There are many different aspects to the care that you will need to provide your new kitten. One of the most important is parasite prevention. Many owners believe that parasite infestations and cat ownership go hand in hand. However, while they can be common, there is absolutely no need for your new kitty to experience them since there are so many preventatives available.
Types of parasites you will need to protect your kitten from
The types of parasites that you will need to provide protection against are the same for both kittens and adult cats. They include the following:
Probably the best known of all parasites, fleas are tiny, wingless creatures that live on your kitten’s skin, buried within her fur, and drink her blood to survive. Their saliva is often toxic, causing your furbaby to experience an allergic reaction that results in extreme itchiness. Fleas multiply quickly, causing large infestations to develop and this can also trigger severe blood loss for your kitty. Some fleas also carry tapeworms which could then infect your feline.
Ticks are another variety of external parasite. They typically live in wooded areas or tall grasses and attach themselves to your kitty as she walks past. In addition to draining your kitty’s blood, ticks are well-known for carrying diseases, some of which can have serious consequences for the health of your furry friend.
Ear mites are microscopic organisms that live off of the wax and dead skin cells of your cat’s ears. They are highly contagious and easily passed between felines. They cause intense irritation and you may notice your kitten pawing at her ears and shaking her head vigorously.
Worms are an extremely common problem among young cats. Unfortunately, many don’t show any symptoms of being affected, and this means that it is important to provide de-worming treatments at regular intervals, whether you suspect your kitty is infested or not. There are many different types of intestinal worm, but two are more common in kittens than others. These are tapeworms and roundworms. Both can cause unpleasant symptoms for your feline including a bloated abdomen, diarrhea and more.
What does parasite prevention involve?
Parasite prevention is fairly simple and highly effective when carried out properly. It involves administering specific treatments to your kitten on a set schedule. These treatments are designed specifically to target and repel a certain type of parasite, for example, worms. In some instances, protection against several different parasites can be combined into just one treatment. This is often the case with fleas and ticks, and this makes preventing them much more cost effective for owners.
It is crucial to understand that each preventative has a limited window of effectiveness. Once this ends, your kitten will once again be left vulnerable to the parasite it was previously protected from. For this reason, veterinarians always suggest a schedule of preventative care, and this includes parasite protection.
How old does my kitten need to be to start parasite prevention?
When your cat is very young, her under-developed immune system makes her more susceptible to disease than an adult cat. For this reason, amongst others, veterinarians in Warrior AL recommend that kittens start their parasite preventatives from a young age. Ideally, kittens should be de-wormed every two weeks between the ages of 2 and 8 weeks. After this, monthly deworming is suggested until she reaches adulthood.
Flea, tick and ear mite preventatives are widely available and can be bought over the counter. Check with your veterinarian in Warrior AL as to which is the most suitable for your kitty based on her age and health.
If you have additional questions about parasite problems that could affect your kitten and would like advice and support, please contact our dedicated team of veterinarians in Warrior AL today at 205-351-0400 to make an appointment.