Bringing a New Kitten Home
A new kitten can be exciting. Start life with your new friend off on the right foot with proper veterinary care, nutrition, and socialization.
Before your kitten has contact with other cats, he needs to visit the veterinarian to be tested for feline leukemia virus and feline immunodeficiency virus, given a physical examination, tested and treated for parasites, and vaccinated. This will prevent the spread of a disease or parasites to other pets. If you have other pets, talk to your veterinarian about how to introduce your kitten to them.
Kittens receive some immunity (protection against disease) from their mothers at birth and through nursing. Because this immunity slowly wears off, kittens should be vaccinated against various diseases on a schedule, beginning at two to three months of age. Eight weeks is the best time to start vaccines. Ask your veterinarian for details.
Intestinal parasites are common in kittens. Fecal examinations and treatments (dewormings) are usually repeated until two consecutive fecal examinations have negative results. External parasites (fleas, ticks and mites) are treated with products approved for use on kittens.
Kittens should be spayed or neutered by six months of age. This helps to control pet overpopulation and reduces the chance of behavior problems and some medical conditions. Have your kitten microchipped as well when he or she gets neutered or spayed.
Bringing your kitten home
Kittens can leave their mother and littermates after they have been weaned, usually at eight to ten weeks of age. Like human babies, kittens require special care, including veterinary care, feeding and socialization. The best time to bring a kitten home is when you have at least one or two days to focus on helping him adjust to new surroundings.
To transport your new kitten home safely, you’ll need a carrier. Leaving mom is a big deal for your kitten; a carrier will help her feel more secure. Don’t use another pet’s carrier because its smell could be stressful to your kitten. Place a towel in the carrier for warmth and to absorb urine in case of an accident, and be sure to carry an extra towel.