Your Kitten’s First Year of Wellness

Congratulations on your new kitten! Getting your pet off to the right start includes several initial visits with our veterinarians to ensure they are healthy and developing normally and to get them vaccinated against several diseases.

The following schedule is meant to give you a general idea of the visits and vaccines that your kitten will need. Keep in mind that the actual schedule may vary slightly depending on veterinarian recommendations.

8 Week Visit:

  • Physical exam
  • Fecal examination
  • Feline leukemia / Feline Immunodeficiency Virus testing
  • Record body weight
  • Microchip check
  • Discuss nutrition, litter box training, and kitten care
  • Discuss flea and tick prevention
  • First distemper vaccine

12 Week Visit:

  • Medical progress exam
  • Record body weight
  • Discuss development, nutrition, and kitten care
  • Second Distemper vaccine
  • Rabies vaccine
  • Feline Leukemia vaccine if your cat is going to go outside

16 Week Visit:

  • Brief physical exam
  • Record body weight
  • Third Distemper vaccine
  • Second Feline Leukemia vaccine if your cat is going to go outside.

Our policy is that all vaccinations be given by the veterinarian so that they can also assess physical health and development.

We recommend spaying or neutering your kitten at approximately 6 months of age.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does my cat need the rabies vaccine if they don’t go outside?

Rabies vaccination is required by NH law for all dogs, cats, and ferrets over 12 weeks of age to help prevent the spread of this deadly disease. Even if your kitten is staying inside, they could potentially be exposed to an infected animal such as a mouse or bat. House cats also sometimes get outside by accident.

What is the Distemper Vaccine?

The distemper vaccine is a combination vaccine that protects against three common and very contagious diseases in cats: Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, and Panleukopenia. The first two viruses affect the respiratory system and can cause debilitating respiratory disease and pneumonia. Panleukopenia is the feline distemper virus, which can cause diarrhea and life-threatening dehydration.

Why does my kitten have to come back for so many visits?

In order to ensure that your kitten is properly vaccinated, we recommend giving booster vaccinations 3-4 weeks apart. Kittens have immunity from their mothers that lasts until they are at least 8-12 weeks old, and sometimes lasts even longer. Re-vaccinating several weeks apart helps to ensure that your kitten will have the proper immunity once they lose their maternal antibodies.

Why does my kitten need a physical exam on each visit?

It is important for our veterinarians to examine your kitten on a regular basis to ensure that they are growing and developing normally. It is also important to make sure that your kitten is otherwise healthy before administering vaccines.

Are vaccinations safe?

Yes. The majority of pets respond very well to their vaccinations. However there are mild reactions that occur in a small number of pets. These reactions may include:

  • Mild fever
  • Decreased appetite and activity
  • Swelling or discomfort at the local site of vaccination

More serious, but less common side effects, such as allergic reactions, may occur within minutes to hours after vaccination. These reactions are medical emergencies:

  • Hives
  • Swelling of the face, ears, or eyes
  • Severe coughing or difficulty breathing
  • Collapse/white gums
  • Sudden persistent vomiting

Why do I need to bring in a stool sample?

Testing your pet’s stool sample allows us to check for several common internal parasites and help prevent disease. Many parasites can be passed from the mother to her kittens, so testing and treating kittens is an essential part of their early health care. We recommend checking a stool sample annually as your cat ages, since many parasites are also picked up from the environment or from hunting.