such as intestinal worms, giardia, and other potential problems. Since not all intestinal parasites are detected in fecal tests, and a significant percentage of kittens are carriers, your veterinarian may administer a dewormer to your kitten at each appointment. Many parasites can be transmitted to humans, so it's essential to eliminate 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.
What is the Typical Cost of a Kitten's First Vet Visit?
The first vet visit and subsequent routine exams can vary from vet to vet, cat to cat, and pet to pet. For an accurate estimate of the cost, please contact your veterinarian directly.
What Are Some Important Questions To Ask During Kitten's First Visit?
Here's a list of questions you can ask your veterinarian on your first visit. Of course, you can ask a whole myriad of other questions, and we encourage you to do so, but these questions should set you on the path to responsible 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.