Kitten health is particularly important to both the cat breeder and the buyer (and most importantly to the kitten her/himself and the mother cat). In this post I look at the health of a kitten in relation to what to look for in a healthy kitten.
This is Nellie Murmurs, a Ragdoll cat being checked over by vet Willemijn. The cat breeder is Tom Poes. He takes good photographs too - photo by Tom Poes
Nose: cool, damp, no nasal discharge.
Eyes: Bright, no prominent third eyelid, eyes straight ahead (no cross eyes - Siamese predisposed), blue iris and white coated cats can be congenitally deaf (see deaf cat).
Ears: Clean and smell sweet (have a sniff). Watch for dark brown waxy discharge (ear mites but these can be treated successfully).
Stomach: Not swollen (swollen might mean poor nutrition and/or worms).
Skin: Clean skin around anus and vulva. Redness or a discharge may indicate an infection, worms, diarrhea (a symptom of a health problem).
Coat: No mats, clean, fluffy, glossy etc (common sense). No bare areas (indicating possible mange, ringworm - see hair loss in cats. Check for fleas (? -see parasite pictures and cat flea life cycle) - I would. Use a fine flea comb around the neck and base of tail - see any dark granular bits or even a flea?
Overall soundness: An important part of kitten health. No obvious abnormalities in legs shape, toes. Kitten should move normally and show usual athleticism. No odd gaits, stumbles, swaying or uncoordinated movements.
Weight: At 10 weeks about 2 lbs. No signs of being underweight.
Personality: An important part of kitten health (mental health). Kitten should stay with siblings and mother until 8-10 weeks (ask). Well socialized. Not nervous. Observe mother. If she is well balanced kitten should be too (inherited good personality). Kitten seeks attention, is relaxed when picked up and purrs when stroked, plays enthusiastically, recovers quickly from a load startling noise, self confident.
Inherited diseases: For Purebred cats I'd check this out first: Genetic Diseases in Purebred Cats. Some breeds are more predisposed to genetically inherited diseases than others.
Vaccination record: Get one plus a diet sheet.
Contract: For purebred cats. Read this before buying. Comply with it. It may include clause for buyer to spay/neuter. Should include terms for breeder to provide certificates of pedigree and/or these are handed over (check validity?). I wouldn't pay until I had the certificates and that I was satisfied that they were genuine (that is just me probably).
Not quite your standard kitten health check but we can see the basic checks as described here being done, plus a check on the heart (stethoscope). The kitten is an Ocelot (wild cat). These are sometimes tamed as pets (see Ocelot kitten).
Kitten Health - Post buying: Best to follow the diet sheet as a change in diet can be troublesome (humans have similar problems, remember the last holiday you went on!?). Best to groom daily, which also creates a routine and is a great way to please your kitten and bond with her (see grooming your cat). It may also be wise to get her used to having her nails trimmed (with extreme care). I will presume that the kitten will not be declawed, which I consider completely unacceptable and essentially cruel (see Helmi Flick on declawing cats). Routine and daily handling will reinforce bonding and socialization and provide an opportunity to monitor kitten health as described above. Check teeth are growing properly. Litter training starts or continues. Cats should use the litter with little training or encouragement.
Kitten Health to Cat Health Problems
Kitten Health - Photo: published under creative commons license: - note: I took the liberty of neutralising the color. I hope the photographer approves. If not please leave a comment.
Safe way to trim claws.
Logan was a rescue cat. He was saved from a very harsh life on the street. We are not told where or I can't find out where. He became fa...
Brown gunge. Yes, I know this is a ferret! It does show the build up of dark brown to black ear wax caused by the presence of the cat e...
I'll write about three types of feline mange (a) feline scabies or head mange (b) demodectic mange and (c) sarcoptic mange. The source m...
Cat Anatomy - Photo by Curious Expeditions . The picture above was taken at Wax Anatomical Models at La Specola in Florence, Italy. Th...