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Your Kitten's First Vet Visit: A Checklist

It's exciting to bring home a new kitten. Now, you need to check that they're healthy and keep them that way for the rest of their lives. Our vets in West Chester have some advice to offer about what to expect during your kitten's first visit to the vet. 

One of your first priorities after bringing your kitten home should be to schedule a visit to the vet for a checkup. This step is crucial to ensuring your kitten's good health and to check that they don't have any contagious diseases. If you notice any signs of illness in your kitten, such as sneezing, difficulty feeding, watery eyes, or breathing problems, don't hesitate to ask, "When should I make my first appointment with the vet?"

Should I bring anything to my kitten's first vet visit?

As you're preparing for your kitten's initial examination, it's a good idea to prepare these things now, whether you go to the veterinarian immediately after picking up your new kitten or after a day or two at home. 

These items include: 

  • Any paperwork and information provided by the breeder or shelter
  • Cat carrier
  • Stool sample
  • Cat treats 
  • Notes about any concerns you have about your kitten 

If you are taking your kitten to the vet for the first time, don't forget to bring the adoption papers with you. You'll also want to tell your vet about any treatments and vaccinations your kitten has already received. If this isn't possible, make a note of what you were told at the time of the adoption, so you won't forget. 

What should I expect during my kitten's first checkup? 

The vet and staff at the animal hospital will ask you questions regarding your kitten's history and conduct a physical examination. They will also check for the presence of parasites, such as mites and fleas. 

The veterinarian will check your kitten's eyes, ears, lips, coat, skin, and entire body, then palpate the abdomen to feel the organs and use a stethoscope to listen to your kitty's heart and lungs. A stool sample may also be taken to check for underlying health issues. 

For optimal health, weaning, and socialization, we recommend adopting your kitten when they are between 8 and 10 weeks of age. If you have a young kitten, especially if they are six weeks old or younger, your veterinarian will need to examination its hydration and nutrition status, and may recommend supplements if necessary. 

Will the vet perform any tests during this first visit? 

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

Fecal Exam - You'll likely be asked to bring a stool sample from your kitten to your veterinarian so it can be checked for parasites such as giardia, intestinal worms, and other potential issues. 

Since not all intestinal parasites are detected in fecal tests and a significant percentage of kittens are carriers, your vet may administer a dewormer to your kitten at each appointment. Many parasites can be transmitted to humans, so it's essential to treat them in your cat. 

Blood Test: The American Association of Feline Practitioners recommends that all newly adopted cats, regardless of age, be tested for FeLV and FIV. If your kitten is less than nine weeks old, your veterinarian may advise you to delay testing until it is at least nine weeks. If you have other cats in the house with your kitten, keep them separated until they have tested negative in case your new kitten has a transmissible disease.

What is the typical cost of a kitten's first vet visit?

The first vet visit and subsequent routine exams can vary from vet to vet, cat to cat, and pet to pet. For an accurate estimate of the cost of kitten checkups, please contact your veterinarian directly.

What are some important questions to ask during my kitten's first vet visit?

Here's a list of questions you can ask your veterinarian on your first visit. Of course, you can ask a whole myriad of other questions, and we encourage you to do so, but these questions should set you on the path 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. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Do you need to book your new kitten's first vet appointment? Contact our West Chester vets to book a wellness exam to get them on track for a healthy, happy life.

Caring for Pets in West Chester

West Chester Veterinary Medical Center accepts new clients to our specialty and urgent care hospital.

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