I Don’t Take My Cat for an Annual Exam at the Veterinarian… Is This a Bad Idea?

Many people assume that because cats are self sufficient and fairly independent in terms of how they socialize, they don’t need to visit the vet as often as other pets, such as dogs. But just because your cat may not be showing visible signs of sickness doesn’t mean he or she doesn’t need a check up.

Throughout a cat’s life, regular checkups will help ensure that the cat is growing at a healthy rate, has healthy gums and teeth, and doesn’t have any parasites. Depending on the age of your cat, you should take her to the veterinarian anywhere between every 6 months and once a year – read on to learn more about why.

Kittens Should See a Vet Very Regularly

Up until they are about 4 months old, kittens should be seeing a vet every month. Before you even take your kitten home, you should schedule an initial check up. Kittens are usually spayed or neutered at around 6 months. If you got your kitten from a shelter, this procedure may have already been done, so be sure to communicate with vets or volunteers from the shelter.

During your kitten’s first clinical exams, the vet will look at your kitten’s fur, complete any vaccinations, and check for fleas. Bring along any paperwork obtained from the shelter or cattery that may have information about the health of the kitten.

Adult Cats Should Visit the Vet at Least Once a Year

Once your cat is one year or older, regular trips to the vet may feel less pressing. However, regular teeth cleaning is an important part of an adult cat’s health routine. Cats hide pain and discomfort, so a regular trip to the vet will help to ensure that your cat is as healthy as she appears to be.

Adult cats also have different nutrition requirements than kittens, so an annual trip to the vet will help you get a good idea of how much food your cat should be eating, and what brands are best for your breed.

At a semi-annual visit to the vet, you can ask your vet specific questions about things like the optimal weight for your cat, scratching control, activity level, and parasite control.

Aging Cats Require Twice-Yearly Visits to the Vet

As cats age, they become more susceptible to common diseases and infections. Cats between the ages of seven and ten should see a holistic vet at least once or twice a year. After the age of ten, a cat should be visiting the vet up to three times a year. Elderly cats are prone to gum diseases, osteoarthritis, mental confusion, and weight gain.

Regular visits to the vet will not only give the vet a chance to check for any changes in your cat’s health, but it will also give you the chance to learn about the proper care for your aging cat. Many cats become less flexible as they age, and may have trouble accessing their favorite napping spots or even their food dishes.

Take the opportunity to talk about ways to make your cat’s food more accessible if she has trouble reaching down to the floor, and other ways to make it easier for your cat to get around the house.

Tips for Regular Trips to the Vet

No matter what phase of life your cat is in, don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions to ensure that you give your cat the best possible at home care. Be sure to let the vet know if your cat has experienced a change in sleeping patterns or overall behavior, as this may be a sign of a change in health.

Author: Giano Panzarella