Congratulations on your new feline friend! Now that have your kitty at home you have a lot to do and think about. One of the most common questions we hear is 'When should I take my cat to the vet?'. Today, our Columbia vets talk about how often to take your cat to the vet at each stage of their life and what will happen during their visit.
How often do you take a cat to the vet?
By bringing your cat to the vet you can help to ensure lifelong health and wellness. When you bring your cat to the vet you allow the opportunity to monitor your kitty's overall well-being and physical health, watch for the earliest signs of disease, and offer recommendations for the preventive care products that would suit your feline friend best.
At Maury County Veterinary Hospital we understand that the potential cost of routine checkups and preventive care can be a concern, especially if your feline friend seems to be in perfect health. However, taking a proactive, preventive approach to your cat or kitten's health could save you the cost of more expensive treatments down the road.
What is a cat checkup?
Taking your cat to the vet for routine wellness exams is like bringing them to the doctor for a physical checkup. As with people, how often your cat should have a physical examination depends on their age, lifestyle, and overall health.
So how often do you take a cat to the vet? We typically recommend annual wellness exams for healthy adult cats, but kittens, senior cats, and kitties with underlying health conditions should see their vet more frequently for an examination.
How often do kittens need to go to the vet?
When under a year old, the recommended vet visits for kittens are monthly starting when they are approximately 8 weeks old.
Throughout their first year, kittens need multiple rounds of vaccinations 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 3 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.
When to Take an Adult Cat to the 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 and recommend the next steps.
How often do senior cats need to go to the 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.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.