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Kitten's First Vet Visit: What to Expect

Congratulations on welcoming your new furry friend home! As a new pet parent, scheduling your kitten's first vet appointment and routine exams is important. Our vets in New York are here to offer some helpful tips on preparing for your kitten's first visit. We'll walk you through what to expect and answer any questions you may have.

When you bring a new kitten home, it is essential to schedule the first exam with your veterinarian. At this checkup, the vet will examine your kitten to determine if they have any communicable diseases and assess their overall health.

Keep an eye out for signs of illness, such as difficulty eating, sneezing, watery eyes, or breathing problems. If you notice any of these symptoms, take your kitten to the vet immediately.

Should I bring anything?

We recommend bringing a few items with you to your kitten's first veterinary checkup, whether you visit the veterinarian's office right after picking up your new kitten or within a day or two of bringing them home. Some of the items you should bring include:

  • Notes of any health concerns you have about your kitten
  • Any information or papers from the breeder or shelter
  • Stool sample
  • Cat treats
  • Cat carrier 

When taking your kitten to the vet for the first time, it's important to bring any adoption documents you may have. Additionally, your veterinarian should have a record of any previous immunizations or treatments that your kitten has received.

If you don't have these records, write down any information you were given during the adoption process so that you don't forget any important details.

What will happen during the physical exam?

When you take your kitten to the veterinarian, they will ask you about your kitten's health history and perform a physical exam. The vet will check for parasites such as mites, fleas, and worms and examine your kitten's entire body, including the eyes, ears, skin, coat, and lips. Using a stethoscope, they will also palpate the abdomen to check the organs and listen to the lungs and heart. Additionally, the vet may take a stool sample to check if your kitten has any underlying health issues.

For ideal health, socialization, and weaning time, it is recommended to adopt kittens between the ages of 8 and 10 weeks. If your kitten is 6 weeks old or younger, it is especially important to have them examined by the vet to ensure they are getting the proper nutrition and hydration. Your veterinarian can also recommend any necessary supplements.

Will my kitten need any lab tests?

Your kitten will likely need a fecal exam and a blood test.

Fecal Exam: Your veterinarian will likely ask you to bring in a fecal sample from your kitten to test for parasites such as intestinal worms, giardia, and other potential issues. Since not all intestinal parasites are detectable through fecal tests and a significant percentage of kittens may have them, your vet may administer a deworming medicine to your kitten during each visit. Removing these parasites from your cat is crucial as many of them can be transmitted to humans.

Blood Test:It is recommended by the American Association of Feline Practitioners that all cats, regardless of their age, should be tested for FeLV and FIV after being newly adopted. If your kitten is below nine weeks of age, your vet might suggest that you wait until it is nine weeks old before testing. If you have other cats living with your kitten, you should keep them apart until they have tested negative for any communicable disease.

How much will the first vet visit cost?

The first vet visit and subsequent wellness exams can vary from vet to vet, cat to cat, and pet to pet. For an accurate estimate of the cost, please get in touch with your veterinarian directly.

What questions should I ask at my kitten's first vet visit?

Here is a list of questions you can ask your vet during the first visit. Of course, there are a myriad of others you can ask, and we encourage you to do so, but these should start you on the road to responsible cat ownership:

  • Is my cat a healthy weight?
  • Are they eating the right food and getting proper nutrition?
  • Are they sleeping too much or too little?
  • What resources are available at this vet clinic? (ex. X-rays, labs, etc.)
  • Are there any common parasites or pests in the area? How can I prevent them?
  • Is cat insurance worth it and if so, who do you recommend?
  • Do you have any grooming recommendations for my cat?
  • Are there any vaccinations my cat needs?
  • Where are the nearby emergency services for off-hours or holidays?
  • What do you recommend for flea and tick prevention?
  • How is my cat’s dental health?
  • Any cat food label questions such as how to read them, what to look for, etc.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. Please make an appointment with your vet to accurately diagnose your pet's condition.

Do you need a first veterinary exam for your kitten? Contact our vets at New York to book an appointment today.

New Patients Welcome

Rivergate Veterinary Clinic is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of New York companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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