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Kittens receive antibodies from their mother's milk that protect them against disease. Once they start to eat solid kitten food, however, they need vaccinations from the veterinarian.
Kittens should receive their first series of vaccinations when they're six weeks old. If you adopt a kitten from a shelter or buy one from a breeder, ask for the kitten's medical records. Your kitten will need to visit the veterinarian several times during its first year and once a year after it's a year old, unless there is a medical need.
Your veterinarian will determine what vaccinations your kitten receives. He or she will consider such factors as your geographical location, whether your kitten is allowed outdoors, and whether it lives in a multi-cat household.
In addition to vaccinations, your kitten should be tested for feline leukemia (FeLV), a highly contagious, life-threatening virus. Don't expose your kitten to any other cats unless they've been tested for FeLV.
The following is a sample veterinary schedule for a kitten's first year: