So you’ve taken home a cute little kitty, but wait – do you need to take it to the vet as soon as possible? Or do you only take it to one if it’s showing some signs of health problems? Or is doing research on how to take care of a cat enough?
Taking your cat to a vet is crucial to keep it healthy. The overall health of your cat depends on you, so knowing how often to take your cat to the vet is essential to ensure your feline friend stays happy, healthy, and living for a long time.
The answer to this question depends on your cat’s age. Kittens need to be seen by a vet more often than adult cats, and elderly cats also need to be seen more often, especially if it’s suffering from a medical condition.
A General Guide on How Often You Need to Take a Cat to the Vet
This guide is based on a cat’s age, which determines how often a cat should have its routine checkup. Let’s begin by starting at birth to 1 year:
Kittens (Birth to 1 year)
Kittens, just like newborn humans, need to be seen by a vet more often than not. A kitten below the age of 4 months needs to be checked by a doctor at least once every 3 to 4 weeks until the 5th month. The cat’s growth and development will be checked, and a series of vaccinations and immunizations will also be given.
This is also the time when cat owners will be able to ask the vet about what cat food to give their cat, litter box training advice, as well as socialization and other non-medical advice.
The initial physical examinations will check the cat’s overall health and will serve as the very basis for your cat’s overall good health and well-being.
Adult Cats (1 year to 10 years)
Adult cats don’t need to be seen by a vet as often as kittens and a once a year comprehensive physical examination is all it takes to ensure your cat is happy and healthy.
Some of the things that will be done during an annual checkup include follow-ups on vaccinations, dental cleanings, inspections, as well as monitoring the cat’s weight.
Senior Cats (10+ years)
Senior cats will need to be seen by a vet at least twice a year. If the cat is showing signs of aging, additional checkups may be needed. A comprehensive examination is needed to detect potential diseases caused by aging in cats, such as diabetes and arthritis. Cats are very secretive about their pain so even if your senior cat is not showing any signs of distress, it may already be suffering from a chronic disease you may not know about.
Some examinations that need to be done on senior cats include urinalysis, annual CBC, and complete bloodwork.
When to Take Your Cat to the Vet
Even when it’s not your cat’s routine checkup, there are times when you need to take your cat to the vet. Here are some signs a vet visit is necessary:
- Repetitive vomiting
- Abnormal changes in bowel movement
- Shows signs of distress such as crying or moaning
- Sudden change in appetite
- Unusual fatigue or body malaise
- Draggin back the legs
- Unusual lumps or growth on the body
- Excessive scratching
- Coughing or breathing changes
- Unusual discharge on the nose or eyes
- Changes in behavior
No matter how old your cat is, if your cat is showing any of these signs, you need to bring your cat to the vet immediately. Your cat may be experiencing health issues that need to be attended to right away. Don’t wait for your cat’s routine checkup schedule to have it checked by a vet.
Why Your Cat Needs to Have Routine Vet Visits
Being a new cat parent can be overwhelming. Of course, you want your pet kitty to be happy and healthy at all times but routine checkups can be costly and time-consuming. Can’t you just take your cat to the vet when needed? As in when your cat is suffering from symptoms of a health condition?
To help you understand why routine checkups are necessary, here are 3 reasons why:
As mentioned earlier, cats are secretive and will often hide their pain and distress. You probably won’t notice they’re experiencing health issues until it’s too late. Early detection via routine checkups allows early intervention for diseases at their early stages of onset, which can help manage and treat certain conditions.
Most adult indoor cats are obese, which can lead to a host of health issues that can hasten your cat’s mortality. Diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, and respiratory diseases can be caused by obesity. Monitoring your cat’s weight can help avoid your cat from being obese, or if it’s already overweight, the vet can recommend measures to help your cat lose weight.
Prevent Periodontal Disease
Dental checkups and cleanings can help prevent periodontal disease, which is common in most cats ages 3 and up. Periodontal disease is problematic in adult cats because it can interfere with eating and get in the way of proper nutrition.
To help your cat live longer, healthier, and happier, routine checkups are a must to prevent certain diseases. It may be costly and time-consuming, but it is your job as a cat parent to ensure your feline friend lives better and longer.
- How often should I take my adult cat to the vet?
The answer is at least once a year. If you can take your cat to the vet twice a year, or once every 6 months, that would be better, which helps to detect early signs of certain diseases, so proper intervention can take place. Don’t forget dental check-ups and cleaning as well, which can help prevent periodontal disease.
- Do I need to take my cat to the vet even when it’s not sick?
Yes, routine checkups are essential even if your cat is not sick. Routine checkups are comprehensive physical examinations that can help detect problems that your cat may not be showing. Earlier detection means earlier intervention, which can save you money in the long run, as well as help keep your cat’s life longer and its quality of life much better.
- Are vaccinations necessary?
Yes, feline vaccinations are necessary to prevent infections and possible viruses from infecting your cat. There are many kinds of vaccinations and your cat’s vet will be the best person to talk to you about what your cat needs and when it needs the shots.
Routine checkups with your cat’s vet are a crucial part of being an efficient cat parent. These may seem unnecessary if your cat is healthy but routine checkups can help detect early signs of diseases, as well as help boost your cat’s health so it stays happy and healthy for longer. The more time you spend with your cat, the better, so if you want your cat to live longer, routine checkups are necessary and a must.