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Your Kitten's First Vet Visit: A Checklist

If you've brought home a new kitten recently, you're likely excited and anticipating all kinds of joyful milestones. But first, you'll need to check that they're healthy and give them a solid foundation for long-term health. Our Hattiesburg vets have some advice to offer about what to expect during your kitten's first visit to the vet.  

One of the first items on your to-do list after bringing your kitten home should be to book an appointment with your vet for a checkup. This visit allows your vet the opportunity to check on your kitten's health and ensure they don't have any contagious diseases. If you see any signs of illness in your kitten, such as difficulty feeding, watery eyes, sneezing, or breathing issues, don't hesitate to ask, "When should I make my first appointment with the vet?"

Should I bring anything to my kitten's first visit with the vet?

It's a good idea to pack the following items when preparing for your kitten's initial examination, whether you go to the veterinarian immediately after you pick up your kitten or book your appointment a day or two after your four-legged friend has arrived home. 

Items you'll need to bring with you include:

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

If you're bringing your kitten to the vet for the first time, don't forget to bring the adoption papers with you. You'll also want to let your vet know about any vaccinations or treatments your kitten has already received. If this isn't possible, write down what you were told at the time of the adoption, so you won't forget. 

What should I expect during my kitten's first checkup?

The veterinarian and team at the animal hospital will ask you questions about your kitten's health history and conduct a physical examination. They will also confirm your kitten is free from parasites such as fleas or mites. 

The vet will also check your kitten's ears, eyes, lips, skin, coat, and their entire body before palpating the abdomen to feel the organs. They will then use a stethoscope to listen to your feline friend's heart and lungs. A stool sample may also be taken to check for underlying health issues. 

We recommend adopting your kitten when they are between 8 and 10 weeks of age to make sure they are as healthy as possible before you bring them home. If you have a young kitten, especially if they are six weeks old or younger, your veterinarian will need to check its nutrition and hydration status, and may recommend supplements if necessary. 

Will the vet perform any diagnostic tests during this first visit?

Your kitten will likely need a fecal exam and a blood test. 

Fecal Exam - You'll likely be asked to bring a stool sample from your kitten to your veterinarian so it can be checked for parasites such as giardia, intestinal worms, and other potential issues. 

Since not all intestinal parasites are detected in fecal tests and a significant percentage of kittens are carriers, your vet may administer a dewormer to your kitten at each appointment. Many parasites can be transmitted to humans, so it's essential to treat them in your cat. 

Blood Test: The American Association of Feline Practitioners recommends that all newly adopted cats, regardless of age, be tested for FeLV and FIV. If your kitten is less than nine weeks old, your veterinarian may advise you to delay testing until it is at least nine weeks. If you have other cats in the house with your kitten, keep them separated until they have tested negative in case your new kitten has a transmissible disease.

What is the typical cost of a kitten's first vet visit?

The first vet visit and subsequent routine wellness exams can vary from vet to vet, cat to cat, and pet to pet. For an accurate estimate of the cost of kitten checkups, please contact your veterinarian directly.

What are some important questions to ask during my kitten's first vet visit?

Below, you'll find a list of basic questions you can ask your veterinarian during your kitten's first visit. Of course, you may have additional questions, and we encourage you to ask them. 

  • Is my cat a healthy weight?
  • Are they eating the right food and receiving the proper nutrition 
  • Which vaccinations does my cat need?
  • Are there any common pests or parasites in the area? How can I prevent my kitten from catching them?
  • Is my kitten sleeping too much or too little?
  • What resources are available at this vet clinic (e.g. X-rays, lab and tests, nutritional consultations, etc.)
  • Is it worth it to purchase insurance? If so, which companies do you recommend?
  • Do you have any grooming recommendations for my kitten?
  • Where are the nearby emergency veterinary hospitals that provide care in off-hours or holidays?
  • How is my cat's dental health 
  • Questions about cat food labels and how to read them, ingredients to look for, which ingredients to avoid, etc. 

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding people or pets. If you are concerned about your pet's health, contact your veterinarian right away for diagnosis and treatment.

Is it time to book your kitten's first vet appointment? Contact our Hattiesburg vets to schedule a wellness exam that will get them on track for a healthy, happy life.

New Patients Welcome

The Pet Hospital (Parkway) is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of companion animals in Hattiesburg and Petal. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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