The basic idea behind good health of your pet cat is proper nutrition,sufficient exercise, regular grooming,protection from parasites, and timely vaccination, and protection from household hazards. After adopting a kitten, initial examination of the pet by a veterinarian is very important. The veterinarian can guide you about Pet Food nutrition, vaccination, parasitic control, coat and skin care, and signs of health and illness. When you take your kitten to the vet the first time, go with as much information as possible including birth date,previous vaccinations, and de-worming records.
Since we cannot understand their language,thorough observation of their behaviour,appearance, and activities is needed for
checking their health status. Health is reflected in appearance of the body and activity status. General observations in health
and disease are summarised as below
Vaccination is the main key to protect your cat from fatal diseases. A kitten gets immunity against diseases through mother’s milk. As age advances maternal immunity declines and the need for vaccination arises. Around 6-8 weeks of age is generally considered as the right time to start vaccinations depending on the vaccination status of the mother. Depending on the prevalence of disease in your area, your vet can advice on a proper schedule. Vaccines for cats are divided into two categories—core and non-core vaccines.
Core Vaccines are compulsory as these are against life-threatening diseases. For cats,core vaccines include feline panleucopenia, feline calicivirus, feline herpesvirus 2, and rabies vaccine.
Non-core Vaccines are not compulsory but may require depending on lifestyle of your cat and prevalence of disease. These include vaccines against Feline Leukemia Virus and Feline Infectious Peritonitis.
Parasites are organisms that depend on animals for survival. These organisms get their food and shelter inside the body or on
the skin of animals. After adopting a kitten,immediate attention must be given to parasite check as kittens may acquire parasites from their mothers. If ignored,these parasites may cause serious health problems to your beloved pet. For parasites,
prevention measures are always better than treatment. Like dogs, we can classify cats’parasites into two categories—Internal and external parasites.
Internal parasites live in cat’s digestive system and are detected by the presence of eggs in the stool. Common internal parasites are listed as follow:
Roundworm: Also known as Ascarids,roundworms look like threads of 4-5 inches long. They can be transmitted to the kitten through milk or through placenta during the prenatal period. General symptoms of cats bearing roundworms include pot bellied appearance, stunted growth, vomiting,diarrhoea, poor growth, and sometimes coughing.
Hookworm: They can be transmitted through milk and even in the prenatal stage. Larvae of hookworms can enter
the body by penetrating through the skin. Hookworms are one of the most dangerous intestinal parasites in cats.They may cause bloody diarrhoea, anaemia, and even death in heavy infections.
Tapeworm: As the name itself indicates,tapeworms are appeared like tape. Flea tapeworm is the most common worm that enters the body of a cat through ingestion of infested flea or lice. Generally, tapeworms are mainly found in adult cats and symptoms of tapeworm-affected cats may include reduced hair coat,weight loss, and presence of cucumber seed-like segments in
faeces. As a control measure, flea control is also necessary to prevent reinfestation.In addition, Echinococcus is another
type of tapeworm that does not affect much in cats but is easily transmitted to humans where it can dangerously cause cysts in liver, lungs, and brain.
De-worming with suitable agent is required for controlling internal parasites. Regular de-worming can be
started as early as 15 days of age up to 3 months of age. And it should be repeated every 15 days, from 3 to 6 months every month and every third month after 6 months of age.
External parasites dwell on the body of kitten/cat and feed on the skin.Common external parasites in cats
include lice, flea and ticks. These parasites produce harmful effects by their irritating bites. They also suck blood and may transmit dangerous diseases through transfusion. If you find any external parasites on your cat consult your vet immediately.
Spaying/Neutering If you are not intending to breed your cat in future, neutering is recommended. Spaying at an early age reduces incidence of development of mammary tumour. In breeding season, cats may escape outside and get hurt by other street cats. We observed a lot of such cases every year.