Ensure your kitten get’s the best start in life
If you’re adopting a kitten there are some key events and appointments in their early life that are essential for healthy development. We’ve outlined these below so that you can ensure your new kitten gets the best possible start in life. If you’re adopting a new kitten our Best Start plan will ensure you have all of the support and preventative healthcare steps covered.
Your Kitten Care Timeline
To help you stay organised and keep on top of your kittens health in their early life, we’ve put together this easy to follow kitten care timeline. It covers all of the key appointments you’ll need to book, as well as some of the ket events in their life. Remember, you can book your kitten’s health consultation at Knutsford Vets where our team will be on hand to ensure they stay healthy in the early months.
Kitten Flea Treatment
4 Weeks Old
Special kitten flea treatment can begin from 4 weeks of age. When adopting a kitten it’s important to know what treatment your kitten has received against fleas before adopting.
Second Worm Treatment
5 Weeks Old
By 5 weeks any kittens that you view for adoption should have had their second worming treatment.
Earliest Time To Rehome Your Kitten
It can often be tempting to bring your new kitten home early, especially when you see how cute it is, but it’s important that it stays with the mother and siblings until at least 8 weeks old. This ensures the kitten gains enough nutritional benefit from its mum’s milk, before being weaned on to solid cat food gradually so that it can adjust.
Adopting a kitten before 8 weeks of age can also cause behavioural problems as it’s during this time when the kitten learns to socialise. If you have other cats in your household its always worthwhile waiting until 12 weeks of age.
Third Worm Treatment
8 Weeks Old
If you adopt your kitten at 8 weeks of age, it’s important that you ask the people you’re adopting from if the cat has had its third worming treatment. If your kitten hasn’t had a recent wormer then now is the time to administer it. If you don’t have one we’ll usually prescribe it at your kittens’ first vaccination appointment.
8 Weeks Old
Microchipping can be performed from as young as 8 weeks of age. This is important as it ensures if your kitten somehow escapes it can be found and identified as your cat. By this point, once it’s allowed to go outside regularly it won’t be mistaken for a stray. Microchipping is an important procedure for all owners as it ensures your cat will be reunited with you safely.
Find out more about microchipping here.
Normal Flea Treatment Begins
8 Weeks Old
From 8 weeks of age your kitten can begin taking normal flea treatments. These can be as regular as once a month depending on the brand. It’s always important that you seek advice from your vet before administering flea treatments as this will ensure they receive the correct dose.
9 Weeks Old
Kittens require two courses of vaccinations to fully protect them against a wide range of illnesses. The first should be administered from 9 weeks. Kittens should be vaccinated against the following: –
- Cat flu
- Feline calicivirus
- Feline infectious enteritis
- Feline leukaemia virus
12 Weeks Old (or 3-4 weeks after first vaccinations)
Your kitten will have its second course of vaccinations at 12 weeks of age or 3-4 weeks after it’s first vaccination. This is a booster vaccination that ensures your kittens immunity. Although the first vaccinations provide some cover these aren’t fully effective until the second course. It’s for this reason why it’s sometimes worth waiting until the second vaccinations before rehoming. If you have other cats in your household it’s recommended to wait until the second vaccinations before rehoming.
Ideal Time To Rehome Kitten
12 Weeks Old
Although 8 weeks is the earliest point to rehome your kitten, it’s recommended to wait until 12 weeks. If you have other cats in your household, it’s important that you do not rehome until 12 weeks due to flu risk. By this point they should have had their second course of vaccinations meaning that they have full immunity to dangerous illnesses. This also ensures that they can be fully weaned.
Cat Allowed Outside Supervised
14 Weeks Old
At 14 weeks of age your cat is protected against a range of dangerous illnesses and is allowed outside. It is however important that you supervise them as they may not be mentally mature enough to fend for themselves and you could risk losing them.
You can purchase cat leads that will help introduce your kitten to the outside world if you want to reduce the risk of losing them. It’s worth noting that until your cat is neutered then there is a risk of pregnancy, whilst male kittens are more likely to roam further if they’re yet to be castrated.
4 Months Old
Although it’s possible to neuter kittens older, the earliest point you should neuter is at 4 months of age. This ensures that the kitten has matured enough to be operated on effectively and safely.
By neutering from 4 months you’re also reducing the risk of unwanted pregnancies in females as cats can get pregnant from as young as four months old depending on their size and weight. Your cat’s suitability for neutering will be assessed during their pre-operative assessment.
Read our cat neutering page to find out more.
Worming Goes To Once Every Three Months
6 Months Old
From 6 months of age you can worm your cat once every 3 months to protect them.
Let Your Kitten Roam Free
6 Months Old
From 6 months of age your cat is more mentally mature and you can let it roam safe in the knowledge that it’ll be able to return home. By this point they should have had all of their vaccinations protecting it from illness. It will also have been microchipped to identify it if it gets lost, and it will have been neutered to prevent unwanted pregnancies or roaming behaviours.
More Kitten Care Advice From Knutsford Vets
Welcoming a new kitten into the family is a very exciting time for everyone involved. Before you adopt your kitten it is important to ensure that you do plenty of research into ownership and if you are getting a pedigree kitten it is important to research what the character of the breed is and any health conditions they may suffer from.
To help you get to grips with kitten ownership and ensure your new pet gets off to the best start in life, we’ve put together this helpful guide. Find out more about the range of services on offer from your team here at Knutsford Vets in order for you to raise a strong and healthy cat.
At what age can a kitten come into a new home?
It is really important that a kitten stays with their mother for a minimum of 8 – 9 weeks, although some people will wait until after their first vaccinations. During the first few weeks of life mum is feeding the kitten and ensuring the milk she gives primes the kitten with antibodies to protect the kitten from some infections they can obtain from the environment.
The kittens will learn to eat solid foods and develop certain behaviours such as grooming, play and other social behaviours whilst with their mother. Leaving home too early can impact on a cat’s wellbeing and behaviours for the rest of their lives.
Choosing a healthy kitten and spotting a healthy litter
When selecting a kitten it is really important to ensure that you can see the mother and kittens together interacting. It is advisable to visit a litter before they are ready to come home so that you can see all of the kittens together, there is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to meet the mother.
During this visit, you will be able to see how well the mother and kittens are cared for and what kind of start they have had in life. It is important to assess some of the following things:
- What condition is the mother in – does she look well cared for, bare in mind mothers can lose weight whilst suckling kittens but they should not look too underweight.
- Look at where the kittens are being raised and how they are being socialised – a Kitten needs to learn the way of the world and this starts at a young age, early exposure to the sights and sounds of the world is important.
- Watch the kittens interact together, they often demonstrate some of their character traits at this young age, the boisterous kitten is likely to be confident in a new home, the quietest might suit a calm home.
- Be cautious of picking the smallest kitten, frequently the smallest kitten can develop health problems.
What worming and flea treatments has my kitten already had?
Kittens should be wormed from a young age as there is potential for the mother to transfer worms at birth, if the kittens have not been wormed regularly they can fail to gain weight, develop chronic diarrhoea as well as develop long term complications.
Kittens should be wormed at 3 weeks old, this is usually repeated every 2 weeks until 8 weeks old then monthly until 6 months old.
Kittens also need flea prevention treatments, especially if the mother is going outside, it is important to discuss this with your vet as some adult products are not suitable for young cats.
Bringing your Kitten home
Although bringing your kitten home is a very exciting time for you and your family, it can be very daunting for the kitten leaving familiar surroundings.
It is not uncommon for new kittens to find the perfect hiding place under the sofa or bed and remain there except for seeking food for some time. It is often a good idea to restrict them to one room in the house where they are able to be kept safely with access to everything they need, this can allow them to gradually explore their new home and gain confidence.
Make sure the new home is safe, kittens can squeeze in small holes and will often chew plants and other things in the environment. It is important to provide them with access to food and water and these bowls should be separate from each other. Often kittens are already litter trained when they come into a new home, keep the type of cat litter the same as what they are used to. It is important the litter tray is completely separate from the feeding and drinking area.
Cats and kittens have a natural urge to scratch on upright surfaces, it is important they are allowed to do this, but if you do not provide a scratching post and encourage them to use it they will naturally seek their own area which is often the sofa, chairs or curtains.
Their first kitten health check
Your vet will take plenty of time to get to know your kitten and for your kitten to build confidence with them. A full clinical diagnostic will be performed to check your kitten is fit and healthy and to discuss the best care for them. This is advised to be carried out at the earliest possible time following your rehoming.
If your kitten is due vaccinations, these will also be administered at this time and we may also prescribe your kittens wormer and flea treatment if appropriate. You can register your new kitten with us online and book your appointment using our booking portal. Alternatively, please call our reception team on 01565 337 999.