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Kitten's First Vet Visit: What to Expect

Bringing home a new kitten is an exciting experience filled with joy and curiosity. Ensuring your kitten's health starts with their first vet visit. Here’s what to expect and how to prepare for your kitten's first vet appointment.

When to Take a Kitten for the First Vet Visit

You should schedule your kitten's first vet visit when it is around eight weeks old. At this age, kittens are typically ready to start their vaccinations and undergo a thorough health check to ensure they are developing correctly. If you have a newborn kitten, consult your vet to determine the appropriate time for their initial visit.

What to Bring to the Veterinarian Appointment

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

Please remember to bring any adoption documentation with you when you take your kitten to the vet for the first time. Your veterinarian must know about the kitten's previous treatments or immunizations. If you're unable to bring the documentation, be sure to write down what you were told at the adoption to avoid forgetting.

What does a physical exam consist of?

During the first vet visit, the veterinarian will conduct a comprehensive physical examination to assess your kitten's overall health. The exam typically includes:

  • Checking the eyes, ears, nose, and mouth for any signs of infection or abnormality.
  • Listening to the heart and lungs to ensure they are functioning properly.
  • Palpating the abdomen to check for any abnormalities.
  • Examining the skin and coat for signs of parasites or skin conditions.
  • Evaluating the kitten's weight, temperature, and general behavior.

What lab test will your kitten need? 

Several lab tests may be recommended during your kitten's first vet visit to establish a baseline of their health and detect any underlying issues:

Fecal Exam: You may be asked to provide a fecal sample from your kitten to your veterinarian for testing for parasites such as intestinal worms, giardia, and other potential issues. Since not all intestinal parasites can be detected by fecal tests and many kittens have them, your vet may give deworming medication at each visit. Many parasites can be passed on to humans, so removing them from your cat is important.

Blood Test: The American Association of Feline Practitioners recommends that all newly adopted cats, regardless of age, should 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 old. 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 initial veterinary appointment and subsequent routine check-ups may differ depending on the veterinarian, the cat, and the pet. Contact your vet directly for an accurate cost estimate.

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

Here is a list of questions you can ask your veterinarian during your initial visit. Of course, there are many more questions you can ask, and we encourage you to do so, but these should get you 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.

Taking your kitten to the vet for the first time is crucial in ensuring their health and well-being. Knowing what to expect and being well-prepared can make this experience positive and stress-free for you and your new furry friend.

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 ensure your new family member gets the best possible start in life.

New Patients Welcome

Advanced Care 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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