Keeping a cat healthy throughout his or her expected lifespan requires far more than providing food and water. While those basics are indeed essential, you'll also need to be sure that your feline is properly vaccinated, groomed, kept safe from common hazards, and treated for any injuries or illnesses that arise. For these reasons, your very first step should be to establish a relationship with a veterinarian in Ocala FL such as our Magnolia Animal Hospital.
Basic Timeline for Kitten and Cat Care
Shots make up the mainstay of kitten care. They not only protect the kitten while it is still young and extra vulnerable but lay the foundation for adult immunities.
Some shots also protect cats that will be in unique situations, such as being boarded or shown. These vaccines typically are only given when such situations are anticipated.
Here are some of the most common feline shots that your cat will likely encounter:
- Feline leukemia
Not all of these shots are given at once. Instead, several are provided on the first visit, while others are delivered on the second or third. Notably, your kitten will need to be screened for feline leukemia before that vaccine is given.
Other Routine Kitten Care
Shots may make up the bulk of veterinary kitten care, but there is more to it. Here are some other aspects you can expect:
- Discussion of feeding, watering, and grooming needs
- Parasite screening (and, if needed, treatment)
- Spaying or neutering
- Booster shots as required
Once kittenhood is over, the frequency of routine vet visits drops. Yearly checkups provide ample opportunity to provide booster shots, re-screen for parasites, and check for age-related diseases. If any special situations arise, such as the need to board your cat, the extra vaccines required will also be given.
Procedures Just for Cats
The most well-known procedure that is just for cats is declawing. This permanently removes the cat's ability to scratch via the amputation of the outer joint of each toe, which would otherwise grow the claws.
There is much controversy about this procedure, but its suitability actually depends on circumstances. If a cat has an intractable habit of clawing your legs, for example, declawing may be the only serious solution for keeping him in your home. That said, a declawed cat must be kept inside since the claws are also his defense against outdoor animals. Weigh the decision to declaw carefully.
To get your kitten started off right, it's best to bring him or her in for their first appointment between 4-6 weeks. That said, it's never too late for immunizations and other such care. Just give us a call at any time to get started.