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Kitten Care

The Safe Room and First Vet Visit


kitten on veterinarian scale

Jaspurr's first vet visit

Franny Syufy

Put your kitten in a separate room for a couple of days - we call it a "Safe Room." Make sure she has her own bed, food and water dish, and litterbox. After she has been cleared by your veterinarian, you can open the door to her "safe room" a crack, to allow the other cats to sniff and peek at her. Rub her with a towel to impart her scent on it, then put the towel in the sleeping area of your existing cats, so they'll become accustomed to her smell. Reverse the tactic by giving her a towel or blanket with the scent of your older cats. In a couple of days you can put her in a carrier and allow the other cats to come in and sniff her. Expect a bit of growling and hissy-spitty behavior at first; it's instinctive. However, soon-- within a week or two, the bunch of them should settle down and be getting along just fine. The key is not to rush things, and to give both sides a lot of individual attention in the interim.

Baby feral kittens will be addressed in a later section.

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Health Check

As discussed in the previous section, it is imperative that you get your new kitten checked by a veterinarian as soon as possible, not only for her own health, but to ensure she doesn't bring with her any serious communicable diseases, such as FeLV. Ideally, it would be before you even bring her home, but you should aim for within 48 hours if the kitten appears to be healthy, and without delay if it is showing symptoms of watery eyes, sneezing, respiratory distress or failure to eat.

Note: You will need to isolate your kitten from other cats until this veterinarian check is complete.

This is a typical examination schedule for young kittens:

  • 3 weeks: fecal exam
  • 6 weeks: fecal exam
  • 9-10 weeks: FHV/FCV/FPV vaccine, ELISA test for FeLV, FeLV vaccine, fecal exam
  • 12-14 weeks: FHV/FCV/FPV vaccine, FeLV vaccination, Rabies vaccine, fecal exam
It is also important that you arrange to have your kitten spayed or neutered within a reasonable time. Although some veterinarians still prefer to wait longer, many are now advocating these procedures as early as 6 to 8 weeks. If you are adopting kitten from a rescue group, most of them either have arrangements with local veterinarians for discounted fees, or require adoptive parents to pay for the procedure before taking their kittens home.

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Writer's Note:This article is part of a series on kitten care. If you are new to the world of cats, and particularly, kittens, you can maximize your new experiences, and learn more about caring for kittens by enrolling in my free email class on Kitten Care. Click here to learn more.

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