You love your cat, and you want to give them the best chance to live a long, healthy life. In this post, our Toledo vets discuss when to take a cat to the vet, and how often.
How often should you take a cat to the vet?
One of the best ways to get your kitty off to a good start and make sure they enjoy a healthy, long life is to prevent serious illnesses or have them diagnosed early, when they are more easily treatable.
Bringing your cat to the vet on a regular basis gives your veterinarian the chance to monitor your kitten's overall physical health and well-being, check for the earliest signs of disease, and make recommendations for preventive care products that would best suit your feline friend.
At Shoreland Animal Hospital, we understand that many owners are concerned about the potential cost of routine checkups and preventive care. Especially if your cat seems to be in perfect health, it can seem like an unnecessary cost to bring them in for a wellness exam. However, taking a proactive preventive approach to your cat or kitten's health may save you the cost of much stress and more expensive treatments down the road.
What is a cat checkup?
Similar to attending physical checkups with your own doctor, taking your cat to the vet for routine wellness exams is critical to their continued health and longevity. In another similarity to humans, how often your cat should have a physical examination depends on their age, lifestyle, and overall health.
We typically recommend annual wellness exams for healthy adult cats. That said, kittens, senior cats and cats with an underlying health issue should see their vet for an exam more frequently.
How often should kittens see a vet?
If your kitty is less than one year old, we advise bringing them to the vet once monthly starting when they are about 8 weeks old.
Kittens require multiple rounds of vaccinations throughout their first year to help protect them from common infectious diseases. Kittens should get the Feline Leukemia vaccine and the FVRCP vaccine, which helps protect your feline friend from three highly contagious and life-threatening feline diseases: Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis (FHV-1), Feline Calicivirus (FCV), and Feline Panleukopenia (FPL).
Your kitten will be provided with these vaccines over the course of approximately 16 weeks, which will go a long way in helping to keep them healthy their whole life.
The exact timing of your kitten's vaccinations will vary depending on your location and the overall health of your furry friend.
Our vets recommend having your kitten spayed or neutered when they are between 5 - 6 months in order to prevent a host of diseases and undesirable behaviors as well as unwanted litters of kittens.
How often should middle-aged cats see a vet?
If you have a healthy adult cat between 1 - 10 years old, we recommend taking them in once a year for an exam. These examinations are yearly physical checkups that should be completed even when your cat seems to be perfectly healthy.
Throughout your adult cat's routine exam your vet will implement a head-to-tail examination to look for early signs of diseases or other issues, such as parasites, joint pain, or tooth decay.
Your veterinarian will also provide your kitty with any required vaccines or booster shots, and have a conversation with you about your cat's diet and nutritional requirements, as well as recommend the appropriate parasite protection products.
If your vet detects any signs of a health issue, they will explain their findings to you and recommend the next steps.
How often should senior cats see a vet?
Cats are typically considered to be senior when they reach 11 years of age.
Since many cat diseases and injuries tend to be more common in older pets we recommend bringing your senior companion to the vet every 6 months. Twice-yearly wellness check-ups for your geriatric cat will include all of the checks and advice listed above, but with a few additional diagnostic tests to obtain extra insights into your furry friend's overall health.
Some veterinary diagnostic tests we recommend for our senior patients include blood tests and urinalysis to check for early signs of problems such as kidney disease or diabetes.
Geriatric care for cats also includes a more proactive approach to keeping your feline companion comfortable as age-related issues such as joint pain become more common. If you have a senior cat, ask your vet how often you should bring your pet in for a routine exam.