Vaccinating your kitten
A vaccinated kitten is a healthy kitten
Your new kitten will start life with some natural immunity from diseases from her mum, but as this wears off you'll need to have her vaccinated to keep her healthy.
Vaccinating your kitten is absolutely essential as it will protect her from life-threatening diseases. Most vets recommend a combined vaccine, given at around 8-9 and 11-12 weeks of age. This will protect your kitten against the 'big three:'
- Feline Leukaemia Virus
- Feline Infectious Enteritis (also called Panleucopenia or Feline Parovirus)
- Cat 'flu'
The exact timing of the injections will depend on the type of vaccine your vet uses. As a general rule, though, you can expect the two injections to be given at around 8 and 12 weeks of age.
After the second injection, it's important to keep your kitten indoors and away from other cats. After that, socialising can safely go back to the top of the agenda!
There are a few other vaccinations that may be worth considering for your kitten. These are to protect against:
A number of factors determine whether these additional vaccinations are a good idea for your particular kitten and your vet is the best person to advise you.
Making vaccination day easier
Nobody loves needles, and cats are no exception. Be assured, though, that you are doing the very best for your young cat by having her vaccinated. In fact, not vaccinating could cost her her life.
Hopefully you'll already have taken her to the vet for routine health checks so she'll be used to going there. A sturdy and secure cat carrier is the best way to transport her, and a familiar blanket or toy with her smell on it will make her feel more at home.
Try to allow plenty of time to get to the vet's so you're not in any rush. Above all, be as calm as possible. Cats are sensitive and soon pick up on any 'stress signals'.
Once at the vet's, make sure you keep your cat in her basket until you are called to the consulting room, with the door securely shut. Talk to her, and reassure her throughout the entire visit.
To maintain your cat's immunity, regular booster shots will be required throughout her life. Your vet will probably send you out reminders but it's not a bad idea to keep a record yourself.
Once your cat has had her primary course of vaccinations, you'll be given a signed certificate by your vet. This is an important document that you should keep in a safe place. If you ever wanted to put your cat in a cattery, for example, they'd need to see certificates to check all her vaccinations are up to date.
Should you insure your kitten?
Generally speaking, insuring your kitten is a good idea. With any luck, you'll never have to make a claim, but should your cat become ill or have an accident, she'll be able to receive treatment without you worrying about the cost. And compared to what you might have to spend on vet's bills, monthly insurance premiums represent very good value.
Of all the many insurance providers out there, it's important to choose a policy that gives lifetime cover; some insurers only provide cover for a certain number of years. It's when your cat becomes older that the need for care and treatment increases, and that's when you'll appreciate the safety net of insurance the most.
As with all insurance undefined, always read the 'small print' before you sign anything