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New Kitten - The First Year

Congratulations on your new kitten! Getting a kitten is a busy and exciting time.  We know that there’s a lot to remember so we’ve made this handy  guide to get you through the first year!


Kittens need to be fed little and often. Invest in a good quality kitten food and feed the recommended amount over 3 meals. Alternatively you can leave food down and allow the kitten to eat when hungry. In general we recommend feeding a predominantly dry food as wet food can contribute to dental disease further down the line. Always provide fresh water and avoid cow’s milk as cats are actually lactose intolerant!


Roundworms may have been transmitted to your kitten via their mother’s milk and fleas carry tape worms. Regular worming treatment is essential. Use an appropriate product:

  • Every fortnight from 3 weeks of age until 2 weeks after weaning
  • Every month until 6 months
  • Every 3 months lifelong 

Flea treatment

It’s especially important to treat fleas in kittens as large numbers can cause fatal anaemia. We strongly recommend prescription treatments as over the counter products often aren’t effective and may be extremely toxic to cats. Make sure all other pets in the household are up to date with flea and worming treatment. Tick treatment is also important to prevent certain diseases. Visit our parasite protection and frustrating fleas pages for more information.


First vaccination should happen between 8 and 10 weeks of age. Your cat will be vaccinated against: Panleukopenia, Calici and Herpes virus. We also vaccinate for Feline Leukaemia virus which is recommended if your cat goes outside. Second vaccination is carried out 3-4 weeks later after 12 weeks of age. Your kitten will be fully immune 2 weeks after second vaccination. Yearly boosters are required lifelong.


We recommend that cats are neutered at 4 to 5 months of age. Female cats can become pregnant from 5 months and have up to 4 litters a year! Neutering not only avoids unwanted pregnancies but also a potentially fatal womb infection. Another consideration is that entire male cats are more likely to get into fights, stray further from home and spray urine to mark their territory. We recommend neutering your cat before allowing them out to prevent unwanted pregnancies. Visit our pages on why you should neuter your cat and neutering at South Devon Veterinary Hospital for more information.


In the event your cat goes missing a microchip is vital to make you’re your pet finds its way home. Microchipping is regularly carried out at second vaccination, a small bead like transmitter is injected under the skin and the number registered to your address and telephone number. Visit out microchipping page for more information.


Having a cat is a big responsibility sometimes things go wrong and the cost of care can quickly escalate. It’s a good idea to invest in pet insurance. Be selective and consider a lifelong policy which will cover any ongoing conditions. Your kitten may be eligible for 4 weeks free insurance after its first vaccination however any health conditions picked up at the first examination will not be covered by the insurance

And finally, good luck! Watching a kitten grow up can be incredibly rewarding not to mention fun! If you have any concerns or need advice please don’t hesitate to get in contact to arrange an appointment with either a vet or a nurse.