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Cold Lake Veterinary Clinic - Kitten Information
Congratulations on your New Kitten! Here is some information to help you get started.
What Your Cat Needs:
**If you have multiple cats you should provide a set of the above listed needs for each cat
Vaccine schedule for kittens: Starts at 6-8wks of age and then every 3-4 weeks until >16wks
In general: 8, 12 & 16wks but can be adjusted based on the age the kitten is weaned.
Our goal is to vaccinate your kitten to provide immunity as the protection they received from their mother’s milk decreases. The “kitten booster” vaccines are for contagious respiratory illnesses. These viruses can be transferred into the home on shoes or clothing so even indoor cats are at risk and should be vaccinated. Once a kitten is finished their series of kitten boosters they are then vaccinated once annually for respiratory viruses and every 1-3 years for rabies.
For more information about vaccines and your cat please see:
Internal Parasites (worms): Worms can cause vomiting, diarrhea, or bloated stomach. However, most kittens have parasites and do not show any symptoms. We recommend deworming medication for kittens at 8, 12, and 16 weeks of age (when they are seen for their kitten vaccination appointments). Deworming should be repeated at least once per year for the remainder of the cat’s life.
External Parasites: Ear mites, fleas, lice, and ticks are external parasites. Ear mites are very common in kittens and cause itchy ears. Your veterinarian will check your kitten’s ears and skin at each visit. If you notice that your cat is itchy or scratching at their ears please notify the veterinarian.
*Many over the counter parasite medications and flea medications are very toxic to cats and can be life threatening. Please avoid over the counter parasite medications for your cat or consult veterinary advice prior to giving any of these medications.
For more information on parasites and your kitten please see:
Diet and Feeding:
DIET: Cats are obligate carnivores and require a diet with a large proportion of animal protein. Cats also have a poor thirst mechanism (they do not feel “thirsty” like humans do) and they are very inefficient at drinking water. Therefore, it is very beneficial to feed a HIGH PROTEIN and HIGH MOISTURE diet to cats, such as a high protein canned cat food. It is also recommended to have water fountains or various shapes of water bowls throughout the house to stimulate drinking.
Kittens should be fed a diet that is labelled for growth/kittens until they are at least 6 months of age. *The small print on the label should read something along the following lines “Animal feeding tests using AAFCO procedures substantiate that this diet provides complete and balanced nutrition for growth of kittens”. Many foods are not tested or do not meet the minimum requirements and foods labelled as “all life stages” are often inappropriate.
FEEDING: Cats have evolved hunting small mice and small prey continuously throughout a 24 hours period. This has resulted in cats being accustomed to hunting for their food and eating several small meals throughout the day. It is unnatural for cats to have a bowl of food available to them at all times and this often leads to boredom, stress and obesity. It also explains why your cat may wake you up in the wee hours of the morning for food – it is unnatural for a cat to go 8-12 hours without food. Feeding cats small meals throughout the 24 hour period is recommended (timed feeders can help with this!). Providing activities which can stimulate hunting behaviour is also very beneficial for cats.
For more information on water and how to ensure your cat drinks enough please see:
For more information on feeding your cat please see:
Spay and Neuter:
Spaying: Spaying is removal of the ovaries +/- the uterus in a female dog or cat. Spaying before the first cycle helps to drastically reduce the risk of breast cancer. It also eliminates noisy heat cycles, kittens, and life-threatening uterine infections (pyometra).
Neutering: Neutering in cats reduces many behavioural concerns roaming, fighting, urine spraying/marking.
We recommend spay/neuter of cats around 6 months of age.
Pet Insurance is used to cover costs of any accidents or illnesses. The best time to get pet insurance is when your kitten is young and healthy as there will not be any pre-existing medical conditions. You cannot get pet insurance coverage for any issues which are already present – therefore, you must have this insurance prior to any emergencies. We offer direct billing and free 30 day trials of insurance through Trupanion. Please ask for this free trial if you are interested.
Young animals are often more curious and prone to ingesting toxic substances. Here is a list of foods and substances that are toxic to your pet:
Scratching is a normal behavioural need. It is possible to work with your cat’s natural tendencies and save your furniture and belongings. Please read more, and don’t hesitate to ask your veterinarian for further info: https://indoorpet.osu.edu/cats/basicneeds/scratching
*Declawing has been banned in this province as a medically unnecessary surgical procedure.
The Litter Box Survival Guide:
*Just like us, cats prefer that their bathrooms are clean. Daily scooping is strongly recommended. Many cats will start to urinate elsewhere in the house if their litter box is not cleaned frequently enough.
In general, cats prefer unscented, clumping, dust free litter. They also prefer that their litter is consistent, so once you find a brand your cat likes we do not recommend switching.
Most cats prefer large, open litter boxes that are at least twice the length of their body. We recommend using an under the bed storage container or Rubbermaid container with a large, low opening cut into one side. If using a container with higher sides cats prefer a clear or “see through” box.
An example of a storage tote which makes a good litter box (without modification).
For instructional video on making your own litter boxes like this with taller sides:
Most kittens are easy to litter train by simply having a litter box with unscented non-clumping clay litter in it that is easy to find and easy to get into. Put your kitten into the box a few times when you first pick him or her up to show them where it is. It is recommended to have a litterbox for every cat in the house plus an extra one which helps to reduce inter-cat conflict and allows cats to choose their favorites. Location is important for cats so having your litter box in a quiet location with minimal traffic is ideal. Make sure to scoop the litter every day and change the litter completely and scrub the litter box once weekly. It is also important to have a litter box on every level of the house for your kitten.
Feline House Soiling Important information on ways to prevent, manage or resolve urinating/defecating outside the litter box
New Kitten Socialization It's important to create positive associations for your kitty at a young age.