Fleas, worms and your kitten
If you're lucky, your little fur ball will never be bothered by fleas. If she is, she'll scratch and bite herself, and in some cases might have a skin reaction. But never fear: it’s easy to spot when fleas have made their home on your kitten. They're brownish-black in colour and you’ll see them moving about on her coat. You’ll also notice black specks of flea dirt under her fur.
Ask your vet for advice on treating fleas and, if you do buy a treatment from a pet shop, make sure it’s suitable for kittens and that you have enough to treat all the animals in the house. Remember that if there are fleas on your kitten, there are fleas in your home. Vacuum everywhere. Wash and dust boxes, bedding…everything she's in contact with regularly, and spray the area around them. Use an environmental spray but, however much she wants to play with each squirt, try not to get any on her (unless your vet says you can).
Is she starting to look a bit portly? It might not be her diet. Roundworms (urgh!) can give her a pot-bellied look and cause horrible things like vomiting, diarrhoea, poor condition and slowed growth. Don't worry though (!), there are lots of really good treatments which are usually given every fortnight between the ages of 5 and 12 weeks, and then every 3 to 6 months after that. Make sure you find out what treatment your kitten has already had before her arrival. Your vet will tell you what to do next.
On an equally horrid note, another of your kitten's nemeses is the humble tapeworm, although they’re more common with older cats. One type is acquired from fleas, another by eating mice and other rodents. If you've noticed something that looks like bits of rice in her litter tray or around her bottom, she could have picked up tapeworm. Roundworm treatments won't work against tapeworms, so the vet is your first port of call. She'll soon be right as rain.