To provide protection against potentially fatal infections, such as feline infectious enteritis and feline influenza, kittens need to be vaccinated. The first injection in the course is given at eight weeks old and a second at about 11-12 weeks. The kitten should be kept away from other cats and stay indoors for seven days after the second injection to ensure maximum protection. To keep up the level of protection provided by vaccination, adult cats require regular boosters (usually once every one to three years). We will tailor the vaccination program according to the risks of the various diseases. Village Vet use a vaccine that contains no adjuvants and can be split up into different components thereby allowing the vets to tailor a vaccine protocol to suit your cat.


Worms can make kittens weak. Kittens should be treated against roundworms at 4-6 weeks and then regularly every 4 weeks until they are 6 months old. After this worming they should be treated for roundworms and tapeworms every 3-4 months depending on how much they hunt and if they have fleas.


Even clean cats pick up fleas so check for these while grooming. Flea dirt can usually be seen as small brown specks particularly around the neck and base of the tail. When placed on damp cotton wool ‘flea dirt’ slowly dissolves producing bloody streaks. For effective control, adult fleas on the kitten must be killed and reinfestation from the environment prevented. Traditional flea preparations – sprays, shampoos and collars – can contain substances that are potentially toxic to kittens and may not be very effective. Your vet can supply a number of products to kill fleas that are very safe because they act as receptors that are not present in mammals, only in insects. The ‘spot-on’ products are very easy to apply and can be used from a young age.Be sure to ask your vet which flea preventative treatment they would recommend.


A male cat can be castrated from five months of age. Neutering will reduce the likelihood that he will spray indoors to mark his territory. He will also spend less time roaming in search of mates and thus has less of a chance of trying to run away.. A female kitten needs to be spayed to prevent unwanted kittens. This can be undertaken at 6 months of age. She does not need to have a litter before she is spayed. Spaying has no harmful effects and removes the stress on both you and your cat brought on by calling (the loud mewing which female cats make to attract a mate).

Health insurance

It is absolutely vital that you get your pet insured. However, choose carefully. It is really important that you choose a good quality, whole of life policy.

Healthy Diet

When you first take a kitten home feed it on the same food it has been used to. A sudden change of diet combined with the stress of adapting to a new home can cause stomach upsets and diarrhea. If you want to change the diet, do so gradually by mixing it with the kitten’s usual food. Kittens have small stomachs and have to be fed little and often, like babies. It can be very difficult to put together a homemade diet which provides all the nutrients required by growing kittens – it is a great deal easier to feed a good quality commercial kitten food. There are foods which have been specially formulated for kittens because they have different nutritional needs to the fully grown cat. Your Vet will advise you on the best, complete diet for your kitten.

Kittens aged 8-12 weeks need four meals a day, 3-6 months three meals, and kittens over 6 months old, two meals. You may want to provide some dry food on an ad lib basis – it depends very much on your lifestyle, what your kitten likes and is used to and if you have other cats in the house with certain feeding routines and habits.

Do not give your kitten cow’s milk as it can cause diarrhea. If you wish to feed milk use one that is specially formulated for cats. Diarrhea that persists for more than 24 hours requires veterinary attention. Fresh drinking water should be available at all times and it is always a good idea to add a few bowls of water around the home.


It is a good idea to accustom your kitten to being groomed from an early age, particularly if it has a long fur. A long-haired cat needs daily attention to keep fur free of tangles. Grooming removes excess loose hairs which can cause fur balls to build up in the stomach. Combing and brushing will help remove these hairs and it is usually appreciated by the cat, provided it has been accustomed to grooming early in life. Grooming also gives you a chance to keep a close eye on your cat, asses its health and help to develop the bond between you. Touch therapy has positive effects on well being. Always be gentle and make grooming a rewarding experience.

Hazards at home

Owning a kitten is very similar to having a toddler around. Kittens are very inquisitive and will investigate small places which they can crawl into. Keep the washing machine and tumble dryer door shut when not in use and check them before putting the clothes in. For this reason, should your kitten go missing for any length of time, you should look in cupboards, wardrobes, etc in case it has accidentally been shut in or got stuck.

Remove any plants which may be poisonous, for example Dieffenbachia (dumb cane), Poinsettia, Lily of the Valley, Christmas Cherry, Castor Oil plant, Avocado plant, Rubber plant and Ivy. Most cats will not touch such plants but kittens may be more inquisitive. If you live in a flat above ground level or have a house with several storeys keep the windows shut to ensure that kittens do not fall out. Keep garden chemicals stored safely and take care if using slug bait or chemicals on the garden itself – some types can be very toxic to animals.

Emergency care

If your pet is in distress, whether through the sudden onset of an illness or through accident, it’s important to get vet care as soon as possible. Waiting until ‘normal business hours’ not only prolongs the animal’s suffering but it may make the complaint worse or cause permanent damage.

It is best to find a veterinary clinic that is available at all times for 24 hour accident and emergency care.

Quick guide to symptoms

It is very difficult to diagnose without examining your pet. We suggest you contact your veterinarian if any of these symptoms present themselves:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Frequent diarrhea
  • Persistent cough
  • Abnormal breathing
  • Excessive drinking of water
  • Frequent urination
  • Straining when urinating or defecating
  • Lumps and swellings
  • Bad breath or any unusual odors
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Head shaking
  • Hair loss
  • Excessive scratching
  • Any unusual discharge or passing of blood
  • Persistent vomiting
  • Excessive pawing at the ears
  • Any emergency situation e.g. convulsions
  • Sudden change of behavior
  • A change in walking or running gait