Common Veterinary Questions about Kittens

Veterinary questions about kittens are common because many new kitten owners want to ensure their kitten's growth and development. Here are some of the most commonly asked veterinary questions about kittens:

What to Feed Your New Kitten

Kittens will remain nursing with their mother until about six weeks of age. After that, they will need a steady amount of nutrition to replace the nutrients they are no longer receiving from their mother.

At the six week mark, your kitten will be ready to transition to solid foods. Both Friskies and Fancy Feast make a canned food formula especially made for kittens. In addition, a variety of manufacturers, such as Purina, make kibble formulated for kittens. It is important to feed your kitten food that is specifically designed for kittens. Because kittens require a level of nutrients and fat to assist in their growth and development, a formula made for an older cat will not be sufficient for them.

Spaying or Neutering Your Kitten

Spaying of the female cat consists of a complete removal of the reproductive organs. Neutering of the male cat consists of removing the testicles in their entirety.

Theoretically, you can have your kitten spayed or neutered at any age; so long as it is after he has reached the age of eight weeks. It was thought, at one time, that spaying or neutering prior to the age of five months had a direct effect on lessening the life span of the cat. However, recent scientific studies have shown that no such correlation exists.

If you choose not to have your kitten spayed or neutered at an early age, there is no reason you can't have it done later in their life. However, keep in mind that they will have the ability to reproduce until then and you cannot have the procedure done while your female cat is pregnant or nursing.

Declawing Your Kitten

Having your kitten declawed depends solely on your preference, but more importantly on whether your kitten will reside indoors or out. If you plan on keeping your kitten indoors, having him declawed is worth consideration. Claws are a real risk factor for your furniture and if you have small children around.

However, if you plan on keeping your kitten outdoors, declawing is not something you should have done. When a kitten lives outside, their claws are their only means of defense. Without them, they are at a higher risk to other animals that might consider them prey. Likewise, your kitten also needs his claws to hunt food.

If you do decide to have your kitten's claws removed, it is best to have the procedure done while he is under anesthetic for his spay or neuter.

Vaccination Suggestions for Your Kitten

Vaccinations are extremely important to ensuring that your kitten lives a long and healthy life. Without vaccinations, your kitten is at risk for any disease that he comes into contact with.

The vaccinations that your kitten should receive include:

  • Feline distemper
  • Rhinotracheitis
  • Calicivirus
  • Rabies
  • Feline Leukemia

If your kitten is at risk or exposed to other cats with Feline Immunodeficiency Virus or Bordetella, you should consider having those vaccinations, as well. However, it is important not to over-vaccinate for diseases that your kitten is at relatively low risk of developing.