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My New Kitten

It is our pleasure to welcome your new kitten!  Caring for your new family member can be challenging and even stressful at first.  We are here to help!  There is so much information out there that can be confusing and contradictory.  To help you navigate this new adventure, we have brought the best information and resources directly to you.  Below you can find helpful tips and tricks and things you can do to make this transition as smooth and positive as possible.  Our goal is to keep your pet as happy and healthy as long as possible and this is a great place to start!  If you have any additional questions or need anything at all, please call us at 208-357-5100.


All cats, whether strictly indoors, outdoors, or both, are at risk of exposure to various infectious diseases.  The first step in properly protecting them is education and knowing what steps need to be taken to protect your furry friend.  Vaccinations stimulate the production of protective antibodies that neutralize viruses or bacteria.  Vaccinations allow us to prevent infectious diseases instead of your kitten becoming sick and needing treatment.  Vaccinations are also the most cost-effective strategy for maintaining your kitten’s health.  We recommend your kitten to avoid contact with other cats and various locations until the full vaccination series is complete.  We recommend your kitten be vaccinated against the following diseases:

Contagious Respiratory Diseases

Calicivirus (FCV)

This virus affects the upper respiratory system.  Clinical signs can include red, swollen eyes, discharge from the eyes and nose, watery eyes, sneezing, loss of appetite, oral ulcers, and drooling.

Rhinotracheitis (herpesvirus)

Herpes virus is a common cause of upper respiratory disease in cats.  Should your cat contract this virus, unfortunately, even with treatment, it can lead to recurring infections throughout your cat’s lifetime.  Flare-up symptoms can occur at any point and vary in degrees of severity.  Clinical signs may include moderate fever, loss of appetite, sneezing, watery eyes, nasal congestion, discharge from eye and nose, and swollen eyes.

Chlamydia felis

This infection is bacterial and can cause a mild upper respiratory infection.  Clinical signs may include red, swollen eyes, watery eyes, occasional sneezing, and nasal discharge.

Gastrointestinal Diseases


This is a widespread and often fatal disease.  Clinical signs may include fever, depression, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, and sudden death.

Nervous System Disease


Rabies is a fatal, viral disease that can be spread between multiple species, including humans.  Vaccination against this virus is required by law in most cities and states and is required in the State of Idaho.  Clinical signs are aggression, disorientation, drooling, seizures, and death.

Immunosuppressive Diseases

Leukemia (FeLV)

This virus attacks the immune system which leaves your cat vulnerable to a host of secondary infections.  It results in immune system suppression and chronic susceptibility to other infections.  Transmission occurs through contact with other cats so cats that spend any amount of time outside are at high risk.  Most infected cats do not have clinical signs until another infection occurs.

Following this specific guideline is critical in protecting your kitten from these diseases.  Your kitten should be vaccinated every 3 to 4 weeks until they are 16 weeks old.  Our recommended timetable is as follows:

7-8 weeks of age – Vaccinate against Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, Panleukopenia, and Chlamydophila

11-12 weeks of age – Vaccinate against Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, Panleukopenia, Chlamydophila, and Leukemia

15-16 weeks of age – Vaccinate against Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, Panleukopenia, Chlamydophila, Leukemia, and Rabies virus.

*If you missed the start of this timeline, do not worry.  It is not too late.  Call us and we can set a vaccination schedule for you based on the age your kitten and what will work for you. *

Some kittens may experience mild side effects following vaccinations.  These typically start within a few hours of the vaccination and typically do not persist more than a few days.  These symptoms are typically mild and are a normal response of your kitten’s immune system during the process of developing protective immunity.  Common symptoms may include mild fever, decrease in social behavior, diminished appetite or activity, sneezing or other respiratory signs, or discomfort or mild swelling at the injection site.  In rare cases, your kitten may experience more severe symptoms such as swelling of the face and legs, repeated vomiting or diarrhea, whole-body itching, difficulty breathing, or collapse.  Again, these symptoms are very rare, but should your kitten experience any of the more severe symptoms, please call us as soon as possible or bring your kitten back to our clinic as soon as possible for treatment.


Our Veterinarians strongly recommend spaying female kittens and neutering male kittens between 4 and 6 months of age. Male kittens often begin to have behavior issues, such as spraying urine and marking their territory at 6 months of age. It is best to neuter your cat before he ever sprays, as this can become a habit even after neutering. During the neuter procedure, our veterinarian removes the testicles from the scrotum. And when spaying your kitten, our veterinarian removes both ovaries and the uterus from the abdominal cavity.  Spaying or neutering your kitten at a young age significantly decreases health and behavior problems in the future. Use the following link for more information.


It is important that your kitten receives proper nutrition, and these nutritional needs will vary throughout their lifetime.  Not all diets are created equal, and a quality diet is very important for your kitten’s health.  Your kitten will digest premium food more completely, have less odiferous stool, and visit the litter box less often. Poorer-quality cat foods can contain excessive amounts of protein, sodium, phosphorus, and magnesium. These can predispose your cat to feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD) and to early kidney disease.  There is a large variety of options out there and we understand it can be overwhelming.  We are here to help!  For a diet to be a quality diet, it must meet a very specific set of criteria.  The World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) has a list of recommendations for selecting food for your pet.  The diet you select should hit every mark on this guideline.  The following link will provide you with the list of guidelines.  Please note that we are always here to help.  If you have any questions or would like us to make a recommendation for you, feel free to reach out to us.  Your pet’s health is our number one priority and that all starts with proper nutrition.


Cats will spend an average of two hours per day grooming.  Though this is normal and important for them, it can lead to hairball problems in both long-haired and short-haired cats. Be sure to give your cat a hairball preventative or feed a hairball-control diet to help prevent hairball gastrointestinal issues.

For longhaired cats, it is recommended to thoroughly comb them a few times a year to remove old hair and to prevent matting of the hair coat. Matted hair can lead to skin infections and discomfort. Many Persians and Himalayans require frequent, professional grooming to keep their coats manageable.  Though it is best for your cat to be routinely groomed and coat maintained, some variables may lead to your cat needing to be shaved due to the development of mats.  This is most often needed for long-haired cats that do not tolerate brushing.  Should you find that your cat needs to be shaved, we are happy to do this for you.  We use mild sedation to ensure that your cat is not stressed or uncomfortable during the process.  Your cat’s body will be shaved down close to the skin so we can fully remove any mats that are present.  The head, feet, and tail will be brushed but left at full length unless otherwise warranted or requested


We recommend deworming kittens to ensure their health and prevent transmission of parasites.  Your kitten will receive an oral dewormer for roundworms at their first kitten visit.  You will also be provided with a follow-up dose that you will give your kitten by mouth at home 14 days after your visit.  It is recommended for cats to have routine fecal examinations performed to check for intestinal parasites such as roundworms, coccidia, and tapeworms.  Outdoor cats are particularly prone to intestinal parasites.  In our area, tapeworms and roundworms are the most common forms of intestinal parasites.  Tapeworms can be contracted by ingesting species such as mice and birds, or by ingesting infected fleas while grooming.  Tapeworms attach to the small intestines, stealing nutrients and can cause vomiting and weight loss.  Some tapeworms can be found around a cat’s rectum and look like small pieces of rice.  Roundworms can be picked up while grooming as well, after walking or digging through contaminated soil.  Roundworms can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and malnourishment.  Nexgard combo protects against fleas and ticks, prevents heartworm disease, treats and controls roundworms and hookworms, and kills tapeworms.  See the link below for more information.

Feline Leukemia & FIV testing

Feline Leukemia (FELV) is found in saliva, urine, feces, blood, and milk. Licking, biting, sneezing, nursing, and pregnancy can all transmit FELV. Sadly, 80% of cats who have FELV die within 3 years of diagnosis.

Kittens contract FIV most often from deep bite wounds. Both FELV & FIV cause immunosuppression that predisposes your cat to infections, dental disease, and some cancers. We offer FELV and FIV testing in house for your kitten.  As these diseases are both contagious to other cats, we recommend testing your kitten, especially if you are unsure of the medical history or circumstances from which your kitten came.

Top 10 toxic meds for cats

  • Amphetamines (ADD/ADHD meds)
  • Vitamin D3
  • Ibuprofen
  • Venlafaxine
  • Acetaminophen
  • Duloxetine
  • Aspirin
  • Hydrogen peroxide, ingested
  • Pregabalin
  • Hydrochlorothiazide