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Tattooed Couple On Farm Together. Man carrying cute kitten on his shoulder.
Tattooed Couple On Farm Together. Man carrying cute kitten on his shoulder.

Kittens are the epitome of cute chaos—adorable, curious, and a whirlwind of energy. But behind those big eyes and tiny paws are some serious challenges.

Adopt a Shelter Kitten (or two…or three)

Ready to change a kitten’s life? Adopting from a shelter will do just that. With shelters often operating at full capacity, every adoption helps ease their load and gives another kitten a chance at a loving home, all while reducing the chances that another animal will be euthanized due to space limits.

Adopting a kitten from a shelter is typically a straightforward process, and most can be done on the same day and for just a small fee. Start by checking online for local shelters and cat-only rescues—you’ll find plenty to choose from. Your local ASPCA is also a great resource.

Once you decide on a shelter, it’s time to go find your new furball! When you visit the shelter, be ready to fill out some paperwork and answer a few questions. It’s their way of ensuring their kittens find good homes. You may have to complete an application, including proof of age, residency, and pet ownership history. Some places may have a 24-hour waiting period before you can bring your kitten home to give you time to think about your decision and make sure you’re comfortable and committed.

See a sample pet adoption form here.

And while you’re there, we understand if you fall in love with more than one kitten. But look at it this way: If you have room for more than one kitten, you’re not just easing the shelter’s load—you’re helping bonded little lions stick together. Think of it as a crazy cat lady starter pack…which we love for you.

Set Them Up for a Healthy Life: Vaccinations

Kitten officially in the house? Awesome. You’ve done your research, prepared your house, snagged the essentials—and maybe some toys to help your new arrival burn off some of that new-kitten energy. So, you’re all set, right?

Wrong.

Ensuring your kitten grows into a healthy cat means staying on top of vaccinations. Here’s what you need to know.

Required Vaccines

Required (or core) vaccines are those deemed most important when protecting your kitten’s health. These include:

  • Rabies: Cats can get rabies from other infected animals like dogs or raccoons. Without treatment, rabies is 100% deadly in cats. Kittens 8 weeks and up get one rabies shot. Adult cats need two shots a year apart, then boosters every 3 years. No exceptions.
  • Feline Distemper: This nasty virus can give cats some serious stomach and dehydration issues. Scarier yet, it could even be fatal. Kittens as young as 6 weeks can get this vaccine, with boosters every 3-4 weeks until 16 weeks old. Adult cats need two shots, with a booster at 12 months and then every 3 years.
  • Feline Herpesvirus: Also called feline viral rhinotracheitis, this one can really mess with your cat’s breathing. Kittens 6 weeks+ can get this vaccine, with boosters every 3-4 weeks until 16 weeks. Adults get two shots, then 12-month and 3-year boosters.
  • Calicivirus: Another common cat illness that makes cats feverish, achy, get mouth sores, and stop eating is the feline calicivirus. Kittens 6 weeks and up can start this vaccine series, with boosters until 16 weeks old. Adult cats need two shots a year apart, then boosters every 3 years.

Recommended Vaccines

Though not core vaccines, the following immunizations are recommended by the ASPCA.

  • Feline Leukemia (FeLV): Feline Leukemia (FeLV) is a serious illness that cats can catch from each other. It’s pretty contagious and sadly, a lot of cats don’t make it. For cats that don’t have FeLV, kittens can get their first vaccine at 8 weeks old, and then another one 3-4 weeks later. After that, cats on the lower-risk side need a booster every 2 years, and high-risk cats need one every year.
  • Bordatella: Bordatella is another common cat illness and sadly, it can hit kittens hard. Cats can start getting the vaccine for it at 4 months old. Adult cats need two doses 12 months apart, and then they’ll need a yearly booster after that.

Building a Healthy Future

Vaccinations are just the start. Kittens need significant care while they grow. They’re more susceptible to some illnesses since their immune systems are still developing, and with such an abundance of adorable energy, they get into all kinds of trouble.

Regular wellness exams allow your vet to watch your kitten as they grow and keep tabs on their overall health. By catching any issues early, your vet can take proactive steps to ensure your kitten stays happy and healthy throughout their life. Here are some other steps you can take to help your kitten live their healthiest life:

  • Consult your vet about additional immunizations.
  • Use tick and flea preventives (like Advantix, Sentry, etc.) because there are no vaccines for Lyme disease or Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever in cats.
  • During tick season, groom your pet regularly to check for parasites.
  • Keep your kitten’s medical records up-to-date and easily accessible. These records can help vets provide better care if your pet needs medical attention while you’re away.

Accidents happen, and vet bills can add up fast. Having cat health insurancecan help you handle unexpected vet bills. You can even add wellness coverage to manage regular checkups without stressing your budget – it’s extra peace of mind that your kitten is protected.

Home Sweet Home: Your Kitten’s Arrival

You’ve picked out your new kitten(s) and know what to expect regarding their health needs. Now you just need to ensure their new home is safe, comfortable, and caters to their natural curiosities.

You’ll need all the feline essentials- kitten food, bowls, toys, a collar, a litter box(and litter!), a comfortable cat bed, a carrier, and of course, some treats. Don’t forget the scratching post – give those kitten claws somewhere to shine! Make sure you kitten-proof your home, too. Hide those electrical cords and move anything breakable up and out of a curious kitten’s reach.

Bringing your kitten home is like welcoming a tiny bundle of curiosity and mischief. They’ll explore every corner, bat at shadows, and find unexpected nap spots. Remember to be patient and loving with your kitten. They may be curious, but they’re still babies in a big new place.

There’s a lot of information to keep in mind and remember when bringing home a new kitten, but once you get the hang of it, your new kitten will quickly adapt. Soon enough, they’ll be purring in your lap, and you’ll wonder how you ever lived without them.

And for protecting every playful pounce and curious adventure, there’s Felix Cat Insurance.

Edited by: Annie Turner, 5/29/2024

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