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Kitten Health: Vaccinations and the Best Kitten Food

Kitten Health: Vaccinations and the Best Kitten Food

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Vaccinations are often in the headlines when it comes to children’s health, but have you ever thought about your pet’s immunization schedule?

Fighting The Bad Guys

Your kitten came into the world with nothing to protect him but his mother and his natural immunities. Unfortunately, like human babies, there are many things that a kitten can be exposed to that can be harmful or even fatal. Vaccines prepare your kitten’s immune system to fight against foreign disease-causing organism invasion. That’s why vaccinations can be termed as life-saving. By the time you adopt a kitten, many have usually had a round or two of shots, as they should be vaccinated once every three to four weeks until they reach 12 – 16 weeks of age.

The Core Four

There are 4 core vaccines that all kittens need to keep them strong and healthy. These help protect them from diseases that are typically found in the cat population and therefore more likely for your kitten to be exposed to.

  • Feline Panleukopenia. This is also known as feline distemper and is highly contagious in cats and kittens. It was once considered the most serious infectious disease and caused many feline fatalities. Thankfully, the vaccination has made this once-feared disease quite uncommon.
  • Feline Rhinotracheitis and Feline Calicivirus. These are known for being responsible for 80% – 90% of infectious upper respiratory infections in cats, which can be very serious and even fatal in kittens.
  • Rabies. Rabies is a fatal disease that can affect many animals from dogs to raccoons and even humans. Due to the risk of human exposure, a rabies vaccination is not only recommended, it is required by law in many states.

The Non-Core

There are several other vaccinations that your veterinarian might or might not recommend. You can talk with your vet about the best choice for your kitten to determine the right vaccines based on exposure, living situation, and risk.

  • FeLV (feline leukemia). Feline leukemia is a viral disease that can be transferred to kittens from their mother, or through close contact with other infected cats. Kittens should be tested for FeLV prior to vaccination.
  • FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus). Reserved for cats at high risk for disease. FIV is a viral disease that is most often spread from cat to cat via bite wounds.
  • FIP (feline infectious peritonitis). Results from infection with feline coronavirus that is shed primarily in the feces of infected cats.
  • Chlamydophila felis. Causes conjunctivitis and respiratory problems in infected cats. It is only used in multi-cat environments where the infection is known to exist.
  • Bordetella bronchiseptica (kennel cough). Reserved for cases where your cat is likely to be at risk for infection and is not widely used.
  • Feline Giardia. Infection with the single-celled parasite Giardia may be associated with gastrointestinal tract disease.

Safety Concerns

The feline Giardia and FIP are not generally recommended due to safety concerns. Some cats can have a mild to moderate reaction to vaccines, but most have no ill effect at all. Some signs of an adverse reaction include:

  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Swelling or redness in injection site

Remember, the protection that your kitten will get from these vaccinations could save his life. Again, vaccination concerns, decisions, and schedules should be addressed and decided with your vet in advance to make the choice that’s best for your kitten.

The Best Kitten Food

The best kitten food needs to provide extra nutrition for their growing bodies and systems. In the same way that vaccinations can keep them healthy, the proper nutrition can do the same.

Since cats and kittens are meat-eaters, make sure that you look for a brand that makes real meat (not a meat by-product) a priority. Steer clear of corn and corn meal as these can cause allergies in some kittens. Some of the brands below contain ingredients that you want to look for when deciding on the best kitten food to feed your kitten.

  • Orijen Cat and Kitten Formula. You have to go 8 ingredients in before finding a non-meat source. And even then, it’s a high-protein egg. The next 8 ingredients after the egg are also meat based and that’s what makes this food a dynamic offering for your kitten. Not only is there an abundance of meat and fish, but this product includes alfalfa, a rich mineral food; apples, an excellent source of water- soluble fiber; and carrots, known to boost the immune system and help promote healthy eyes in cats as well as a good source of fiber.
  • Wellness Complete Health Kitten Recipe. With chicken and chicken liver as the first 2 ingredients, this is a pretty good start for your kitten. Following are flaxseeds, a source of healthy fat, antioxidants, Omega-3, and fiber that can help lower the risk of diabetes, cancer, and heart disease; they also provide micronutrients, manganese, and vitamin B1. Sweet potatoes provide antioxidant agents that specifically help to fight against cancer causing agents, and blueberries are a great source of fiber, vitamin C, and antioxidants.
  • Nutro Ultra Kitten Chicken Oceanfish Formula. You can see that meat makes up the first 5 ingredients, but this recipe also adds cod, which is becoming more popular in the cat food world for its high protein percentage and healthy fatty acids. Beef and chicken liver provide glucosamine which is essential for joint health, and a high amount of protein, iron, vitamins, minerals, and many essential nutrients that an obligate carnivore like a cat needs to thrive. And taurine is a must for any kitten or cat as it is an essential amino acid that is critical for normal heart muscle function, vision, and reproduction in cats.

So there you have it. All you need to know about vaccines and the best kitten food for your growing family member. When you make a choice for your kitten’s needs, make good choices based on facts and nutrition. As always, consult with your vet to do what’s best to give your kitten a head start on a full and happy life.