New Kittens – The Frugal Way

Q. I will be getting a new kitten next week. Does anyone know how I can save on shots and other things? Can I give the injections myself? – Janice

A. For Janice who is getting the new kitty! Look on line under spay clinics for heavily reduced prices for spaying and shots. My sister got her cat spayed for 15 dollars and also received a discount on the shots. I believe these places are sponsored by your local pet groups and shelters.

A. Janice, Congratulations on your new kitten! Although I would recommend having your kitten checked right away by a vet, most people aren’t aware that vaccinations and boosters are not required and are quite controversial. Most vets encourage vaccinations, but a lot of people (myself included) are of the opinion that vaccinations can and do cause more health problems in the long run. As long as your cat is otherwise healthy and is an indoor cat, and you feed him/her a top quality food, vaccinating your cat may be unnecessary. If you do a search online on the subject of pet vaccinations, you will find a plethora of websites discussing the pros and cons of this topic. Check your local laws; in my area, the only shots required are rabies. I currently have 7 dogs, 7 ferrets and have had as many as 10 cats (we’re down to 2 now), and I haven’t given boosters to any of them in probably 8-10 years. I feed them all top quality food and keep them clean and healthy, which, in my opinion, has resulted in them all living long and healthy lives (my husky lived 17 years). Good luck with your new baby! – Becky

A. Regarding shots for the new kitten, I might also suggest an important item is spaying/neutering the animal so it is not a part of the millions of strays that die each year. There are many organizations that are providing free or reduced cost on this. You can start with www.spayusa.org but be sure to do a search because this is common in many countries.

A. We have a 4 month old kitten, but got her when she was only 7 weeks. First of all, you can buy most meds over the internet and administer them yourself. Make sure, when giving shots, to put them on a slick surface. Yes, they slide around, but they won’t dig holes in your arm or the furniture. The only shot in VA you cannot legally give yourself is rabies…but our county offers rabies clinics. Shots for our cat and dog are $6 a piece. Check ebay, and other websites.

Make sure you feed a quality pet food with real food for ingredients.  This saves a lot of heartache in various health problems and for us has also totally eliminated the flea problem even though our cats go outside in the woods.  For a very high quality pet foods that pay for themselves in the health of the pet, visit HealthyPetCorner.com .  We use Flint River Ranch.

A. For the person with the little kitten, We have an association in our area called, `Friends Of Animals’. They help foot the cost of spaying/neutering & initial shots. I’m not certain if they’re in your area. Check with your local ASPCA or Animal Protection Service. They can tell you of such a service nearby you. – Maria

A. Save on kitty litter. For years I have used cedar shavings for kitty litter. Sometimes the cat likes to sit in the shavings to enjoy the smell. It saves a lot on money. One big bag approxmately size of a 33 gallon garbage bag will do a year. Enjoy your cat. It will probably want to lie on your computer desk. – Jena

Editor’s Note on Cedar Shavings:   Please check information online about cedar shavings and cats.  There are reasons NOT to use these as litter:  (1) The scented oils in the shavings can affect the animal’s metabolism and liver function, and possibly induce cancer or precancerous lesions, especially on the liver; and (2) the shavings can cause allergic reactions and/or asthma, and trigger asthma attacks, in humans and in the animals.  Here’s a link with this information.

A. Hello, In most (maybe all) U.S. states you are required by law to have the rabies vaccination done by a licensed veterianarian. No other shots are required by law and may be administered by the owner. HOWEVER, my experience with new pets has taught me that it is a good idea to have the animal checked out by a vet a soon as possible after acquiring it. The veterinarian can make sure the kitten is healthy and/or alert you to any health problems that you need to be aware of. This is especially important if you are an inexperienced owner. Kittens can sicken and die so quickly that the inexperienced owner has barely noticed any symptoms before it is too late. Also you may want to have the kitten tested for FIV and feline leukemia, two immune disorders which are contagious and which are inevitably fatal, usually after a long lingering illness involving frequent and expensive trips to the vet for treatment. It is worth the cost to make sure you have a healthy baby to raise. After that you can purchase immunization shots (including for the leukemia) and other health needs from any veterinary supply dealer. You may be able to find a local dealer by looking in the telephone book under "Animal Health Products." Failing this you can search the internet using keywords: "veterinary supplies". I just tried it on Google and got about 200,000 hits, including the site where I recently purchased the flea treatment that my vet recommends for less than half what he charges me for it. Hope this helps. – Celia

A. Hi: In SC, they have a pet clinc about once a month. All the shots are given by a vet and the total charge is $7. A lot of people use this service. It is advertised at the side of the road and normally held in a large parking lot such as Big Lots or Wal-mart. Sometimes, the Vet goes to one place in the morning and another location in the afternoon. – Betty G.

A. You can give your own vaccinations but some states will not allow syringes and needles to be sold without a prescription; it takes an education to know when, how and why to give shots so you are better off going to a veterinarian for a kitten’s first few years. It’s beneficial to have a relationship with your vet so that they are available to you and your cat in the event of an emergency. Also, you can save money by going to rabies clinics – they are usually free or charge a small fee. Please get your cat neutered before it gets pregnant or impregnated – I work with a spay/neuter and rescue organization and believe me, we haven’t got homes for all the cats we rescue and some are destroyed. Also, give your pet a premium food for optimal health – Iams and Purina One are the only good ones in the supermarkets. There are better foods at places like Pet Food Warehouse and other large pet stores that sell food. Expect to pay about $1/pound and you’ll be rewarded with clear eyes, less stool output, glossy coat and better disposition. If you aren’t home much, consider getting two kittens to keep company – they are usually happier animals and great fun!

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