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Newly adopted cat comes with scant information

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Dear Dr. John,

 I just adopted a cat from my boyfriend’s niece. I was given the cat with no background information other than being told they thought the cat had shots and was spayed. I have now had the cat for about seven months, and I think she is about two years old since she was already fully grown when I got her. How would I know if she was spayed? Is there a blood test for that? I also wonder what you might suggest for getting her some shots. I don’t want to overdo it and is there any risk if she gets those too soon? She is a sweet cat and gets along with my dog who has been around cats for years. — B.G.

Dear B.G.,

You are not alone in asking these kinds of questions since many people are not really sure what to do when they adopt a new cat or dog. When it comes to knowing if a cat is spayed, and the same pretty much applies to dogs, one can look for a spay incision scar on the abdomen. Another telltale sign is whether or not the animal exhibits signs of going into heat. Cats do not bleed like dogs and humans but instead become very vocal, raise their hind end in the air, make stepping motions with their hind feet, tail goes up and quivers, and they roll around a lot. If this has not happened in seven months, then the cat is probably already spayed.

The sure way to find out is to simply have your cat examined by a veterinarian who will examine the abdomen. Cats spayed early in life also typically have very small nipples that have not undergone changes due to cyclicity. Blood tests are almost never needed or used to determine if a cat is spayed. As for vaccines, I would take her to see a veterinarian and have her checked for a spay incision and also get her appropriate vaccines. Your veterinarian can so advise. Rabies vaccines are required by law almost everywhere. The other core vaccine she should have would be FVRCP which stands for feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, panleukopenia. If the cat is going outdoors, a vaccine for feline leukemia would also be worthwhile. Even if she was vaccinated just before you got her, enough time has passed that it can safely be done again. For that matter, even if one had a new cat vaccinated just a few days or weeks after being obtained and vaccines had been given just before they received the cat, no harm would be done.

Dr. John de Jong owns and operates the Boston Mobile Veterinary Clinic. He can be reached at 781-899-9994.



Dear Dr. John,

 I just adopted a cat from my boyfriend’s niece. I was given the cat with no background information other than being told they thought the cat had shots and was spayed. I have now had the cat for about seven months, and I think she is about two years old since she was already fully grown when I got her. How would I know if she was spayed? Is there a blood test for that? I also wonder what you might suggest for getting her some shots. I don’t want to overdo it and is there any risk if she gets those too soon? She is a sweet cat and gets along with my dog who has been around cats for years. — B.G.

Dear B.G.,

You are not alone in asking these kinds of questions since many people are not really sure what to do when they adopt a new cat or dog. When it comes to knowing if a cat is spayed, and the same pretty much applies to dogs, one can look for a spay incision scar on the abdomen. Another telltale sign is whether or not the animal exhibits signs of going into heat. Cats do not bleed like dogs and humans but instead become very vocal, raise their hind end in the air, make stepping motions with their hind feet, tail goes up and quivers, and they roll around a lot. If this has not happened in seven months, then the cat is probably already spayed.

The sure way to find out is to simply have your cat examined by a veterinarian who will examine the abdomen. Cats spayed early in life also typically have very small nipples that have not undergone changes due to cyclicity. Blood tests are almost never needed or used to determine if a cat is spayed. As for vaccines, I would take her to see a veterinarian and have her checked for a spay incision and also get her appropriate vaccines. Your veterinarian can so advise. Rabies vaccines are required by law almost everywhere. The other core vaccine she should have would be FVRCP which stands for feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, panleukopenia. If the cat is going outdoors, a vaccine for feline leukemia would also be worthwhile. Even if she was vaccinated just before you got her, enough time has passed that it can safely be done again. For that matter, even if one had a new cat vaccinated just a few days or weeks after being obtained and vaccines had been given just before they received the cat, no harm would be done.

Dr. John de Jong owns and operates the Boston Mobile Veterinary Clinic. He can be reached at 781-899-9994.

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