You've just welcomed a precious bundle of joy into your home—congratulations! Now, you might be wondering when to schedule your kitten's first vet visit, along with the routine check-ups in the future. Our vets in Somerset will discuss what you should anticipate during your kitten's initial appointment.
When you bring home a kitten, take it to a veterinarian for examination. This step is crucial, as it safeguards your kitten's health and prevents the potential spread of communicable infections. If you notice any signs of illness in the kitten, such as watery eyes, sneezing, breathing difficulties, or a loss of appetite, schedule an examination promptly.
Do I need to bring anything?
Some things are nice to have ready before the initial check-up, 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
Please ensure you bring any adoption documentation with you when you take your kitten to the vet for the first time. Additionally, make sure to inform your veterinarian about any previous treatments or immunizations that have been administered to the kitten. If it's not possible to do so, please take notes of the information you were provided during the adoption process to avoid forgetting it.
What happens during the physical exam?
The staff and veterinarian will interview you and conduct a thorough physical examination of your kitten. They will also check for other parasites, such as fleas and mites. The veterinarian will examine your kitten's eyes, ears, lips, skin, coat, and entire body. This examination will include palpating the abdomen to assess the organs and using a stethoscope to listen to the heart and lungs. Additionally, the vet may collect a stool sample to detect any underlying health issues.
To ensure optimal health, weaning, and socialization, it is recommended to adopt kittens at the age of 8 to 10 weeks. If your kitten is particularly young, especially if it is 6 weeks or under, the vet will evaluate the kitten's nutritional and hydration status and provide any necessary supplementation.
Will my kitten need any lab tests?
Your kitten will likely need a fecal exam and a blood test.
Fecal Exam: You will almost certainly be asked to bring a fecal sample from your kitten to your veterinarian for testing for parasites such as intestinal worms, giardia, and other possible issues. Because not all intestinal parasites are detected by fecal tests and a significant percentage of kittens have them, your vet may administer deworming medication at each appointment. Many parasites can be transmitted to humans, so removing them from your cat is critical.
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 cost of the initial vet visit and subsequent routine exams may differ depending on the veterinarian, the specific cat, and the individual pet. To obtain an accurate cost estimate, we recommend contacting 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 veterinarian during your initial visit. Of course, there are many more questions you can ask, and we encourage you to do so, but these should get you started on the path 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.