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WCAH Kitten Welcome Letter

Congratulations on the new addition to your family! While getting a kitten is very exciting, it can also be demanding, especially in the first year where there are frequent veterinary visits. The staff here at West Carleton Animal Hospital are here to help get you and your new family member started on the right track by providing some very important medical information about a kitten’s first year.

★ Vaccines

Most kittens require a set of 3 vaccines which are administered three to four weeks apart. The core (required) vaccines for all cats are the: Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus,

Panleukopenia (FVRCP) vaccine, and the Rabies vaccine. Depending on your kitten’s lifestyle, there is one other vaccine available: Feline Leukemia vaccine, which is strongly recommended if your cat will be indoor/outdoor. The vaccination series for new kittens are typically administered as follows.

Kitten’s age                                                                 Vaccine (s)                                                     Duration of efficacy

8 weeks                                                                        ➔1 st FVRCP                                                   3 – 4 weeks

12 weeks                                                                      ➔2 nd FVRCP (booster)                                 3 – 4 weeks


  ➔Leukemia (initial) *

16 weeks                                                               ➔3 rd FVRCP (final booster) & Rabies                       1 year


      ➔Leukemia (booster)*

*Please note: the Leukemia vaccine is recommended if your cat will be going outdoors unsupervised for any period of time, as they risk the potential of interacting with wildlife, or other cats. If your cat is initially indoor only, but later in their lifetime begins going outside, the

Leukemia vaccine series can be started at any time as long as your cat is 12 weeks or older.

All kittens require a physical examination with a veterinarian prior to receiving their vaccines by law. This is to ensure they are healthy, to address any possible concerns that may develop as they are growing, as well as to monitor any potential vaccine reactions. As such, there is an exam fee associated with kitten exams, including vaccination boosters.

If you have adopted a kitten from a breeder, it is likely that they have already received their first FVRCP vaccine. If this is the case, then 2 appointments are required with us to adequately booster the vaccine series. Proof of the initial vaccine will be required for your kitten’s medical records.

★ Feline Viral Testing (FelV/FIV)

Feline viral testing plays an important role in ensuring your cat’s health. This generally involves testing for feline leukemia virus (FeLV), and/or feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) which is done through blood tests.

Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) is one of the most important infectious viruses in cats as it is responsible for a number of feline diseases including leukemia and some cancers. FeLV is highly contagious and is transmitted through body fluids, and may be transmitted across the placenta in pregnant cats.

Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) is another virus that is specific to cats. FIV is highly contagious, and reduces the capacity of the cat’s immune system to respond to other infectious agents. It is transmitted primarily through cat bite wounds, although it may be transmitted by other routes such as across the placenta.

Because both conditions can be associated with a wide variety of diseases, including those causing bone marrow and immune dysfunction, testing for FeLV and FIV is strongly recommended for:

> A new cat prior to its adoption into a household with other cats
> If your cat has been exposed to another cat of unknown FeLV or FIV status
> Whenever a cat is ill

Parasites (internal & external)

★ Deworming (internal parasites)

Did you know that most kittens are born with intestinal worms? It’s true! They often pick up parasites in utero or from their mother’s milk. Did you also know that some of these parasites can be spread to humans? It’s also true! To ensure that your kitten is not a carrier of intestinal worms/parasites, multiple doses of deworming is recommended. We recommend deworming every 2 – 3 weeks until your kitten is 16 weeks of age, then monthly until they are 6 months old. Deworming options can be discussed with the veterinarian during your kitten’s appointments.

Common deworming products for kittens at WCAH:

Milbemax, Strongid-T, Profender, Advantage Multi, Nexgard Combo

★ Tick & Flea Prevention (external parasites)

Prevention for ticks and fleas is recommended for cats of all ages who go outdoors, or who frequently interact with other pets who go outdoors. Ticks are out and active as long as the weather is above 0 degrees Celsius consistently. With our varying weather patterns, even during the winter months, ticks can be active and prevention is recommended. There are a number of various tick and flea preventative options available for your kitten. Finding the right product for your furry family member can be overwhelming, but WCAH is here to help! While there exist many preventative options, our most widely used products include but are not limited to the following, and can be discussed with a veterinarian or staff member:

Bravecto, Advantage, Revolution Plus, Nexgard Combo

★ Spaying/Neutering

Spaying (for females) and neutering (for males) is a procedure in which reproductive organs are surgically removed. This is strongly recommended to prevent unwanted pregnancies and reduce the risk of cancer (uterine and mammary for females; and testicular for males). Spaying also rids the risk of pyometra (a severe life-threatening infection of the uterus). Additionally, in some cases, spaying/neutering can decrease undesired behaviours. The recommended date of performing this procedure will depend on your kitten, but is generally performed between 6 months – 1 year of age. The ideal date of spaying/neutering your pet can be discussed with a veterinarian at your kitten’s initial appointment(s).

★ Nutrition

Nutrition is crucial in ensuring your kitten’s healthy development! It can be challenging to navigate through contradictory dietary information online, or even if you find yourself in front of rows upon rows of food at a pet store or veterinary clinic. The following article can help you ask the right questions to guide you to the right diet for your kitten:

Additionally, Pet Nutrition Alliance has both pet owner and veterinary resources, as well as current nutritional guidelines for pets. If you are still uncertain, nutrition options can be discussed with one of our veterinarians or staff members at your kitten’s exams.

We generally suggest a combination of canned and dry foods to promote good hydration and hence improve kidney and bladder health.

★ Environmental Enrichment

Feline enrichment is a great way to reduce your cat’s stress and boredom. An enriched environment will give cats the opportunity to create their own positive experiences in an enclosed space. Below are some resources you may find helpful for keeping your cat busy, happy and healthy!

○ Interactive Cat Play by Dr. Mikel Delgatto /Lili Chin
○ Teach Your Cat to Follow a Target Karen Pryor Academy
○ Food Puzzles for Cats: Feeding for Physical and Emotional Wellbeing from the
American Association of Feline Pracctionners (AAFP)
○ How To Train Your Cat: Beginners Start Here
■ Cat Training 101 – Why You Need A Clicker!
■ Target Stick Training For Cats: Three methods to start

★ Litterbox Tips & Etiquette

Litterbox etiquette is very important for your cat. To minimize any potential litterbox-associated stress, and to ensure your cat is comfortable and content with their litterbox, here are some helpful tips:

Litterbox type: a large litter box is recommended. Your cat’s litterbox should ideally be 1.5 the length of your cat. The litterbox should be uncovered.

Quantity: the appropriate ratio of litterbox to cat is 2:1 (a minimum of 2 litterboxes per cat). For a multi-cat household, there should be one litterbox per cat in separate rooms, and an additional litterbox in a different area of the house.

Placement: The placement of your cat’s litterbox is very important. The litterboxes should be located in quiet, low-traffic areas in your house. If possible, place the litterboxes far from loud noises, furnaces or other appliances that turn on suddenly.

Litter type: Most cats prefer unscented, low dust clumping litters. Different litter types may need to be tested to determine which type of litter your cat prefers.

Litter Box Hygiene: this is very important! Scoop your cat’s litter a minimum once daily – think of it as “flushing every time you use it”. To help facilitate this, having the litterboxes in places where you will see and smell it will encourage you to keep the litterboxes clean. Deep cleaning the full litterbox can be done using warm water & unscented dish soap, ideally on a weekly basis but a minumum of once monthly.

Additional resources for litterbox etiquette:

■       Litter box ABCs

■     Cat body language and litter box tips

Thank you for trusting us with your new family member, we are excited to watch them grow! Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or require any clarifications.

© 2024 West Carleton Animal Hospital