Initial health checks for kittens

Socialising Your KittenThe breeder says my kitten is vet checked and healthy so do I need to take my pet to the vets?

Although the vast majority of people are honest and selling you a cat in ‘good faith’ there are still a number of valid reasons for having a ‘kitten health check’ at the vets such as:

  1. Peace of mind. Hopefully all will be well and your vet can reassure you your kitten is fit and healthy.

  2. Discuss any initial matters/issues you may have.
  3. Plan the correct times to be worming, vaccinating, flea treating your kitten with your vet.

  4. Identify any potential areas of concern with the vet – i.e. health issues.
  5. Start the ‘socialisation’ process.

  6. Allow your cat to be introduced to the veterinary surgery without anything unpleasant happening.

  7. Start to develop a new rapport with your veterinary surgery.

  8. The initial health check is a great point in time to begin to discussing and planning for insurance, worming, flea treatment etc.

Can’t I just do this when I get my kitten vaccinated?

When a kitten is first rehomed there are an awful lot of things for the cat to take on, vaccinating them at this time is often not the best option. It is not uncommon for them to develop a bit of mild vomiting or diarrhoea for a time or be a little under the weather. Having them checked initially by the vet can reassure you that there was nothing initially ‘wrong’ without trying to work out if it’s ‘due to the vaccination’, some other illness etc. 

Allow them a week or so to settle into the home, get to know you and you them. Be happy what your ‘normal’ kitten is like before vaccinating. This means you’ll be in a much better position to recognize any ‘changes’ or concerns you have about your cat by the time of its vaccination.

But aren’t I just going to get charged an unnecessary consultation?

Firstly, having just purchased your pet, an additional £20 isn’t a lot to find for the peace of mind and benefits it provides. 

On a purely mercenary note, breeders are subject to the same laws as any retailer and if it turns out your pet is ‘faulty’ you are entitled to return it. Most people wouldn’t choose to do this but, if it does become something to consider, the sooner you do it, the better. It’s much harder to contemplate giving back your carefully chosen kitten after a month of bonding than in the first few days.

Whilst not universal, many practices will offer free or reduced price ‘pre vaccination’ checks. This is because, as a profession, we recognize the benefits of having your kitten checked as soon as possible but also that vaccinations etc during this initial upheaval isn’t always best. Call your vet and see what they might be able to offer.

You should always contact your vet if you have an urgent query about your pet's health.

Please note: this advice is not a substitute for a proper consultation with a vet and is only intended as a guide. Please contact your local veterinary practice for advice or treatment immediately if you are worried about your pet’s health - even if they are closed, they will always have an out of hours service available. Find out more about what to do in an out of hours emergency.