Bringing a kitten into your life is an exciting time, but how do you make sure that the kitten you choose is healthy and happy? We’ve teamed up with FirstVet, the 24-hour digital veterinary service, to share some top tips on how to choose a kitten.
You can learn a lot about the health of a kitten by observing their mother. Does she look healthy? Is her coat clean and free of fleas? This is important because if she has fleas, it’s likely the kittens will have too. Is she happy to greet you or does she appear nervous? A friendly cat is likely to raise kittens that are friendly and confident too.
Choose a kitten that has been bred in an environment similar to your own home. For example, if you have children, look for a kitten that has been bred in a family home. That way, they will already be used to the hustle and bustle of a busy household.
The signs of a healthy kitten are:
Choose a kitten from a litter that:
Roundworm is common in kittens which they can pick up from their mother’s milk. For this reason, it’s important that the mother is wormed regularly and, ideally, the kittens should have been wormed too. Check with the breeder if the kittens have been wormed and with what treatment. Then continue to worm your kitten with the same brand, according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Your kitten will also need to be regularly treated for fleas. This should have been started by the breeder. Find out what brand of flea treatment the breeder has used and then continue according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
By 8 weeks, when kittens are ready to leave for their new homes, they should be fully weaned. This means they are eating solid food and are no longer dependent on their mother’s milk. As well as checking that the kittens have been weaned, you should ask the breeder what the kittens have been fed so that you can continue to feed them the same. Changes to a kitten’s diet should be done gradually to avoid tummy upsets. Read more about feeding your kitten.
Once your new kitten is home with you, as well as regularly worming and treating them for fleas, they will also need to be vaccinated to protect them from diseases. Read more about vaccinating your cat.
Your kitten will also need to be neutered when they are about four months old. This is to protect female cats from pregnancy and male cats from diseases like FIV, which they can catch through fighting with other males. Read more about neutering.
Book a video appointment to have a chat with one of the FirstVet vets.
If you believe a pet may have been subject to poor breeding practices, please do not “save” the animal by rehoming it. Instead, walk away and report the seller to us immediately. Please refer to the full checklist for the pet you are looking for here.