Kitten health advice
If you're adopting a very young kitten (9 to 16 weeks) you must know what to look out for in its first weeks and months in your home.
If you don't, it could be fatal to the kitten.
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Kitten health problems to look out for
If your kitten has an obvious problem or just doesn't seem well - for example, it isn't playing, eating or drinking normally - you should IMMEDIATELY take it to your Vet. Common problems include:
- Dehydration - a MAJOR problem. This is often caused by diarrhoea, which in turn can easily be caused by a change in diet after weaning off Mum's milk, or simply from the stress of a new home. Dehydration can take hold very quickly, and can be fatal if not treated by your Vet within 24 hours.
- Eye infections are another common problem, and need veterinary attention to prevent more serious problems developing.
In the first weeks and months of its life, your kitten is relying on you to spot any potential problems and have them treated as soon as possible. Please don't hesitate to call us if you're worried about your kitten's health in any way - or call your Vet.
Why kittens are vulnerable
Like any baby, a young kitten is vulnerable to illness and disease. A baby kitten obtains its immunity from its mother’s milk up and then vaccinations. Vaccinations however cannot start until the kitten is 9 weeks old.
- Kittens have a weakened immunity to adult cats.
- The immune system is at a lowest ebb until the first vaccinations can be given at 9 and 12 weeks.
- The kitten's immune system will then be assisted, and build naturally approximately 1 week after it has its second first-year vaccination.
So, because vaccinations cannot be given until they are 9 weeks old, and because it takes time for the immune system to develop, kittens under the age of 16 weeks are VERY prone to minor illnesses and conjunctivitis.
What we do to avoid kitten health problems
We have a huge volume of cats and kittens passing through our doors. That makes it likely for kittens to come into contact with viruses carried by other cats. We will never knowingly home a kitten with an illness, but there is still a chance that a kitten will go home with a virus without us being aware of it. That's why it's so important that you stay alert.
We go to great lengths to maintain the well-being of all our cats and kittens. With good housekeeping, care and attention we ensure the risk is minimised as far as possible. We can accept no financial liability if a kitten you take home becomes seriously ill, or worse.
What you can do to keep your kitten healthy
Apart from staying alert and reacting early to a sick kitten, the advice here is that the yearly vaccinations really do work and will protect your cat in the years to come. As an adult, your kitten will meet other cats in the garden and could catch a virus if it hasn't been vaccinated. An adult cat's immune system will naturally act as a barrier, so it is much less likely to succumb to disease than a kitten - but it is still possible without a vaccination.
So keep your cat safe, have a yearly booster and keep your vaccination record! That's particularly important if you need to put your cat in a cattery so you can go on holiday - you'll need an up-to-date vaccination record to do so.
It's better to be safe than sorry. Most kittens will be fine while they're waiting for their injections if you keep an eye on their health, and most problems can be solved quickly with no long-lasting effects. And remember, we're here to advise you if you're worried.