What Vaccinations Will My Kitten Receive?
Your kitten will receive two (and based on his or her lifestyle, potentially three) vaccines from us over a series of 2-3-visits. Here’s what they are:
This one vaccine provides protection against three aggressive upper respiratory infections that can be permanently disabling or deadly. The letters in the vaccine stand for Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis (Rhino= nose, trache= throat, it is= disease), Calici and Panleukopenia. You can click on each of the diseases for an explanation of the diseases by the American Association of Feline Practitioners.
Your cat will receive three doses of this vaccine at 8, 12 and 16 weeks of age and then receive a ‘booster’ of the vaccine one year later and every three years after that.
Required by law, most pet owners first become aware of the disease because of the spooky rabid dog scene portrayed in the must-read-when-you’re-in -middle-school book, To Kill A Mocking Bird. Rabies has no cure, is deadly, and can be transmitted to humans. Here’s an interesting map showing the number of rabies-positive victims in New York City by year.
The Rabies vaccine is delivered once to your cat at 16 weeks of age and ‘boostered’ every year using the safest vaccine on the market, Purevax. It’s important to note that East Side Animal Hospital discourages administering vaccines that include adjuvants to cats. Several studies have confirmed that these vaccines are linked to aggressive, often untreatable, deadly cancers in cats.
If your cat will go outside or come into contact with other animals that go outside or if you, as a pet owner, are in frequent contact with cats that may be exposed to the disease, East Side Animal Hospital will recommend this effective, pain free vaccination. More information on this life-long, debilitating disease can be found one the American Association of Feline Practitioners website.
Additional Required Veterinary Services
‘Feline AIDS’ and Leukemia test
‘Feline AIDS’ or Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) is not related to the human HIV. HIV+ humans are not capable of transmitting HIV to cats, nor are Feline immune-deficient cats capable of transmitting ‘Feline AIDS to humans, yet the symptoms are relatively the same. Cats that test positive for Feline Immunodeficiency Virus experience a life time of chronic illness and often die as a result of complications associated with the disease. Because of the nature of the disease and its ability to sometimes side-step detection, we’ll test your kitten for FIV once at 12 weeks and again at 6 months of age.
Feline Leukemia can be easily passed from mothers to their offspring or transmitted from other cats to newborns. Testing is repeated at 6-months of age, because like FIV, some kittens falsely test negative.
Fecal (Poop) Sample and Deworming
Many, many kittens are infected with parasitic worms before birth! To make sure that your kitten is infection-free and that other members of your household are not at risk, we’ll do two fecal tests on your young kitten and give two doses of a safe de-worming medication prior to 12 weeks of age. Each year that you come to our practice, please bring a stool sample so we can confirm that your cat has not been exposed to parasitic worms potentially brought into your apartment on your shoes, carried by mice, contained in potting soil, or tracked into your home by insects like roaches.
All pets, including cats living in New York City should be microchiped. Microchips are non-reactive permanent ways to identify your pet. Natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy, terror threats, a building fire or simply the urge to roam may end up separating you from your cat. Microchips provide you a fail-proof way of finding your cat should that ever happen since every shelter and animal control office in America possesses the tool required to ‘scan’ microchips and access the contact information of the pet owner.
In short, do it. Actually, it’s probably already been done, but if you don’t know for sure, we’ll let you know after we’ve completed our physical examination.
There is some discussion in the feline owning community about the potential negative side effects of early spaying or neutering. It’s the position of East Side Animal Hospital, the American Animal Hospital Association and the American Association of Feline Practitioners that spaying or neutering your cat supports a number of favorable health, behavioral and civic benefits and that all cats living in New York City should be spayed or neutered. Read the details of the American Association of Feline Practitioners on the matter.
Selecting a Great Food For Your Kitten
Cats are originally desert dwelling animals and there is some evidence suggesting that cats that derive their food from a wet source versus a dry source are more likely to be better hydrated and free of common cat issues like urinary track disease and bladder stones.
On the flip side, cats that eat a wet food are more likely to develop dental disease sooner than cats fed a dry food because the crunchiness of the dry food helps scrape teeth clean of plaque.
In the end you and your cat will decide what’s best. But here are a few bullet points to remember when selecting a kitten and cat food:
- If you are feeding a kitten, select a food designed for ‘all life stages’ or ‘kitten’ food.
- Ensure that the bag has an AAFCO statement attesting to the quality of the food
- Select a food where the first ingredient is an animal protein
- Remember that some wet foods will list water as the first ingredient. This is normal because the ingredients are listed in order of weight
- In the end, talk to an East Side Veterinarian about the food you finally select. We’ll help you make the right choice.
Selecting a Litter Box and Litter
The right litter box is one in which the cat can comfortably circle within. Remember that households with more than one cat may require more than one litter box to reduce fighting. Occasionally dominant cats will guard litter boxes and ambush other cats that try to use it. Having more than one litter pan in the house reduces the chances for an accident.
There are many kinds of litter on the market. East Side doesn’t have a preference. There is a lot of information on the topic. Here’s an excellent resource for you to review on the topic of indoor ‘bio’ accidents, cat litter and litter boxes.
Cats can suffer tremendously from dental disease. Untreated, dental disease debilitates the immune system, causes oral pain, chronic inflammation and infection in the mouth, and leads to secondary more serious issues with the liver, the kidneys and overall vigor.
Brush Your Cat’s Teeth
Many pet owners have figured out how to do it and you too can become a pro. Turn tooth brushing into a fun time with your cat. Enlist the kids to help. Do NOT use human toothpaste. East side carries a safe toothpaste for you to use along with brushes that are approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council and which are the right size for your pet’s mouth.
Understand the Unique Needs of A Cat
Cats are solitary creatures that have evolved to rely solely on their own skill, cunning, speed, and strength to survive. When frightened their natural instinct is to flee or fight. Cats that are taken from the safety of their home, placed in a carrier, jostled around in a taxi and brought to us for care often arrived panicked and agitated. Watch these helpful videos to understand how to acclimate your pet to his or her carrier, how to transport your cat to us, and then click through to the fear-free experience that we’ll provide your cat once it arrives at our hospital.