Congratulations on your new kitten! This packet offers some tips on care and feeding to help your pet live a long, healthy life. If you ever have any questions regarding the care and health of your pet, you are welcome to contact us.
Choosing a pet food can be a difficult task. Different companies make claims for features of their foods which may or may not be important for your cat’s health. Use these guidelines to help select a quality food for your pet.
* Kittens up to the age of one year have special nutritional needs. Pick a quality kitten food to supply calcium, protein and minerals for a growing pet.
* The highest quality foods are made by companies like Iams and Hill’s Science Diet. These foods cost more and are not found in supermarkets, but you get the best in quality and digestability; your cat eats less while receiving superior nutrition.
* Cats are true carnivores. This means that their diet must include a source of animal fat and protein. Do not feed cats dog food or vegetarian diets.
* Dry foods can help prevent dental problems and plaque formation in some cats. Canned foods contain the same ingredients as dry, plus 75% water. In general, we recommend dry food unless your cat has special needs that require a canned diet. Avoid semi-moist (soft) foods; these contain high levels of sugar and tend to stick to the teeth, promoting decay.
* A special problem in cats is Feline Urological Syndrome, or FUS. Symptoms will be discussed later, but FUS may be prevented by feeding a properly balanced diet.
* Avoid feeding table scraps – they unbalance the diet and lead to behavior problems, such as begging.
Kittens can carry several types of intestinal parasites, including worms. Infestations may cause diarrhea, vomiting, poor growth and hair coat, and serious illness especially in young kittens. Bring in a stool sample for parasite examination.
Cats are commonly infested with tapeworms due to their hunting instinct. Small rodents and fleas can both infect cats. If you see small, white, square or rice-like objects sticking to thehair around your cat’s tail, call for a special tapeworm medicine.
There are several vaccines currently available for cats. Use these guidelines to help select those necessary for your pet.
* Rabies – Every cat should be vaccinated regularly for Rabies, a deadly disease transmissible to humans and animals by the saliva of infected animals. Even cats kept as indoor pets can be exposed to rabies by bats and other wild animals.
* FVR-CP – Commonly called a Distemper shot, this vaccine helps protect against four common, highly contagious respiratory diseases. All cats should receive this shot yearly.
* Feline Leukemia – Also called FLV or FeLV, this disease is caused by a virus that infects only cats. The virus can cause tumor formation, bone marrow depletion, immunosuppression, or any
combination of the three. This disease is usually fatal. FeLV is passed between cats by direct contact, and any cat having contact with others (including all cats that go outdoors) should receive a yearly booster. *We recommend testing all new cats for FeLV and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) before introducing them to your household.
* Feline Infectious Peritonitis – Also called FIP. This uncommon, but highly fatal disease more often affects very young or elderly cats.
Feline Urological Syndrome is caused by crystal formation in the bladder. Symptoms include straining or failure to urinate, crying or squatting for long periods in the litter box, and eventually depression and even death. This disease can be quickly fatal! Any cat with these symptoms should be seen by a veterinarian; cats unable to urinate are emergency cases. CATS DIAGNOSED WITH FUS MUST EAT ONLY A SPECIAL PRESCRIPTION DIET.
Spaying (females) and castration (males) is performed at about 6 months of age. Early neutering helps prevent many objectional beha- iors (including urine spraying, fighting and roaming) and reduces the number of unwanted cats destroyed, an estimated 10 million per year. Neutering a cat when it is young can also help prevent various health problems as the cat gets older, (especially mammary cancer in females).