As a cat caretaker, you want to do your best to ensure your feline friend lives a long, happy and healthy life. Today, our Stockton vets explain how often you should take your cat to the vet for routine preventive care and a wellness exam.
Preventive Care & Early Diagnosis
The best way to make sure your kitty has a long and healthy life is to prevent serious illnesses or catch them early when they are more easily treated.
By regularly bringing your cat to the vet you are providing your veterinarian with the opportunity to monitor your kitty's overall health, look for the earliest signs of disease, and offer you recommendations for the preventive care products that would suit your feline friend best.
Although for some pet parents, the costs of their cat's routine checkups and preventive care are a concern, especially if they seem to be in optimal health. However, taking a proactive, preventive approach to your kitty's health could save you the fees of more expensive treatments in the future.
Routine Wellness Exams
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.
We typically recommend annual wellness exams for healthy adult cats, but kittens, senior cats, and kitties with an underlying health condition should see their vet more frequently for an examination.
Kittens (Up To 12 Months Old)
If your cat is less than a year old then we suggest bringing them to the vet once a month, with their first appointment taking place when they are approximately 8 weeks old.
Throughout their first year, kittens require 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 kitty will receive these vaccines over the course of approximately 16 weeks and will go a long way in helping to keep them healthy their whole life.
The exact timing of your cat'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.
Adult Cats (Up To 10 Years Old)
If you have a healthy adult cat between 1 - 10 years old, a once-yearly wellness examination is recommended. These examinations are annual physical checkups that are completed even when your cat seems to be perfectly healthy.
During your adult cat's routine exam your vet will carry out 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.
Senior Cats (11+ Years Old)
When your cat turns 11 years old, they are officially considered a senior pet.
Since many feline 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 some 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.