Congratulations on your new kitten! Thank you for choosing us to help protect and care for your new addition to your family.
Prevention is the basis of what we try to do at STAC. Preventing diseases is the easiest way to keep our patients healthy and happy. This document outlines what STAC recommends to keep your kitten happy and healthy.
VACCINES: Below are the core and non-core vaccines that STAC recommends for kittens, as well as the schedule of administration.
- Core Vaccines:
- FeLV/FVRCP: FeLV is Feline Leukemia Virus. FVRCP vaccinates for the following conditions: Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, and Panleukopenia. This is a combination vaccine that protects against the common Feline viruses. STAC STARTS WITH A FVRCP VACCINE AT 9 WEEKS THEN A FVRCP/FeLV VACCINE AT 12 AND 16 WEEKS OLD. Yearly vaccine administration is recommended for continued immunity.
- RABIES: This disease is coming closer and closer to Ohio, with pet cats dying in recent history in Pennsylvania and West Virginia after exposing humans to this almost 100% fatal disease. This vaccine legally cannot be administered until 12 weeks of age. STAC ADMINISTERS THIS VACCINE AT THE TIME OF THE FINAL FeLV/FVRCP VACCINE. The first Rabies vaccine is good for 1 year and every Rabies vaccine after that is good for 3 years.
HEARTWORM/FLEA/TICK PREVENTATIVES: Heartworm disease in cats is dramatically different than dogs, as is testing. Testing is not accurate or easy to get an accurate positive. Cats are more easily affected by parasites spread by fleas than dogs and are much more susceptible to developing flea anemia from a high flea burden. There is also a serious tick-borne illness in cats called Cytauxzoonosis. STAC RECOMMENDS REVOLUTION PLUS MONTHLY AS A HEARTWORM/FLEA/TICK PREVENTATIVE. This product not only works for the 3 parasites previously mentioned but it also treats ear mites, scabies, hookworms, and roundworms.
SPAYING/NEUTERING: STAC recommends spaying or neutering your cat at 6 months of age.
- Spay: Spaying reduces the risk of unwanted kittens, therefore aiding in population control. It also curbs the annoying signs of an 'in heat' cat. Spaying also eliminates the risk of pyometra, which is a pus/infection-filled uterus that warrants an emergency spay on a potentially unstable patient.
- Neuter: Castrating helps aid in population control. Castration prior to "puberty" can reduce inappropriate elimination or "spraying." The vast majority of cat fights and cats with Feline Immunodeficiency Virus are intact male cats.
LITTER BOX ADVICE: House-soiling, inappropriate urination/defecation, spraying. A cat’s use of locations other than the litter box comes under many names. Why do our cats do this? First and foremost, it is critical to ensure that there is no medical component to the behavior. Urinary tract-related disease can lead to death in less than 48 hours. The diseases are painful and debilitating.
Consult your veterinarian IMMEDIATELY if house-soiling commences. Waiting to see what happens could mean the difference between life and death. Once your veterinarian assesses the cat for health problems, discussions about diets and behavioral problems can follow. Many times, the veterinarian will identify multiple factors contributing to the problem, including medical, diet and behavioral problems. We are here to work with you and your cat to resolve these concerns.
- Litter-box Care
- Location Location Location: Provide more than one location in the household for litter boxes. Consider having one on each floor if space allows. Avoid moving boxes around.
- Depth Matters: Experiment with different depths of litter. Most cats prefer 1-1.5 inch depth while others may prefer deeper litter. Add a new litter box if attempting to try different litter depths (or types). Try not to alternate the litter depth or type within existing litter boxes. Take note of which litter boxes get used the most and choose that depth of litter for the majority of the boxes.
- Negative Associations: Keep litter boxes away from rooms that contain noisy equipment such as furnaces or washing machines. The noises may frighten the cat. Avoid administering medications or doing anything unpleasant to your cat while they are in the litter box or litter box area.
- Don’t Soil Where You Eat: Keep food and water dishes in a separate room or more than 5 feet away from the litter boxes. Cats are fastidious by nature and do not favor a soiled box. In the wild, they have endless location options in which to do their business. How can we expect them to walk in a pile of old feces and urine clumps?
- Litter-Box Criteria: Feline behavior specialists have comprised a list of litter-box criteria based on studies demonstrating what is preferable to cats:
- Number of Boxes: Provide one litter box per household cat PLUS one additional box. For example, a household with three cats should have four litter boxes.
- Scented or Unscented: Use unscented clumping litter. Most cats prefer this texture best next to sandbox sand. Scented litters can be unpleasant and even painful to cats, since their sense of smell is significantly more sensitive than a human’s.
- Clay Versus Other: While some cats will tolerate some of the newer ‘natural’ types of litters (corn, wheat, etc.), they are generally not preferred and will not be tolerated in instances where the cat is unwell or experiencing anxiety/stress.
- Size Matters: Provide large size litter boxes that the cats are comfortable moving around in. Some older, arthritic cats may prefer boxes with LOW walls or a low door cut in the box. Climbing over the high walls may be painful.
- Keep it Open: Remove covers from most or all of the litter boxes. Most cats do not feel comfortable in a covered box.
- Keep it Clean: Scoop litter once to twice daily. More often is best. Empty out the litter tray once every one to two weeks. Clean the litter box with a mild detergent, rinse well, and dry well before adding new litter.