What are the right and wrong ways to pick up my kitten?

The wrong way to pick up your kitten includes holding them by the limb, tail, ears, or neck. The recommended approach is to place your hands under the kitten's chest between the front legs and under the belly. This position supports the front and back of the kitten.

Dr. Kelley Wallace
Catawba Heights Animal Hospital

How can I tell if my kitten is happy and healthy?

A happy and healthy kitten will have periods of play and rest, eat and drink regularly, and use the litter box several times a day. Healthy kittens will also gain weight over time. On the other hand, an unhealthy kitten is likely to sleep excessively, play less, and eat less. They may also not gain weight as expected.

How should I feed my kitten?

Kittens should be fed two to three times a day using either dry or canned kitten food. It's not advisable to leave food down all day. Instead, remove the food once they're finished eating and provide the next meal at feeding time.

What are some products I might need for my kitten?

The essential items you'll need for your kitten include food, bowls for food and water, a litter box, litter, toys, scratching posts or cat trees, and flea prevention products.

How soon should I bring my new kitten to see a veterinarian?

You should schedule a visit to the vet as soon as you get your kitten, regardless of whether it's a young kitten or an adult cat adopted from a shelter.

How can I get the most out of my first vet's visit with my new kitten?

To maximize your first vet visit, come prepared with any questions you may have. Also, bring along any vaccination history, testing history, or previous ownership or adoption papers you have for your kitten.

What will the veterinarian look for during my initial kitten care visit?

During the initial visit, the vet will check that your kitten is healthy, has the appropriate weight, is free of fleas, and has no skin or ear issues. For male kittens, the vet will also confirm that both testicles are in the scrotum, and they will check the kitten's sex.

What are some early signs and symptoms of health issues in kittens?

Early signs of health issues in kittens include poor or lack of weight gain, excessive sleep, reduced playfulness, decreased appetite, diarrhea, nasal discharge, crusty or teary eyes, or pale gums which could indicate anemia.

Why is it important to avoid self-diagnosing kittens with health problems?

Self-diagnosing can often lead to incorrect conclusions. Some health problems are more urgent than others, and it's best to consult a veterinarian to ensure your kitten receives the appropriate treatment.

When should my kitten get vaccines?

Kittens should start getting vaccines between six and eight weeks of age. Vaccines should then be administered every three to four weeks until they're about 12 weeks old. The rabies vaccine is typically given after 12 weeks of age. It's also recommended that the feline leukemia vaccine be administered to all kittens. Given that kittens are likely to explore outdoors, a fecal check and deworming are also necessary.

What do you need to know about kitten behavior?

Kittens are very playful and will have periods of wakefulness and playtime, followed by several hours of sleep. As they mature, their sleep periods will shorten while play periods will lengthen. Kittens are most active around two o'clock in the morning. If you notice a change in these behaviors or if they have stopped, it's important to consult with a vet.

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