Bringing a new kitten home is one of the best feelings in the world but there is going to be a lot of hard work too. Here are some tips to keep our furry friends happy and healthy for many good years.
Vaccines contain antigens (weakened or inactivated forms of disease-causing organisms). When the vaccine is injected into your kitten’s body, it stimulates a mild immune response and production of antibodies. Should your kitten be exposed to the disease in future, his immune system is prepared to recognise and fight off the organisms or reduce the severity of the disease.
Vaccinate your kittens to protect them against infectious diseases such as feline panleukopenia, feline rhinotracheitis and feline calicivirus. Discuss with your vet about testing for feline leukemia virus (FeLV) and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV).
Feline panleukopenia, or parvovirus, is a highly contagious disease. The virus is spread through body fluids and contact with faecal material. Kittens can acquire the virus when nursing from an infected mother. It attacks the immune system as well as the lining of the intestines causing vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy and inappetance. Due to the high mortality rate, this disease is best prevented than treated.
#2. WORMS? bleah!
Roundworms, tapeworms and hookworms are commonly found in kittens. Other intestinal parasites that might infect your kittens include giardia and coccidia. Faecal examinations are done to determine the type of parasites present and the appropriate dewormer or medication given. Speak with your vet about a proper deworming schedule.
Maintain good personal hygiene to prevent the spread of parasites to other pets and family members. Keep litter boxes clear of faecal material. Wash and disinfect your hands after handling any animals.
#3. FIGHT THE FLEAS
Fleas are tiny, blood-sucking parasites that often cause skin problems. Kittens can get infested with fleas through contact with other affected animals or from the environment. Products to prevent fleas include shampoos, sprays, spot-on solutions and oral medications. Other animals in the household should be treated at the same time.
If your kittens are allergic to fleas – due to contact with flea saliva – she will be intensely itchy. Cats with Flea Allergy Dermatitis develop hair loss and infections due to excessive scratching and chewing. Heavy infestations can cause anaemia.
#4. STERILISE PLEASE
Neutered cats (males) are generally calmer and less likely to spray urine or wander out of the house in search of female cats in heat. That means they are less likely to get into accidents or fights with other cats which could lead to infectious diseases such as feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV). Neutered cats are also less at risk of developing prostate diseases.
Spayed cats (females) no longer go through heat cycles which greatly decreases the chances of developing mammary cancer and tumours. Because the uterus and ovaries are surgically removed, your spayed cat will not develop pyometra (a serious infection of the uterus) or ovarian cancer.
Some owners think that spaying or neutering makes their pets fat. That’s not the case. It is the lack of exercise and overfeeding that cause our dogs or cats to put on weight. Monitor food intake and provide regular exercise and activities to keep your pets fit and trim!
#5. NO MESH NO CAT
Cats have amazing balance but they do tumble off open windows or balconies when they are distracted, startled by sudden loud noises or simply caught in a clumsy moment. Cats who have fallen from height can suffer severe injuries. Visible injuries include fractured legs and jaw. Other injuries like ruptured bladders or collapsed lungs are less obvious but require emergency treatment.
Besides the pain your cat goes through, treatment can be costly. Some cats require intensive care in the hospital with long periods of recovery and rehab. Others become paralysed or do not survive. Then there is the emotional trauma of guilt when a family cannot afford treatment or disagree on euthanasia.
Keep our cats safe by securing our windows and gates. Plastic meshes are available at hardware stores and easily fixed with cable ties. Other options include more durable metal meshes, customised and invisible grilles.