1. Being taken from mother too soon
One of the biggest problems affecting pet health -- that of both kittens and puppies -- is being taken away before the baby is ready. With felines, kittens should remain with the mother until 12 weeks of age, writes , VMD, the James Law Professor of Behavior Medicine at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University. This is because a kitten's socialization occurs around 10 weeks. Kittens that are taken away earlier than 12 weeks can turn out overly aggressive because they haven't learned how to curb their aggression.
This is a fungal skin condition that spreads like wildfire among cats and kittens in close quarters. The symptoms include a red, scaly, itchy spot that develops a red halo around it, resembling a worm. There may also be hair loss in the area. If your kitten has it, it can very easily spread to people. Ringworm in kittens is treated by regular shampooing with a special soap and by applying an antifungal agent. The main problem is the expense in treating it because you have to keep taking your kitten back to the veterinarian, who checks with a special light to see if the ringworm is subsiding. Before adopting your kitten, find out when the breeder or shelter last treated its feline population for this pesky skin condition.
3. Ear mites
If you notice your kitten shaking his head a lot or vigorously rubbing or scratching at his ears, chances are he's suffering from ear mites. These are microscopic bugs that live in your kitten's ears and can literally drive them crazy from the relentless itching. This is a common pet health problem that is easily treated with topical medications that are rubbed into your cat's ears. Left untreated, ear mites "can rupture the eardrum and inflame the middle ear, resulting in balance and coordination problems," according to .
A check-up for intestinal worms should be a routine part of your kitten's health care. There are several kinds of parasites -- roundworms, hookworms and coccidia -- that can thrive in your kitten's digestive track, robbing her of valuable nutrients. One of the worst offenders is coccidia, which can cause severe diarrhea and even life- threatening dehydration in kittens. On your first visit to your veterinarian, bring a fecal sample for analysis. Fortunately, worms in cats are easily treated.
Watching your kitten scratching and scratching can drive you crazy. Fortunately, there have been major breakthroughs in flea control including oral and topical products that may also control other internal and external parasites, according to . The problem with these products is making sure the kitten is old enough and large enough to be able to take the medicine.
Remember, taking care of problems when they're small gives your kitten the best chance to grow into a healthy cat. So, when you adopt your kitten, let your veterinarian be the first person to meet your new family member.