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Kitten's First Vet Visit: What to Expect

So you have just brought home a little bundle of joy. Congratulations! But make sure you're scheduling your first veterinary appointment, as well as routine exams going forward. To help you prepare, our Poway vets discuss what to expect at your newborn kitten's first vet visit.

When to Take a Kitten for Their First Vet Visit

Kittens should have their first vet visit when they are around 8 weeks old. This initial visit is important for vaccinations, deworming, and a general health check-up to ensure they are growing and developing properly.

Do I need to bring anything?

Some things are nice to have ready before the initial checkup, whether you go immediately to the doctor after picking up your new kitten or after a day or two at home. These include:

  • 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 visiting the vet for the first time with your kitten, bring any adoption documentation with you. Your veterinarian should also be aware of any prior treatments or immunizations administered to the kitten. If this is not possible, write down what you were told at the adoption so you don't forget.

What happens during the physical exam?

The veterinarian will conduct a physical examination of your kitten. They will also search for other parasites, such as fleas and mites. The veterinarian will examine your kitten's eyes, ears, lips, skin, coat, and entire body. This involves palpating the abdomen to feel the organs and listening to the heart and lungs with a stethoscope. A stool sample may also be taken to see if you have any underlying medical issues.

Kittens should be adopted when they are 8 to 10 weeks old for the best health, weaning, and socialization. If your kitten is young, particularly if it is 6 weeks or younger, the veterinarian will need to examine its nutrition and hydration status and recommend any necessary supplements.

Will my kitten need any lab tests?

Yes, your kitten will likely need both a fecal exam and a blood test.

Fecal Exam: You will almost certainly be asked to bring a fecal sample from your kitten to your veterinarian for testing for parasites such as intestinal worms, giardia, and other possible issues. Because not all intestinal parasites are detected by fecal tests and a significant percentage of kittens have them, your vet may administer deworming medication at each appointment. Many parasites can be transmitted to humans, so removing them from your cat is critical.

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.

How much will the first vet visit cost?

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

What questions should I ask at my kitten's first vet visit?

Here is a list of questions to ask your veterinarian at your first visit. Of course, you can ask many more questions, and we encourage you to do so, but these should help you get started on the path 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. 

Do you need to schedule your kitten's first veterinary appointment? Contact our Poway vets today to make sure your new family member gets the best possible start in life.

New Patients Welcome

Best Friends Veterinary Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Poway companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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