Bringing a new kitten home can be both an exciting and stressful time as you begin to acclimate to each other. If you have a kitten, it's important to feed it a balanced, nutritious diet appropriate to its age and to watch for any signs of health problems that might require treatment.

1. Upper Respiratory Infections

Upper respiratory infections in kittens (sometimes referred to as cat flu) is a common ailment that can become very serious if left untreated. These infections are particularly dangerous in kittens under a month old. Upper respiratory infections are spread from cat to cat by exhaling and sneezing.

Sneezing is the main symptom, and some kittens have a yellowish discharge from their eyes. See your veterinarian as soon as possible if your kitten shows signs of an upper respiratory infection. If your pet won't eat or is having difficulty breathing, seek emergency veterinary treatment. 

Upper respiratory infections may be treated with antibiotics if the infection was caused by bacteria, but viral upper respiratory infections are much more difficult to treat since there aren't any extremely effective antiviral drugs for cats. 

2. Intestinal Worms

Intestinal worms can pass to kittens if they eat another cat's fecal matter that contains worm eggs. Several types of intestinal worms can affect cats, including roundworms, tapeworms, whipworms, and hookworms. Intestinal worms often cause diarrhea and weight loss. It's important to take your kitten to the vet if it shows any signs of worms. Your veterinarian can recommend a safe deworming product to get rid of the worms before they cause further problems.

3. Ear Mites

Ear mites are common parasites that live in the ears of kittens and other animals. You might not see anything in your kitten's ears if it has ear mites. These parasites are extremely tiny and white — they're smaller than a single grain of salt.

If your kitten has ear mites, it will likely scratch at its ears excessively. Sometimes kittens shake their heads due to the ear irritation. Your veterinarian can prescribe a topical medication or medicated ear drops to use for one to two weeks to get rid of the mites. If ear mites are left untreated, they can lead to more severe ear problems, including eardrum rupture, inflammation, and coordination problems.

The best way to prevent health problems in kittens is to seek consistent veterinary care. It's important to take your kitten to the animal hospital for checkups and vaccinations.