You and your kitten will soon be best friends, but there’s someone else who is a good friend, too – your veterinarian. The sooner you visit the veterinarian with your new pet, the better. Kittens should be immunized at an early age. Your vet will start your kitten on a vaccination schedule and will advise you when boosters are necessary. Make sure your pet gets a regular veterinary checkup every six months. When you take your pet for a veterinary appointment you should know what to expect. Some of the common diagnostic tests your vet may want to perform include fecal examinations to check for internal parasites and blood tests to check for serious diseases.

During the physical exam, your vet will feel your kitten’s abdomen, listen to the chest for heart and breath sounds, check the condition of the coat, look in the ears for infection and ear mites, examine the eyes to make sure they are clear and free of disease, and inspect the mouth for any abnormalities. Your veterinarian also will ask you if you’ve noticed any problems lately with your pet’s health or if your kitten has been exposed to other cats with diseases.

To help you answer your veterinarian’s questions, you will need to know what’s normal. This will help you when you talk to your veterinarian about any problems or concerns.

Eyes: Your kitten’s eyes should be bright and clear. Any discharge collection in the corners should be cleansed using cotton balls soaked in warm water. Also, look for lumps or masses on the lids. Report any abnormalities to your veterinarian.

Ears: Your kitten’s ears should be clean in appearance and free of discharge and odor. Routine cleaning of the ears, when necessary, may cautiously be accomplished by using cotton balls moistened in water. (Do not use swabsticks). Ear mites, very tiny parasites, cause a black discharge and are common in dogs and cats. Neglect of any inflammation or infection of the ear may lead to chronic, progressive disease which can result in pain and hearing loss. Veterinary treatment is required to eliminate ear mites.

Nose: Your kitten’s nose should be clean and wet without discharge or sores.

Mouth: Examine your kitten’s mouth periodically. The gums should be pink and healthy. Have your pet’s teeth examined and cleaned by your veterinarian every six months to one year. As in humans, tartar buildup can lead to gum disease and teeth loss. Check the lips for sores or growths.

Body/Coat: Feel your kitten’s body for tumors, lumps and ticks by running your hands over its coat. Ruffling your hand against the hair will disclose fleas, dandruff and dirt. If your pet’s coat is matted, remove the mats by using a small comb.

Legs/Feet: Inspect your kitten’s legs for swollen joints by running your hands down the legs. Check for hair and objects between the toes and check nail condition.

Anus: Examine your kitten’s anus for possible infection (swelling) and intestinal parasites. Tapeworm segments look like rice particles. Both conditions need a veterinarian’s care.

Vaccinations will be given during routine veterinary visits, if needed, and your kitten will be weighed to make sure it is at an ideal weight. Don’t be afraid to ask your veterinarian questions you have about your pet’s health or care at this time. Your veterinarian is your best source of information. You can rely on your veterinarian to maintain records of the your cat’s health and to send you reminders when checkups are due, but you also should keep track of this information along with any changes in your pet’s health.

Also for your information, the Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur is organising a Spay/Neuter Campaign. Please call the SPCA at 04-42535179 or 42528382 to find out more.