There are several things that you will need to do to keep your kitten healthy. Being young does not automatically guarantee good health.
If your kitten has not already been spayed or neutered, you will want to get this done before their hormones kick in around 6-8 months of age. Female cats that are not spayed before their first heat cycle are 7 times more likely to develop mammary cancer in their senior years, which is aggressive and malignant. 30% of female cats in heat will also urine spray in the home. If your cat reaches 5+ years without being spayed, they are also more prone to pyometra which is a life threatening infection of the uterus, and ovarian and uterine cancer, all of which can be 100% prevented with spaying.
Male cats are more prone to fighting with other cats once their hormones kick in. 100% of male cats will urine spray in the home if there are other cats or pets present to mark their territory. It is much easier to prevent this than try and fix it after the smell of urine has already permeated into the carpet. Unneutered male cats are also more prone to prostate issues and prostate and testicular cancer as adults, all of which can be prevented with neutering.
You don't ever plan on your kitten leaving the home, so why do you need to have them vaccinated? Some of the things that your kitten will be vaccinated for are so contagious that even if they never go outside, you or guests can bring them into the home on clothing. Plus, what if your kitten gets outside through an open door? It does happen, even with the most conscientious of owners. And, if your kitten ever gets sick they will need to come to the clinic where they may be exposed to multiple illnesses. There are 3 primary vaccinations that you should get for your kitten; RCP, rabies, and leukemia.
RCP stands for Rhinotracheitis also known as herpes virus, Calici virus, and Panleukopenia also known as distemper. While herpes virus and calici virus are not fatal, they will make your kitten absolutely miserable, and in kittens herpes virus can result in the loss of one or both eyes if not vaccinated. Distemper is a fatal virus in kittens. This vaccination is very safe, and will help immensely in keeping your kitten healthy. Rabies vaccination is required by law since this is zoonotic and is fatal to people as well as animals. Even though your kitten may not go outside, wildlife can and does get inside your home. Every year Animal Control gets thousands of calls just in the city of Lincoln for wildlife that has gotten into a home. While acquiring leukemia does require physical contact, kittens are highly susceptible to this fatal disease, and it only takes one accident of your kitten slipping out the door for them to potentially become exposed to this virus, and the vaccination for this is very easy to give.
FeLV and FIV testing. If you obtained your kitten from somewhere other than an animal shelter or pet store, and you have other cats in the home, then you may want to have your kitten tested to see if they have one of these diseases, both of which can be passed onto them from their mother. This is contagious to other cats in your home. If you do not have any other cats, and do not plan on getting any, then it is up to you if want to know if your cat has one of these diseases to know if it will affect their lifespan.
If your kitten has loose stools, diarrhea, vomiting, or is passing gas, then this could be an indication of intestinal parasites that your kitten will need to be treated for. There are other causes for this as well, including stress and diet changes, but if the symptoms do not resolve after a week or two, then intestinal parasites are much more likely. We can give your kitten a de-wormer for the most common intestinal parasites when they come in for their vaccinations, but this by far does not get every possible intestinal parasite. You can also bring a fresh (within 12 hours) fecal sample in with your kitten for us to look for evidence of other parasites. Unfortunately, while this will catch a few more, there are still some parasites that are very difficult to find in a stool sample. If your kitten's symptoms are not resolving, then please talk to us as we may need to do some additional testing or treatments.
Declawing. A very controversial subject. For more information on how this is done, please check out our web page on declawing. If you plan to have your kitten declawed, it is much better to do it when they are young as they will rebound much faster. If you wait until your kitten is a full grown adult, it will be a much more stressful experience for them.