Pedigree imagery
Kitten Basics: How to Keep Your Kitten in Good Health
Kitten Basics: How to Keep Your Kitten in Good Health-mob

adp_description_block38
Kitten Basics: How to Keep Your Kitten in Good Health

So you have a new kitten — congratulations! You’re about to embark on a pet ownership journey that could span several decades. But if you’ve never owned a cat or kitten before, you may have questions about how to keep your kitten healthy and thriving. Use our guide to get started, and welcome to pet parenthood.

 

Choose a Veterinarian

When you choose a veterinarian, you’re choosing a partner in your kitten’s health care. Scheduled vaccinations and yearly examinations mean that you’ll see your veterinarian on a regular basis, so choose wisely. When researching veterinary clinics for your cat, make sure to do the following:

  • Get recommendations from friends, co-workers and other cat owners, and compile an initial list of clinics. Ask them what they like about each one.
  • Visit each clinic, introduce yourself as a potential client and ask for a tour.
  • Look for a clean, sterile hospital with up-to-date equipment.
  • Ask about emergency care, hours and any equipment or terms you don’t understand.
  • Ask about the fees for basic shots and exams.

 

Get Your Kitten Spayed or Neutered

Owners should have their cats spayed or neutered unless they plan to show or breed them. Veterinarians advise spaying or neutering by at least 6 months of age. Consider the following:

 

What Is Spaying or Neutering?

  • “Fixing” is the common term for feline surgical sterilization or male neutering.
  • In females, removal of the uterus and ovaries is called spaying.
  • In males, removal of the testicles is called neutering or castration.

 

Why Should You Spay or Neuter?

Each year, millions of cats are euthanized because the new cat population far exceeds the number of homes that can be found for them. Here’s why you should consider spaying or neutering your kitten:

  • Spaying eliminates behavior associated with heat cycles, such as wailing to attract males or spraying urine.
  • Spaying helps prevent potential health problems, including breast tumors and uterine disease, possibly adding years to your cat’s life.
  • Spaying or neutering helps prevent the occurrence of unwanted litters.
  • Neutering reduces the effects of puberty and hormones. A neutered male is less likely to mark territory by spraying urine and less apt to roam and get lost, and he won’t congregate or fight with other toms over a female in heat.

 

Learn about Common Cat Health Issues

While we hope your kitten experiences few, if any, health issues over the course of her life, it’s smart to familiarize yourself with common cat ailments. Use our guide to some of the most common medical issues that can affect kitten health. The more you know, the better you’ll be able to notice when your kitten isn’t feeling well.

 

Fleas

Most common in warm spring and summer months, these pinhead-size insects can be active all year long. Fleas can jump onto your cat, lay their eggs, breed, and spread to your furniture and to you, looking for blood. In addition to causing discomfort and scratching in many cats, fleas can transmit parasitic or infectious diseases, including tapeworms. A severe flea infestation may, in turn, cause anemia (low red blood cell count) and/or allergic dermatitis, a skin allergy characterized by itching and irritation. Though some cats become irritable and scratch, others have no visible signs of discomfort.
 

Luckily, flea prevention treatments are numerous and easy to give:

  • Flea collars, powders and liquid baths are available in pet stores or from your veterinarian. Your veterinarian also can recommend monthly treatments to prevent fleas.
  • Check your cat weekly by rolling her onto her back and looking closely at the belly and around the base of the tail for the small, dark insects, as well as for flea “dirt” — small, dark, pepper-like specks. If the dirt turns red when water is added, your cat has fleas.
  • Choose treatments that contain IGRs (insect growth regulators), which interrupt a flea’s life cycle. Without IGRs, flea eggs hatch every 21 days, making repeated treatments necessary.
  • Treat your yard and house for eggs, larvae and pupae. If you use a lawn-care company, include flea treatment as part of your maintenance plan.
  • Plant marigolds and chrysanthemums in your yard. They contain natural insecticides that may repel fleas.

 

Hairballs

Hairballs are tube-shaped, brown masses of hair fibers. When cats clean themselves, they swallow fur. Because hair isn’t digestible, it either passes through and ends up in the litter box or it is vomited.
 

Cats that pass hairballs more than once a week or that pass foul-smelling hairballs may have a serious underlying health problem. See your veterinarian if your cat experiences frequent hairballs.
 

Here’s how to help prevent hairballs in your kitten or cat:

  • Keep your cat well-groomed with regular brushing.
  • Brush all of your cats, not just the ones with hairballs, because cats often groom each other.
  • Try this easy home remedy: Apply 1 teaspoon of petroleum jelly to the top of each paw. Rub it in before your cat can flick it away. Your cat will lick it off her paws, and it will help ease the hairball through the intestinal tract. Apply jelly for several days.
  • When your kitten is fully grown, feed her IAMS™ ProActive Health™ Hairball Care, which helps reduce the likelihood that hairballs will form. It contains a natural fiber system that gently passes ingested hair through the digestive tract.

 

Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD)

Feline lower urinary tract disease is a potentially fatal, painful inflammation of the lower urinary tract that can be caused by viruses, bacteria, diet, decreased water consumption or urine retention.
 

Symptoms include blood in the urine, difficult and frequent urination (often in small quantities), inappropriate urination, lack of energy and loss of appetite.
 

You can help your cat maintain proper urinary acidity and magnesium levels through a properly balanced diet that helps promote urinary tract health.

Kitten Basics: How to Keep Your Kitten in Good Health
Kitten Basics: How to Keep Your Kitten in Good Health
  • Understanding Kitten Food Product Codes
    Understanding Kitten Food Product Codes-mob

    adp_description_block264
    Understanding Kitten Food Product Codes

    Understanding and learning how to decipher kitten food product codes will help you choose the right kitten food. While selecting the right ingredients is important, making sure those ingredients are fresh is just as vital to your young cat. Learn how to read the product codes of kitten food packages and cans with our handy guide.

     

    What Is a Product Code?

    A product code is a series of numbers and letters printed on the outer package of each product a manufacturer produces. This code provides information about when and where the kitten food was made.

    As part of the product code, IAMS™ products include a “Best Used By” date, or the date at which the product is no longer considered fresh and should no longer be sold. This date is expressed in “ddmmyy” and “ddmmmyy” formats.

    The second line of the product code represents company internal information for use in traceability and inventory control.


    Line 1: (ddmmyy) (ddmmmyy)

    Example: 040220 04FEB20

    Line 2: 60351111## QQQQQQQ

    This product should be used before February 4, 2020.
     

    Depending on the production line, pouch products* may have code date information in a single or double line. By recognizing and understanding these codes, customers can make sure they are receiving a fresh product.

     

    What Is Shelf Life?

    Shelf life is the duration, measured in months, during which a properly stored kitten food product maintains its freshness. This means if a product has a 16-month shelf life, it is fresh for up to 16 months from the date of manufacture.

    The shelf life for IAMS dry kitten foods is 16 months. All canned formulas have a shelf life of 24 months.

     

    How to Properly Store Dry and Wet Kitten Food

    Unopened dry kitten food products are best stored off the floor in a cool, dry place. Open bags of kitten food should be stored in a clean, dry container with a tight seal. Dry kitten food products may also be frozen without loss of nutrients.

    Opened wet kitten food products are best kept refrigerated in tightly sealed containers for no more than three days after the container has been opened. Wet products should not be frozen in unopened cans. However, wet kitten foods can be frozen if removed from the container, packed in freezer containers and frozen immediately.

    *IAMS has no kitten pouch products at this time.

    Understanding Kitten Food Product Codes

Shop Dogs

Shop Cats

Copyright © Mars 2022, Trademarks of Mars Incorporated and its affiliates