Having a new kitten is exciting, but now you need to make sure that they are healthy and stay that way for life. To help you prepare, our Villa Rica vets share some information about what to expect at your kitten's first vet visit.
When to Take a Kitten to the Vet
When you bring a kitten home, one of the first things you should do is get it examined by a veterinarian. This is important not just for health reasons, but also to guarantee that it does not have any communicable diseases. If your kitten exhibits any signs of illness, such as watery eyes, sneezing, trouble breathing, or inability to eat, take it to your veterinarian’s office.
What to Bring to the First Vet Visit
Some things are nice to have ready before the initial checkup for your kitten, 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 veterinarian for the first time, make sure to bring the adoption documentation with you. Your veterinarian should also be aware of all treatments and immunizations that your kitten already has. If that’s not possible, write down what you were told at the adoption so you don't forget.
What to Expect During the First Physical Exam
The staff and veterinarian will ask you about your kitten's history and perform a physical exam. They will also look for other parasites like fleas and mites. The veterinarian will examine your kitten's eyes, ears, lips, skin, and coat. This includes palpating the abdomen to feel the organs and using a stethoscope to listen to the heart and lungs. A stool sample might 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.
What Tests the Vet Will Perform During the First Visit
Yes, your kitten will likely need both a fecal exam and a blood test.
Fecal Exam: Your veterinarian will likely ask you to bring a fecal sample from your kitten to test for parasites like intestinal worms, giardia, and other potential issues. Because not all intestinal parasites show up on fecal tests, and a large amount of kittens have them, your veterinarian may give your kitten a deworming medicine as a precaution. Many parasites can be transmitted to humans, so it’s critical 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.
What is the Typical Cost of a Kitten's First Vet Visit?
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 the cost, please contact your veterinarian directly.
What Are Some Important Questions To Ask During Kitten's First Visit?
Here is a checklist you can ask your vet during the first visit for your new kitten. Of course, there is a myriad of others you can ask, and we encourage you to do so, but these should start you on the road 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.