Have you recently brought a cute little kitten into your home? If yes, taking them to a vet for their first check-up is important. This early veterinary care can ensure that your furry little friend stays healthy throughout life. In this article, our vets in Seattle will provide insights on what to expect during the first vet visit for your kitten.

Why Early Veterinary Care is Essential for Kitten Health

At Madison Park Veterinary Hospital, we understand how exciting it is to welcome a new kitten into your family. Although you might be too smitten with your new feline friend, it's important to prioritize their healthcare needs to ensure they start their life as healthy as possible.

Kittens are often carriers of highly contagious parasites and infections, which you do not want to consider. Therefore, taking your kitten to a veterinarian is crucial for optimal health and safety. Additionally, it helps protect other pets and people from potential communicable diseases.

We highly recommend that you book your kitten's first vet appointment immediately, especially if they show worrying symptoms such as persistent scratching, watery eyes, labored breathing, or poor appetite.

When to Take Kitten for First Vet Visit

Taking your new kitten to the veterinarian for a check-up as soon as possible is highly recommended. This will allow the vet to check for any parasites or signs of viruses that could be transmitted to other pets or even to people living in your home.

Most kittens leave their mothers at around 8 weeks of age, and this is the ideal time to take them for their first vet visit.

If you find a newborn kitten without a mother, it is important to immediately take them for their first vet visit. Contact your vet right away and they will be able to provide you with essential guidance on how to take care of your new family member.

New Kitten Vet Visit Checklist - What To Bring

When it's time for your kitten's first vet visit there are a few things you may want to take along, including:

  • Any information and paperwork provided by the shelter or breeder
  • Notes of any concerns you have about the kitten
  • Stool sample
  • Cat carrier
  • Cat Treats

If you're taking your kitten to the vet for the first time, make sure to bring any adoption documentation with you. Your veterinarian should also be aware of all treatments and immunizations already administered to the kitten. If it is not possible, write down what you were told at the adoption so you don't forget.

What Happens During Your Kitten's First Vet Visit

During your kitten's first visit to the vet, the veterinary team will ask you about your kitten's history and conduct a comprehensive physical examination. This includes checking for signs of parasites such as fleas and mites, examining your kitten's eyes, ears, lips, skin, coat, and entire body, palpating the abdomen to feel the organs, and using a stethoscope to listen to the heart and lungs. The vet may also take a stool sample to check for any underlying health problems.

Adopting kittens at the age of 8 to 10 weeks is recommended for optimal health, weaning, and socialization. If your kitten is young, especially if it is six weeks or under, the vet will need to examine its nutrition and hydration status and offer any necessary supplementation.

Your kitten typically receives its first round of core vaccinations during its first vet visit. These vaccines will help protect it against potentially serious feline health conditions such as Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, Panleukopenia, and Chlamydia. However, it is important to note that your kitten will not be fully protected against these conditions until it has received all the required rounds of its vaccines. Therefore, speaking to your vet about when your new kitty will be fully protected is important.

Additionally, your vet will discuss the optimal timing for booking your kitten's spay or neuter procedure and why this is an important step for your kitty's health.

Additional Testing

Besides a physical examination performed by your vet, your kitten will likely also need a fecal exam and a blood test.

Fecal Exam: Your veterinarian may likely ask you to bring a stool sample from your kitten to test for parasites such as intestinal worms, giardia, and other potential issues. Since not all intestinal parasites show up on fecal tests and a substantial percentage of kittens have them, your vet may prescribe a deworming medicine at each appointment. Several parasites can be transmitted to humans, making it crucial to eliminate them from your cat.

Blood Test: According to the American Association of Feline Practitioners, it is recommended to test all newly adopted cats, regardless of their age, for FeLV (Feline Leukemia Virus) and FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus). If your kitten is less than nine weeks old, your veterinarian may advise you to wait until it is at least nine weeks old to perform the test. If you have other cats in the house, it is important to keep them separated from your new kitten until they have tested negative for the virus to avoid spreading the disease.

Kitten First Vet Visit Cost

The first vet visit and subsequent routine exams can vary in price from vet to vet, cat to cat, and pet to pet. To get an accurate estimate of the cost of your kitten's first appointment, please get in touch with your veterinary clinic directly.

Questions To Ask Your Kitten's Veterinarian

Here is a list of questions you can ask your vet during the first visit. Of course, there are a myriad of others you can ask, and we encourage you to do so, but these should start you on the road to responsible cat ownership:

  • Is my cat a healthy weight?
  • Are they eating the right food and getting proper nutrition?
  • Are they sleeping too much or too little?
  • What resources are available at this vet clinic? (ex. X-rays, labs, etc.)
  • Are there any common parasites or pests in the area? How can I prevent them?
  • Is cat insurance worth it and if so, who do you recommend?
  • Do you have any grooming recommendations for my cat?
  • Are there any vaccinations my cat needs?
  • Where are the nearby emergency services for off-hours or holidays?
  • What do you recommend for flea and tick prevention?
  • How is my cat's dental health?
  • Any cat food label questions such as how to read them, what to look for, etc.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Let our experienced veterinary team help you provide your new kitty with the best health care. Contact our Seattle vets to book your kitten's first vet visit.