How to Check a Kitten's Health Before Adopting
Decided to adopt a kitten? Make sure your new pet is healthy before you bring them home.I'm sure the following has happened to a great number of you. You find yourself at the local humane society with the sole intention of just "looking around" at the available felines. As you peruse the rows of cages that house numerous cats displaying those anticipatory glances, you keep reminding yourself that you're not ready to adopt just yet - maybe a little later.
But a certain kitten gets the better of you. Maybe it's her expressive eyes or unique color, or maybe she is just bursting with personality as she vocalizes to get your attention. Whatever the reason, your defenses melt away and you decide that "later" is too long to wait. As you reach into the cage to hold this precious feline you realize that you have now reached the point of no return. You are now the owner of a new kitten!
Of course, since you had really no intention of adopting a pet on this particular day, you may find yourself a little ill-prepared and maybe even slightly uninformed regarding feline care and health. But not to worry, there is something you can do right before you adopt this kitten, and that is to inspect her thoroughly for anything unusual.
Some common kitten ailments include colds (upper respiratory infections), diarrhea, eye infections (conjunctivitis), hair loss due to fungal infections (ringworm), fleas and earmites. Look for sneeze splatter on the sides of the cage or signs for diarrhea in the litter box. Don't be afraid to ask the shelter workers if they've noticed any problems with this particular kitten. Many humane societies have a veterinarian on staff to answer any pre-adoption questions, especially if you find that the kitten you selected might be sick in some way. Many also offer a free post-adoption exam if any concerns are to arise.
Once you have inspected your kitten for signs of illness, ask if there are any "get acquainted" rooms so you can spend some one-on-one time with your prospective adoptee. Watch her as you set her on the floor. Does she immediately bounce around and play, or does she seek out a place to hide? Kittens' personalities vary greatly, so it is best to choose the one that best fits your lifestyle. You may enjoy a quiet, more subdued kitten, or maybe your prefer one that is full of energy who thrives on your attention.
So now that you've decided that this kitten is indeed the one, it's time to go to the front desk and fill out the mound of paperwork. This will include the surgery sheet, as many humane societies require that all adopted animals be spayed or neutered before leaving the premises. You'll notice an array of options listed on this sheet that include vaccines, microchips, ear mite treatment (if needed), deworming as well as a standard blood test to check for feline leukemia or feline immunodeficiency virus (feline AIDS). The latter is especially important as these diseases can be passed from the mother and result in debilitating, sometimes fatal illness. Sometimes symptoms of these diseases will not manifest until a much later date.
Vaccines are always important to protect your kitten and deworming will not only safeguard your kitten, but will also protect you from becoming sick. Many parasites, such as fleas, tapeworms or roundworms, can pose a serious threat if contracted by humans. So always deworm your kitten. As for vaccines, first determine if your cat will be spending time outdoors. If so, it is important for your kitten to receive all the vaccines since many protect against illnesses that can be passed from one cat to another. Indoor cats do not require as many vaccines, as their risk of exposure to disease is considerably less.
If you have any questions regarding your kitten before you take her home or what she needs to be healthy, don't hesitate to ask the veterinarian or knowledgeable staff. They are there to help you during this special time.