Fleas and worms
It's not just people that'll love your new pet
Your kitten will love the fuss and attention you, your family and friends lavish upon her, but not the attention she receives from parasites. Fleas, worms and mites are extremely common, so it'd be pretty unusual if your kitten didn't pick them up at some point. The good news is, parasites aren't that harmful, and easy to get rid of. If your kitten suffers from parasites, your vet will be happy to recommend the best preparation and advise you how to get the best results.
Sometimes, a spell of unusually mild weather will trigger an explosion of fleas in and around your home. Even if your kitten has been regularly treated, you may still find her scratching. Look for tiny brown specks in her fur. Then remove and place them on a wet tissue. If they turn a red/brown colour, they are flea dirt. In this case you'll need to treat your home as well. Get a can of spray from your vet for your carpets, soft furnishings and even hard floors; fleas can creep into any nook and cranny to lay their eggs. Don't forget to clean and spray your vacuum cleaner after use. Follow the instructions on the can and you should get rid of the problem, although total elimination can take up to three months. This treatment breaks the lifecycle of the flea by killing the larvae as they hatch, so they won't be able to hitch a ride on your kitten.
The most common worm likely to infect your kitten is the Roundworm. (When your kitten gets a bit older, she'll be susceptible to Tapeworms as well.) Your kitten is unlikely to show any sign of having worms, but if the infestation is severe, you will see differences. You may notice weight loss, bouts of vomiting and diarrhoea and irritation around her bottom area.
Kittens should be routinely treated for worms, prevention being far better than cure. Your vet will advise you on the most suitable treatment; she'll need monthly worming for the first six months, and then three monthly thereafter.