There aren't many cuter additions you can make to your home than a new kitten! Kittens are known to be more independent and manageable than puppies, but still have their own set of quirks. It is important to take your new kitten to a veterinarian for a checkover, and continue to do so for years to come. Just like dogs, we recommend bringing your cat in once a year for a checkup. We are always available to answer any questions you may have about your new purrfect friend!
Kitten Vaccination Schedule
- DRC: Core vaccine given at 8, 12, and 16 weeks. Usually called the "distemper shot," this combo vaccines cover for not only feline distemper (panleukopenia), but also feline rhinotracheitis and feline calicivirus. This is a very important vaccine and is considered a requirement for all cats. We boost this vaccine at 1 year, then every 3 years thereafter.
- Rabies: Core vaccine given at 12-16 weeks. Rabies is a public health concern and this vaccine is required by state law, even for indoor cats. We boost this vaccine at 1 year, then every 3 years thereafter.
- Feline Leukemia: Non-core vaccine given as early as 8 weeks. We consider this vaccine much more important for cats that go outside, as they are much more at risk of coming into contact with this virus. We recommend that all kittens are tested for this disease prior to vaccination. This vaccine is boosted annually.
Spaying/Neutering Your Kitten
We generally recommend to spay female cats between 4-6 months of age; we usually perform this procedure at 16 weeks when their last kitten shot is due to make it convenient for owners. Female cats generally go into their first heat cycle around 6 months of age. After their first heat cycle, the uterus becomes larger, making it a more difficult surgery, so we prefer to do this procedure before that occurs. The other reason is that the more heat cycles a cat goes through, the more prone she is to developing mammary (breast) cancer later in life, which is usually very aggressive in cats. Spaying your cat also ensures that she is not at risk of ever developing ovarian or uterine cancer, and it also prevents a life-threatening disease call pyometra, a uterine infection. If your dog develops a pyometra, which is an infection in the uterus, she can become very sick, and we then have to remove the uterus via surgery.
We generally recommend to neuter male cats between 4-6 months of age; we usually perform this procedure at 16 weeks when their last kitten shot is due to make it convenient for owners. Neutering can help with undesirable behaviors, such as spraying and "tom-cat smell," and prevents testicular cancer as well as certain prostastic and urinary issues later in life.
What To Expect on Surgery Day
We ask that your pet is fasted (no food) after 11pm the night before, and should not have any breakfast. They can still have water. Surgery drop-off times are usually around 7:30-8:00 AM and the surgery will be completed that morning. Pre-anesthetic bloodwork is recommended to ensure your pet is healthy prior to surgery and can be done the morning of. We place an IV catheter to induce anesthesia smoothly, administer warm fluids to your kitten during surgery, and it also serves as an access point if any emergency drugs need to be administered. After surgery, each kitten is monitored until they are awake, and we will offer them breakfast. Most kittens are ready to go home by late morning or early afternoon, but we will take care of your pet until it is most convenient for you to pick-up that day. We do try to call once your pet is recovered, but if we do happen to have a busy day, please do not be alarmed if you do not receive a phone call until early afternoon.
Your pet may still be a little sleepy the day of surgery, but most kittens are almost back to normal the day after. All kittens will be sent home with pain medication and instructions on their administration. Spays are sent home with a belly bandage that we like to check and replace about 2-4 days after surgery, and as needed thereafter. All routine re-checks are free of charge. Neuters in male cat have such a small incision site that no bandages or sutures or needed, but it is still important to monitor the site. It is very important that your kitten does not lick or bite the surgery site, as this can cause the stitches to come undone and/or compromise the healing tissue. It is preferable to keep your kitten calm and quiet (easier said than done, we know!) and try to keep them from rough play over the first week. Please call us if you notice any discharge, excessive redness or swelling, and if your kitten seems very painful around the surgery site.
Neuters do not need to come back in for rechecks unless you notice any concerns. Spays will need suture removal about 12-14 days after surgery. If you have any further questions about your kitten's spay/neuter, please do not hesitate to contact us!