Your new little bundle of joy is settling in at home, and you're having fun taking on the role of pet parent. Now it's time to schedule your kitten's first vet appointment and routine exams. Our Kent vets offer some tips to help you prepare and explain what to expect at your kitten's first visit.
One of the first things you'll want to do when you bring a new kitten home is to book the first exam with your veterinarian.
During this checkup, your vet will check whether your kitten has any communicable diseases and assess their general health. Signs of illness can include an inability to eat, sneezing, watery eyes or trouble breathing. All of these mean your kitten should see a vet right away.
Should I Bring Anything?
We recommend bringing a few things with you to your kitten's first checkup, whether your drop by the veterinarian's office after picking up your new kitten or within a day or two of bringing them home. These include:
- Notes of any health concerns you have about your kitten
- Any information or papers from the breeder or shelter
- Stool sample
- Cat treats
- Cat carrier
If you're taking your kitten to the vet for the first time, remember to bring any adoption documents and provide information about your kitten's immunizations or treatments, if available. If you don't have specific records, make sure to jot down important details you were told during the adoption process.
During the physical exam, the veterinarian will ask about your kitten's health history and conduct a thorough examination. They will check for parasites like mites, fleas, and worms. The vet will carefully examine your kitten's eyes, ears, skin, coat, and lips, and palpate the abdomen to assess the organs. Using a stethoscope, they will listen to the lungs and heart. Additionally, a stool sample may be collected to check for any underlying health issues.
For optimal health, socialization, and proper weaning, it's recommended to adopt kittens between 8 and 10 weeks of age. Young kittens, especially those 6 weeks old or younger, may require a vet examination to ensure they are receiving the right nutrition and hydration. If needed, your veterinarian can provide recommendations for supplements.
Will my kitten need any lab tests?
Yes, your kitten will likely need both a fecal exam and a blood test.
Fecal Exam: You will most likely be requested to bring a fecal sample from your kitten to your veterinarian for testing for parasites like intestinal worms, giardia, and other potential issues. Because not all intestinal parasites show up on fecal tests and a substantial percentage of kittens have them, your vet may give your kitten a deworming medicine at each appointment. Many parasites can be transmitted to humans, thus it is 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.
How much will the first vet visit cost?
The first vet visit, as well as subsequent wellness exams, can vary from vet to vet, cat to cat, and pet to pet. For an accurate estimate of cost, please contact your veterinarian directly.
What questions should I ask at my kitten's first vet visit?
Here is a list of questions you can ask your vet during the first visit. Of course, there are 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. Please make an appointment with your vet for an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition.