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I just got a new kitten, now what?!?!

August 05, 2014

This is one of the more common questions we get at our office here in Poughkeepsie & Dutchess County, N.Y. The answer can be quite complicated. If you have other pets at home, particularly other cats, you don’t want to risk bringing any illness home so it is important to get the kitten checked by a veterinarian ASAP. It is important to bring a recent fecal sample so we can check for any intestinal parasites. These are very common and easily treatable but can be very dangerous if left untreated and some intestinal parasites can be passed on to humans.

A major concern is to children who can contract these parasites with potentially severe complications. You also will want to have a feline leukemia and feline aids test done. Vaccines depend on whether or not the kitten is going to be indoor only or indoor/outdoor. No matter what, rabies is required by New York State law for all pets and that vaccine is administered at approximately 4 months of age. This vaccine is good for 1 year and then every 3 years after that. Feline distemper is highly recommended for all cats, both indoor only and indoor/outdoor. This vaccine is a series of 3 the first time. After the initial series, the vaccine is repeated after one year and then every 3 years after that. The other core vaccine for kittens and cats is a feline leukemia vaccine, recommended for all kittens and then boostered thereafter for outdoor only. This is a series of 2 vaccines initially for them to be fully protected and then every year needs to be repeated once after that. If any vaccinations are given before 8 weeks of age, they need to be repeated, as the kittens immune system may not respond to the vaccine the same way it does if it were after the 8 week mark when maternal antibodies start to decrease.

We recommend spaying or neutering them around 4 or 6 months of age. We recommend biannual examinations for all pets and more frequent exams as they get older or if they have any ongoing medical conditions. Make sure you have a clean litter box available to the kitten at all times, we recommend an extra litter box per cat. We also recommend starting them on flea, tick, and heartworm prevention such as Revolution, which also treats and controls hookworms, roundworms, and ear mites.

For some great websites on intestinal parasites visit: and

Do you have a cat at home? When was the last time we saw them for an exam? Do you know if they are up to date on vaccines? Give us a call now to check due dates and schedule an appointment here at your vet in Poughkeepsie & Dutchess County!



– Post by Michelle W.

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