Three Kitten Essentials

What you need to know about vaccines, spay/neuter and declawing

By Helen Jablonski

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Cat Fancy- Kitten Essentials- July 2011
If you've added a kitten to your family you want to keep her happy and healthy. High-quality food, fresh water and a clean litterbox are necessary, but you also need to address these three important kitten issues.

A Shot in the Arm
Vaccinations are essential to protect your kitten from certain diseases. Your veterinarian will give your kitten a series of core vaccines between the ages of 6 and 16 weeks to protect her from panleukopenia (distemper), herpesvirus (rhinotracheitis) and calicivirus. When she is approximately 12 weeks old, your kitten will be ready for a rabies vaccine, and she will need boosters of all these vaccines on her first birthday. Additional vaccines might be needed based on your kitten's risk factors. "Kittens need their initial vaccinations to provide active immunity at the time passive immunity obtained from colostrum [from the mother] disappears," says University of Wisconsin-Madison veterinary immunologist, Ronald Schultz, PhD.

Young kittens are highly susceptible to diseases and can easily spread them to other cats. Vaccines help a kitten's immature immune system develop an internal disease defense. "Vaccination is not only a protective medical procedure for that individual but also a protection for a population," says Elizabeth Colleran, DVM, president of the American Association of Feline Practitioners.

**Get the July 2011 issue of CAT FANCY to read the full article or click here to purchase a PDF version.**
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