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Kitten's First Vet Visit: What to Expect

So you have just brought home a little bundle of joy. Congratulations! But make sure you're scheduling your first veterinary appointment and routine exams going forward. To help you prepare, our Richmond vets discuss what to expect at your kitten's first appointment.

When should you take a kitten for the first vet visit?

Taking a kitten for their first vet visit is crucial for ensuring their health and well-being. Ideally, you should schedule the first vet visit within the first few weeks after bringing the kitten home, typically around 6 to 8 weeks of age.

This initial visit allows the veterinarian to conduct a thorough examination, administer necessary vaccinations, check for health issues, and discuss important topics such as nutrition, parasite prevention, and spaying or neutering.

If you're adopting a kitten from a shelter or breeder, they may have already arranged for initial vaccinations and health checks. However, scheduling a follow-up appointment with your veterinarian is still essential.

Early veterinary care sets a strong foundation for your kitten's lifelong health and helps establish a trusting relationship between you, your kitten, and the veterinarian. 

What to bring to the veterinarian appointment?

Some things are nice to have ready before the initial checkup, whether you go immediately to the doctor after picking up your new kitten or after a day or two at home. These include:

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

Remember to bring any adoption documentation with you when taking your kitten to the vet for the first time. Your veterinarian should also be informed of any previous treatments or immunizations the kitten has received. If this is not possible, write down the information you were given at the time of adoption to avoid forgetting.

What does a physical exam consist of? 

The vets will physically examine your kitten, examining its eyes, ears, lips, skin, coat, and entire body. They will also palpate the abdomen to feel the organs and listen to the heart and lungs with a stethoscope. Additionally, they may collect a stool sample to determine whether your kitten has any underlying health problems.

What lab test will your kitten need?

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

Fecal Exam: You will almost certainly be asked to bring a fecal sample from your kitten to your veterinarian for testing for parasites such as intestinal worms, giardia, and other possible issues. Because not all intestinal parasites are detected by fecal tests and a significant percentage of kittens have them, your vet may administer deworming medication at each appointment. Many parasites can be transmitted to humans, so removing them from your cat is critical.

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 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.

How much will the first vet visit cost?

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, please get in touch with your veterinarian directly.

What questions should I ask at my kitten's first vet visit?

Below is a list of questions you can ask your veterinarian during your initial visit. While you can ask many more questions, we encourage you to do so. These should help you begin your journey toward 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 schedule your kitten's first veterinary appointment? Contact our Richmond vets today to make sure your new family member gets the best possible start in life.

Looking for a new vet? We are accepting new patients! 

Book Online (804) 353-4491