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To provide protection against potentially fatal infections such as feline infectious enteritis and feline influenza, kittens need to be vaccinated. The first injection in the course is given at 8 to 9 weeks old and a second at about 12 weeks. The kitten should be kept away from other cats and stay indoors for 10 days after the second injection to ensure maximum protection.
Cats usually require a booster injection every year. You will find that catteries will not take your cat unless you can show that it has been vaccinated within the last 12 months.
Your vet will tailor the vaccination programme according to the risks of the various diseases in your area. In cities, where there is a high density of cats, the risk of infection will be higher.
Worms can make kittens and cats weak. Kittens should be treated against roundworms at 4-6 weeks and then regularly every 2 - 3 weeks until they are 4 months old. After this worming they should be treated for roundworms and tapeworms every 2 - 6 months depending on how much they hunt and if they have fleas. Always use a proprietory wormer available from your vet and follow the dosing instructions carefully.
Fleas can be particularly unpleasant, both for your cat and you if they spread rapidly into your property. Flea dirt can usually be seen as small brown specks particularly around the neck and base of the tail. When placed on damp cotton wool 'flea dirt' slowly dissolves producing bloody streaks.
For effective control, adult fleas on the kitten must be killed and reinfestation from the environment prevented. Traditional flea preparations - sprays, shampoos and collars - can contain substances that are potentially toxic to kittens and are also not very effective. There are now much better methods of treating fleas and they can be used from a very young age - they normally involve simply applying an fluid to the cat's skin and it is extremely simple and effective. Speak to your vet about these products. It is especially important to ensure your cat is treated with flea prevention during the summer months.
Many cats have ear mites. Often there are no symptoms but in some cats they cause irritation leading to the production of a greyish/brownish matter in the ear. In severe cases the ear canal becomes blocked and infection follows. Even if the mites do not cause a painful reaction they can be very irritating and can be passed to other cats and dogs in the household. If you have a dog which is persistently getting trouble with ear mites, your vet should check your cat's ears too as they may be the source of the mites. If your kitten's ears appear dirty, itchy or full of dark-coloured wax it is worth checking the problem with your vet.
Each year many unwanted cats and kittens have to be put to sleep or are left to fend for themselves because there are not enough homes to go around. This is a terrible fact of life. However, neutering your cat ensures that you do not exacerbate this problem. A male cat can be castrated from four to five months of age. Neutering will reduce the likelihood that he will spray indoors to mark his territory. He will also spend less time roaming in search of mates and thus has less of a chance of being run over by a car or getting into fights. Cats which are bitten and scratched in fights are also more likely to be at risk from infectious diseases.
A female kitten needs to be spayed to prevent unwanted kittens. This can be undertaken by a vet from four to five months of age. She does not need to have a litter before she is spayed. Spaying has no harmful effects and removes the stress on both you and your cat brought on by calling (the loud mewing which female cats make to attract a mate), pregnancy, birth and the care and re-homing of kittens.
Cat insurance is vital for you and your cat. Protect yourself from high vet bills and get the best healthcare for your cat. To get a quote click here.
Pet Health Insurance aims to give you as much information as possible about pet insurance and why you should have it for your pet.
We have gathered together links to many of the top online pet insurers but we do not provide or endorse any particular product or make recommendations in any way. Please ensure that the pet insurance product that you purchase from any online provider meets your needs and that the provider is correctly regulated by the Financial Services Authority (FSA).