Your cat's health and well-being mean the world to you, and you want to do everything in your power to ensure they live a healthy, long life. Here, our Hopkinsville vets discuss how often you should take your cat to the vet for preventive care and routine checkups.
How Often Do You Take a Cat to the Vet?
Taking steps to prevent serious illnesses or have them detected early - when they are more easily treated - is the best way to make sure your feline friend has a long, healthy life.
Taking your cat for their regular vet visit gives your veterinarian the chance to monitor your kitty's general health, check for early signs of disease and offer recommendations for preventive care products that would be most appropriate for your cat's needs.
Many owners puzzle over when to take a cat to the vet. Our veterinary team at Skyline Animal Clinic understands the cost of routine checkups and preventive care can be a concern for many people, especially if your feline friend looks like they're in excellent health. That said, taking a proactive preventive approach to your kitten or cat's health now may save you the cost of more expensive treatments down the road.
What is a cat checkup?
Booking your cat's routine wellness exam is like scheduling a visit to the doctor for a physical checkup. Similar to people, how often your cat should have a physical examination will depend on their overall health, age and lifestyle.
Typically, we recommend annual wellness exams for healthy adult cats. However, kittens, cats with underlying health conditions and senior cats should visit their vet more frequently for an examination.
How often should kittens see a vet?
Is your kitty less than a year old? We suggest bringing them in once a month, with their first veterinary appointment happening when they are about 8 weeks old.
During their first year, your kitten will need multiple rounds of vaccinations to protect them from common infectious diseases. Kittens should receive the Feline Leukemia vaccine and the FVRCP vaccine. That second vaccine helps protect your cat from 3 highly contagious and life-threatening feline diseases: Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis (FHV-1), Feline Calicivirus (FCV), and Feline Panleukopenia (FPL).
Your adorable little fuzzball will have these vaccines over the course of approximately 16 weeks, and these shots will go a long way in helping them to stay healthy throughout their life.
The exact timing of your kitten's vaccinations will vary depending on your location and your furry friend's overall health.
Our vets recommend having your kitten spayed or neutered when they are between 5-6 months old in order to prevent several diseases and undesirable behaviors, in addition to 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 are completed 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 an arising 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 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.