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 newborn kitten's first vet visit and routine exams. Our San Diego 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.
Your veterinarian will perform a general health examination and look for any contagious illnesses in your kitten during this checkup. Inability to eat, sneezing, watery eyes, or difficulty breathing are all indications of illness. All of these indicate that your kitten needs to see a veterinarian right away.
When should I take my kitten for their first vet visit?
Whether you visit the vet's office right away after picking up your new kitten or within a day or two of bringing them home, we advise bringing a few items with you. These consist of:
- 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'll be taking your kitten to the vet for the first time, be sure to bring any adoption documents with you. Your veterinarian should also have a history of any immunizations or treatments that your kitten has had. If this is not possible, write down what you were told during the adoption process so you don't forget important details.
What will happen during the physical exam?
The vet will conduct a physical examination of your kitten and inquire about its medical history. Additionally, they will look for parasites like mites, fleas, and worms. Before palpating the abdomen to check the organs, the veterinarian will thoroughly examine your kitten's entire body, including their eyes, ears, skin, coat, and lips. Using a stethoscope, they will also listen to the heart and lungs. To determine whether your kitten has any underlying health issues, a stool sample may also be requested.
For ideal health, socialization and weaning time, kittens should be adopted between the age of 8 and 10 weeks. Young kittens (especially 6 weeks old or younger) will need to be examined by the vet to ensure they are getting the proper nutrition and hydration. Your veterinarian can recommend any supplements if required.
Will my kitten need any lab tests?
Yes, your kitten will likely need both a fecal exam and a blood test.
Fecal Exam: In order to test for parasites like intestinal worms, giardia, and other potential problems, your veterinarian will likely ask you to bring a sample of your kitten's feces. Your veterinarian may administer a deworming medication to your kitten at each appointment because a significant portion of kittens have intestinal parasites, which do not always manifest on fecal tests. Since many parasites can spread to humans, it's crucial to get rid of 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 my kitten's 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?
You can ask the following queries to your veterinarian at your initial appointment. However, these should get you started on the path to responsible cat ownership. Of course, there are a plethora of other questions you can ask, and we encourage you to do so:
- 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.