What’s Next for your Kitten

Congratulations! Your kitten has completed his or her vaccination series and well-kitten exams. We hope that your pet is well on its way to a long and happy life as a member of your family. To keep your kitten healthy for a lifetime will require on-going care. The following list should help you to understand what health care needs your pet will have in the years to come.

The vaccines your kitten has received will provide immunity against disease for about one year. Boosters are needed to keep his/her level of immunity high enough to protect him/her from illness. You will receive reminders in the mail next year when his/her vaccinations are due.

Your pet will also receive an annual physical examination with his/her yearly booster vaccinations. By the time we see your pet again next year he/she will have grown through the equivalent of his/her teenage years and will be a young adult. Because a pet’s lifespan is compressed into a shorter amount of time than that of a human, many changes can occur in your pet’s body in the course of a year. The annual physical exam is very important to detect physical problems before they become serious.

Your Pet’s Age In Human Years

  • 6 months = 12 years
  • 1 year = 15 years
  • 2 years = 24 years
  • 3 years = 28 years
  • 4 years = 32 years
  • 5 years = 36 years
  • 6 years = 40 years
  • 7 years = 44 years
  • 8 years = 48 years
  • 9 years = 52 years
  • 10 years = 56 years
  • 11 years = 60 years
  • 12 years = 64 years
  • 13 years = 68 years
  • 14 years = 72 years
  • 15 years = 76 years
  • 16 years = 80 years
  • 17 years = 84 years
  • 18 years = 88 years
  • 19 years = 92 years
  • 20 years = 96 years
  • 21 years = 100 years

Once your pet reaches the age of seven years, annual blood and urine testing are also recommended to detect the onset of age-related illnesses such as hyperthyroidism, kidney and liver disease. We now see many, many cats that live to be 18 or more years old. Regular veterinary care is the reason why!

We will also be asking you to bring in a fecal sample from your cat each spring, to test for intestinal parasites which may have been picked up over the course of the year. Even if your cat doesn’t go outside it is wise to have a sample checked. Some intestinal parasites are picked up by eating rodents (such as a mouse caught in your basement). Others can be dormant in your cat’s system and show up later on, even though your pet hasn’t been exposed to them recently. A fresh sample will keep about 24 hours if refrigerated. We need about a teaspoon or so. Litter is not a problem if some is stuck on the sample.Your kitten should be fed a kitten food until he or she is one year old. Then switch gradually to an adult food by mixing the old and new foods together for about two weeks. This helps avoid intestinal upset from changing foods.Your pet will have a longer, healthier life on a good quality diet, such as Science Diet. Dry food is better for the prevention of dental disease.

Too many treats and snacks lead to fussy eating habits, obesity and digestive upsets. Give your pet praise and affection for rewards, not food! They will love you just as much.< >Spay or neuter your pet at six months of age. Altered pets live longer, are healthier in their old age, have fewer behavior problems and don’t contribute to the pet overpopulation problem.Your kitten will soon have a full set of adult teeth. Good dental care is essential to your pet’s well-being. Regular brushing will slow plaque and tartar build-up as your cat gets older. By the time he/she is two to five years old, however, he/she will probably have enough tartar build-up to begin needing annual dental cleanings here at the veterinary clinic. A cat that gets good dental care throughout its life will live an average of 20% longer than one that doesn’t. He/she will also have fresher breath, less pain from periodontal disease and be healthier and more energetic. Start brushing the teeth at about 6 months of age when all the permanent teeth have come in.Please call us with any questions or problems with your pet. Most medical problems are less costly to your pet’s well being and to your pocketbook if they are dealt with early.The same is true of behavioral problems. The earlier you contact us regarding a problem behavior, the sooner you can solve it. Behaviors such as urine spraying, biting, scratching or clawing the furniture can almost always be changed but you have to ask for help.Enjoy! Your kitten’s boundless joy, love and energy are a precious thing to have!